Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Decisions

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is one of the oldest state supreme courts in the U.S. It was known as the Superior Court of Judicature when it was founded in 1692. Three of its chief justices have served on the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court has the authority to review appeals of criminal and civil cases, and it holds the unusual power to provide advisory opinions. The executive branch or the legislative branch may request these opinions. The site of the Court is the John Adams Courthouse in Boston.

There are no specific requirements for becoming a justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. A justice simply must be under 70 years old and maintain good behavior while serving on the Court. The Governor of Massachusetts appoints each of the seven justices on the Court, although they also must be approved by the executive council. In contrast to the supreme courts in many other states, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court does not impose term limits on its justices. Once they are appointed, they may serve until they turn 70, at which age they are required to retire. The same rules apply to the appointment and tenure of the Chief Justice as to the six Associate Justices.

However, a judge may face removal from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court for reasons related to misconduct or a disability. The Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct will investigate any complaint of misconduct by a justice, and it will hold a formal hearing and provide a recommendation on whether the justice should be removed or face other discipline. A justice who engages in misconduct also may face removal by impeachment in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and conviction in the Massachusetts Senate. In other situations, the Governor may remove a justice with the approval of the Governor’s Council and with the joint address of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Browse Opinions From the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Recent Decisions From the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
New England Auto Max, Inc. v. Hanley  
Date: May 20, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13419

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves New England Auto Max, Inc., and others (the defendants), who are involved in a civil action where they unsuccessfully moved to dismiss the action for exceeding the $50,000 limit. The defendants then…

Commonwealth v. Lepage  
Date: May 17, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-12571

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves Brandyn Lepage, who was convicted of first-degree murder on the theory of felony-murder. Lepage shot and killed Aja Pascual in her car on September 29, 2012. The police obtained call logs from the…

Saade v. Wilmington Trust, National Association
Date: May 16, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13459
Donald v. Commonwealth
Date: May 16, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13500
In the Matter of Murray
Date: May 16, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13518
Commonwealth v. Hastings  
Date: May 13, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13495

Justia Opinion Summary: The case revolves around Quasim Hastings, a prisoner convicted of second-degree murder in 2004 and eligible for parole consideration. Hastings, diagnosed with a mental disability, is entitled to a parole hearing that…

Boone v. Commonwealth
Date: May 13, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13511
Commonwealth v. Dunn  
Date: May 9, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13454

Justia Opinion Summary: The defendant, Warren W. Dunn, was charged with two counts of possession of child pornography and two counts of possession of child pornography as a subsequent offense. The charges were based on evidence found in his…

Commonwealth v. Huacon
Date: May 7, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13466
Makis M. v. Commonwealth  
Date: May 7, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13476

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a juvenile who was apprehended with firearms and ammunition and charged with various offenses. After being arraigned as a youthful offender, the juvenile was diagnosed with several…

Spicuzza v. Commonwealth  
Date: May 2, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13589

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a group of petitioners who challenged a trial court's decision to establish a 200-foot buffer zone around the Norfolk County Superior Court House during the trial of a high-profile murder case. The…

In the Matter of Correll
Date: April 29, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13258
Baez v. Commonwealth
Date: April 26, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13467
Mack v. District Attorney for the Bristol District  
Date: April 26, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13468

Justia Opinion Summary: The case revolves around a public records request made by Eric Mack, whose brother, Anthony Harden, was fatally shot by police. Mack sought records related to the shooting under Massachusetts public records law. The…

Commonwealth v. James  
Date: April 23, 2024
Docket Number: SJC-13395

Justia Opinion Summary: The case involves a professional photographer who sexually exploited a minor. The defendant initially contacted the victim through a social networking site and began communicating with her through various means,…

The opinions published on Justia State Caselaw are sourced from individual state court sites. These court opinions may not be the official published versions, and you should check your local court rules before citing to them. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site, or the information linked to on the state site.

Some case metadata and case summaries were written with the help of AI, which can produce inaccuracies. You should read the full case before relying on it for legal research purposes.

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