Massachusetts Law Updates

Official Blog of the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries

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Thanksgiving in Massachusetts History posted on Nov 23

We wanted to trace the history of Thanksgiving in Massachusetts for you, but the task proved challenging. We all know the story of the “first Thanksgiving” in Plymouth in 1621, but what happened in the following years? As it turns out, it was not uncommon for authorities   …Continue Reading Thanksgiving in Massachusetts History

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Word(s) of the Month – stare decisis posted on Nov 21

Word(s) of the Month – stare decisis

Words of Law is a regular feature of Massachusetts Law Updates, highlighting a particular word or phrase and its meaning in law. Today’s phrase is stare decisis. stare decisis (Stahr-ee di-sI-sis or stair-ee), n. [Latin “to stand by things decided”] (18c) The doctrine of precedent,   …Continue Reading Word(s) of the Month – stare decisis

Selfies in the Voting Booth posted on Nov 3

On September 28, 2016, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a New Hampshire law banning voters from taking selfies with their ballots in the voting booth was unconstitutional. N.H. Rev. Stat. § 659:35 was held unconstitutional by the Judges’ decision in   …Continue Reading Selfies in the Voting Booth

Deviating from Mandatory Minimum Sentencing posted on Nov 2

The Massachusetts Supreme Court recently considered whether G. L. c. 211E, § 3 (e), authorizes a sentencing judge to depart from the mandatory minimum terms specified by statute for subsequent drug offenses. The defendant in Commonwealth v. Laltaprasad was charged with possession of heroin with intent   …Continue Reading Deviating from Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

Voting in Massachusetts posted on Oct 27

The subject of Elections in Massachusetts is addressed in Title VIII of the Mass. General Laws. The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Elections Division provides information on laws and regulations governing the election process. The Division’s robust web presence will link you to interactive voter tools   …Continue Reading Voting in Massachusetts

Sexual assault evidence law changed posted on Oct 24

On October 19, 2016, Governor Baker signed legislation to change the length of time evidence in sexual assault cases is preserved.  Massachusetts General Laws chapter 41 sec. 97B was amended so that rape kits will be maintained for 15 years instead of 6 months and   …Continue Reading Sexual assault evidence law changed