In the Matter of Enforcement of a Subpoena

A district attorney filed a complaint with the Commission on Judicial Conduct alleging that a judge had exhibited "disregard for the law, lack of impartiality, and bias against the Commonwealth," S.J.C. Rule 3:09. The complaint enumerated 24 categories of decisions in which the judge allegedly exercised bias. For each category, the complaint provided one or more examples. The commission appointed special counsel to investigate. Months later, the Boston Globe published an article and an editorial reporting on the complaint and criticizing the judge's conduct in 10 cases. Four of these cases were not included in the complaint. The special counsel stated his intention to inquire about the additional cases and requested a broad set of documents. These requests were incorporated into a subpoena. The judge sought a protective order to quash or modify, arguing that the requests were overbroad and encroached on confidential, deliberative communications. Special counsel reduced the number of new cases to 23, identified into which area of inquiry each case fell, and removed one category of requested documents. The judge objected to the revised subpoena. The Massachusetts Supreme Court directed issuance of a revised subpoena, recognizing a judicial deliberative privilege as necessary to the finality, integrity, and quality of judicial decisions. View "In the Matter of Enforcement of a Subpoena" on Justia Law