Massachusetts Law Updates

Official Blog of the Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries

Author Archives: Gary Smith

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Hate Speech Law in Massachusetts posted on May 23

Hate crime and hate speech are related, but not identical topics.  A hate crime is a crime that is motivated by bigotry.   See our earlier blog post about hate crime in Massachusetts. Hate speech is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary (10th ed., 2014) as: “Speech   …Continue Reading Hate Speech Law in Massachusetts

Hate Crime Law in Massachusetts posted on Apr 20

“Hate crimes” and “hate speech” are hot topics in the realms of education, the courts, the media, and in our daily lives.  These are two separate but related issues.  “Hate speech” will be a subsequent post. According to Black’s Law Dictionary (10th edition), a “hate   …Continue Reading Hate Crime Law in Massachusetts

Can You Move that Squirrel?

Can You Move that Squirrel? posted on Sep 12

Many of us have pesky squirrels stealing bird seed from our bird feeders.   Sometimes it looks like a particularly smart squirrel has figured out a way to get to the feeder, while others haven’t figured it out yet.  We’d like to get rid of the   …Continue Reading Can You Move that Squirrel?

Endangered Species Day

Endangered Species Day posted on Sep 9

Saturday, September 10, 2016 is “Endangered Species Day” in Massachusetts. American Bittern (Botaurus Lentiginosus) According to Massachusetts General Law chapter 6 section 15EE: “The governor shall annually issue a proclamation setting apart the second Saturday in September as “Endangered Species Day” and recommending that said day shall   …Continue Reading Endangered Species Day

Happy New Year? posted on Mar 25

Until 1752, England and its British dominions, including those in America, celebrated March 25th as the first day of the calendar year. Since ancient times, England had used the “Julian calendar”, instituted by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE.  The Julian calendar followed a solar year   …Continue Reading Happy New Year?

Can Felons Vote in Massachusetts? posted on Mar 4

In Massachusetts and some other states, the right to vote is temporarily suspended while a person is incarcerated for a felony offense.  They may vote again after they are released from prison. In some states, even people convicted of a misdemeanor cannot vote while incarcerated. In other   …Continue Reading Can Felons Vote in Massachusetts?

Cinema of Law Film Series in the Berkshires in March posted on Feb 26

This will be the tenth year for Berkshire Law Library’s Cinema of Law film series. The movies will be shown in the auditorium of the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield on Tuesdays in March. Presentations are co-sponsored with the Berkshire Bar Association and the Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum. There   …Continue Reading Cinema of Law Film Series in the Berkshires in March

Pet Custody

Pet Custody posted on Feb 25

When two people, either married or unmarried, break up, who gets to keep the pet(s)?  Can the court order joint custody of the dog or cat, as it would a child?  Can one party get visitation rights?  Is a pet treated in a legal sense   …Continue Reading Pet Custody

Frivolous Lawsuits posted on Feb 4

If one files a frivolous claim in court, the court shall award to the defending party “an amount representing his reasonable costs, expenses and effort in defending against such claims“. According to the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure, “if the appellate court shall determine that an appeal is frivolous,   …Continue Reading Frivolous Lawsuits

It's all Greek to me, or, Of Frogs and Mice

It’s all Greek to me, or, Of Frogs and Mice posted on Feb 2

The tendency of lawyers to obfuscate their meaning by using complex and unfamiliar verbiage was discussed in an earlier blog post, Plain language and the law.  Usually, lawyers have been accused of using difficult language as a way of separating themselves from, so as to   …Continue Reading It’s all Greek to me, or, Of Frogs and Mice