Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, Inc. v. Commissioner of Dep't of Developmental ServicesAnnotate this Case
In this case involving a facility that operated under the protection of a thirty-six-year-old consent decree the Supreme Judicial Court held that the trial judge did not abuse her discretion in concluding that the Department of Developmental Services failed to establish that the consent decree should be terminated based on the evidentiary record before the probate court.
In question was the treatment and welfare of individuals who suffered from severe developmental and intellectual disabilities that caused them to engage in grievous self-harm and other life-threatening behaviors. The individuals lived in group homes under the care of Judge Rotenberg Educational Center, Inc. (JRC), a facility that employed the use of aversive interventions such as electric skin shock as part of its treatment approach. In the 1980s and 1990s State agencies disrupted JRC's operations, after which the consent decree was issued. Years later, the agencies bound by the decree moved for its termination, but the probate and family court denied the motion. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the Department's arguments against continued enforcement of the consent decree were unavailing.