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
Commonwealth v. Larose  
Date: October 10, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12610

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court vacated the order of the superior court judge allowing Defendant's motion to suppress all evidence related to an illegal seizure on the ground that the stop of his motor vehicle was not reasonable, hold...

Board of Higher Education v. Commonwealth Employment Relations Board  
Date: October 7, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12621

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the Commonwealth Employment Relations Board upholding a certain provision in a collective bargaining agreement between the Board of Higher Education (BHE) and the Massa...

Commonwealth v. Moseley  
Date: October 3, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-11805

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of murder in the first degree on the theory of deliberate premeditation and the denial of his motion for a new trial, holding that Defendant was not entitled to...

Commonwealth v. Carrillo  
Date: October 3, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12617

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated Defendant's conviction of involuntary manslaughter but affirmed Defendant's conviction of distribution of heroin, holding that the Commonwealth did not introduce evidence showing that D...

Commerce Insurance Co. v. Szafarowicz  
Date: October 1, 2019
Docket Numbers: SJC-12655, SJC-12656

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the orders denying a motor vehicle insurer's motions to stay trial in a wrongful death action until the question of coverage had been determined in a declaratory judgment action but an...

Commonwealth v. Linton  
Date: September 26, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12528

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the motion judge denying Defendant's motion for access to evidence and scientific and forensic testing pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278A, holding that, given the evi...

Blanchard v. Steward Carney Hospital, Inc.  
Date: September 23, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12618

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the order of the motion judge denying Defendants' special motion to dismiss Plaintiffs' defamation claim pursuant to the anti-SLAPP statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 231, 59H, holding that...

McLean Hospital Corp. v. Town of Lincoln  
Date: September 23, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12675

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the decision of the Land Court judge determining that the primary purpose of Plaintiff's proposed residential program for adolescent males could not be characterized as "educational" un...

Commonwealth v. Newberry  
Date: September 18, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12575

Justia Opinion Summary: In this case involving the pretrial diversion of Defendant, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the language of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276A, 3 requires arraignment, at the Commonwealth's request, before a defendant can par...

Davis v. Comerford  
Date: September 16, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12712

Justia Opinion Summary: In this summary process eviction action, the Supreme Judicial Court vacated the housing court judge's order for use and occupancy payments, holding that a court has statutory and equitable authority to order use and occu...

Marchese v. Boston Redevelopment Authority  
Date: September 13, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12659

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the superior court challenging the legality of the Boston Redevelopment Authority's (BRA) actions executing a permanent taking of the "Yawkey Way" easement and subseque...

Commonwealth v. Gomes  
Date: September 13, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12692

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's conviction of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen, holding that because there was no evidence that Defendant was acting in his professional capacity wh...

Doe v. Sex Offender Registry Board  
Date: September 13, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12695

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the superior court affirming the Sex Offender Registry Board's (SORB) classification of John Doe No. 23656 as a level two sex offender, holding that Doe's claims on app...

Veolia Energy Boston, Inc. v. Board of Assessors of Boston  
Date: September 11, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-12634

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the decision of the board of assessors of Boston, holding that taxed personal property owned by and assessed to Veolia Energy Boston, Inc. consisting principally of pipes that Veolia u...

Commonwealth v. Reyes  
Date: September 9, 2019
Docket Number: SJC-11590

Justia Opinion Summary: The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of murder in the first degree on theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty, holding that there was no prejudicial error in the proceed...

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.