Title

Criminal Law and Procedure

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1975

ISSN

0570-2674

Publisher

Boston College Law School

Language

en-US

Abstract

Trial De Novo. The constitutional foundation underlying the system of trial de novo in Massachusetts was subjected to a frontal assault during the Survey year. The system survived, but there is reason to doubt its continuing validity. The debate over the wisdom of maintaining a two-tiered system of trial courts has been wide-ranging. One of the chief complaints against the trial de novo system is that it insulates trial judges from any meaningful appellate review. This isolation fosters an environmnt in which trial judges can, with impunity, ignore the constraints placed upon judges in courts of record. It is exceedingly difficult to obtain relief from even the most outrageous action by a district court judge, short of wiping the slate clean and starting anew in superior court. As several cases decided during the Survey year demonstrated, that option is not always satisfactory to defendants.

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