Latest Secret Courts headlines

Wrentham clerk declined to issue charges against driver after fatal motorcycle wreck

A defense attorney cited a toxicology report that said the crash victim had traces of fentanyl and morphine in his blood. Prosecutors are appealing the decision.

Kevin Spacey in 2016.

Questions surface over Kevin Spacey’s ‘secret court’ hearing

Before Monday’s arraignment, the actor’s lawyers were given a special opportunity to have his case reviewed in a mini-trial-type setting where charges can be dropped out of public view.


Kevin Spacey got his day in open court — and that’s important

Justice demands that public show-cause hearings ought to be the rule, not the exception for an out-of-town celebrity.

Kevin Spacey at the Juilliard School in New York, May 29, 2017. Spacey has had a busy spring, starring in another season of “House of Cards” on Netflix, preparing to host the Tony Awards and showing his stage roots with a performance as Clarence Darrow — in a tennis stadium. (Ryan Pfluger/The New York Times)-- PART OF A COLLECTION OF STAND-ALONE PHOTOS FOR USE AS DESIRED IN YEAREND STORIES AND RECAPS OF 2017 --

Audio recording of Kevin Spacey’s court hearing sheds light in Nantucket case

An audio recording of a court hearing obtained by the Globe provides insight into how the actor’s attorneys plan to defend him against charges that he assaulted a teenager on Nantucket.

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Clerk magistrates who oversee court filings have paperwork problems of their own

The Association of Magistrates and Assistant Clerks, which represents hundreds of clerk magistrates and assistant clerks, has repeatedly missed filing deadlines with the Secretary of State’s office for its annual reports.

Priscilla Rodas showed a cellphone picture of her bruised eye taken days after a road rage incident now in dispute.

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Private citizens sometimes seek charges against their accusers in secret courts

Massachusetts is one of a small number of states that allow private citizens to go before clerk magistrates to lodge serious criminal complaints that are vetted, and sometimes settled, in secretive hearings.

A police officer guarded show cause hearings at the Edward Brooke Courthouse.

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Panel is charged with reviewing state’s ‘secret courts’

Trial Court Chief Justice Paula Carey convened a “Trial Court Working Group” to review the way these hearings operate, according to court spokeswoman Jennifer Donahue.


Secret courts in Massachusetts don’t have to be so secret

There is no substitute for justice delivered in the bright light of day — even by clerk magistrates.

Boston, Ma., 07/24/18, (FOR SPOTLIGHT--DO NOT PUBLISH UNTIL STORY.) BPD officer outside guarding the door to the show cause hearings at the Edward Brooke Courthouse. Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Opinion | Rachelle G. Cohen

Secret courts: too much power, too little transparency

So far, all we’re hearing from the SJC and its Chief Justice Ralph Gants about the state’s problematic show-cause hearings is crickets.

An officer guarded the door during a show cause hearing in Boston.

Adrian Walker

Time to open up the state’s ‘Secret Courts’ — or end them completely

Clerks play an essential role in the legal system, but they should not be mini-judges. They shouldn’t decide cases at all.


Spotlight report on court clerks reveals system needs public scrutiny

We’re the only state in the country with these private hearings. If we’re going to hold onto them, we’ve got to make sure the people running them are equipped to do the job.

BOSTON, MA - 9/04/2018: Governor Charlie Baker at Baker-Polito HQ in Allston (David L Ryan/Globe Staff ) SECTION: METRO TOPIC 05governor

State leaders call for transparency in closed-door criminal hearings

Officials were responding to a Globe Spotlight report that detailed how secret criminal hearings resulted in some suspects not facing charges for serious crimes — even though police had substantial evidence.