Constitutional Rights

Briefing Filed in Jouret's Employment Class Action

Earlier this week, I filed my clients’ appellate reply brief in the McHugh et al. v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts putative 7,700-member class action. A link to the brief is here:

The case largely comes down to two core and important questions: First, is the Massachusetts doctrine of sovereign immunity constitutional? Second, should the largest employer in the state—the Commonwealth itself—be required to follow its own employment laws?

We hope to find out answers to both questions in the coming months.

Jouret Representing Putative 7,700-member Employment Class Action

We represent a putative class action of some 7,700 Massachusetts state employees wrongly and illegally denied benefits. We filed our appellate brief yesterday in the case. All workers, including state workers, deserve to be treated fairly.

No Error in Judge's Comments about 9/11

In a decision issued today, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected a challenge to a criminal conviction based in part on a trial judge’s reflections about the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Trial in the case commenced on September 11, 2013, with the judge’s recollection of her day on September 11, 2001. After evacuating the courthouse on that day when news of the attacks spread, she said, the jurors unanimously decided to return the next day. The judge went on to express confidence that the jurors will “appreciate [their] part of the government here… and [the jurors] are the government here.” The SJC held that the judge’s statement “did not prejudice the defendant” and was intended “to emphasize the importance of jury duty.” The court further stated that no error occurs where “the judge’s remarks were neither intemperate nor critical of the attorneys, there was no danger that the judge exhibited to the jury a bias against the defendant.”

So judges in Massachusetts state courts are permitted to instill a sense of patriotism in a jury by using a seriously emotional and traumatic event, such as 9/11, so long as they exhibit self-control and do not criticize the attorneys or exhibit bias.

Judge Says Decision "The Death Knell" for Protection Against Self-Incrimination In Digital Age

Judge Says Decision "The Death Knell" for Protection Against Self-Incrimination In Digital Age

Concurring Judge says “now merely demonstrating that “the accused knows the device’s passcode” is sufficient for the government to seek an order requiring the defendant to “provide it with unencrypted access to a trove of potential incriminating and highly personal data on an electronic device.”