Section 26A of Chapter 218 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting the following at the end of the section:
Whoever is found guilty of a crime of a misdemeanor or felony under Sections 23, 24, or 24(2)(a) of Ch. 90 exclusive of subsections listed in section b below; Sections 33(b), 34 or 40 of Ch. 94C; Sections 16, 16A, 20, 28(a), 30A, 30(1), 34, 37, 37B, 37E(b), 76 or 120 of Ch. 266; Sections 1 or 5 of Ch. 267; Section 32B of Ch. 268; Section 53(a), 53A(a), or 53(b) of Ch. 272; Section 6 of Ch. 274; or Section 2 of Ch. 275; before a justice in a district court or in the municipal court of the city of Boston, having filed the written waiver of trial by jury in the first instance provided by section 26A of chapter 218, may appeal the finding of guilty or the sentence imposed thereon to a jury-of-six session in accordance with section 27A of chapter 218, and at the time of such finding of guilty or sentencing shall be notified of his right to take such appeal.
The case shall be entered in the district court of competent jurisdiction on the return day next after the appeal is taken, and the appellant shall be released on personal recognizance or committed, in accordance with the procedures set forth in section 58 of chapter 276, until he recognizes to the commonwealth, in such sum and with such surety or sureties as the court requires, with condition to appear at said jury session on said return day and at any subsequent time to which the case may be continued, if not previously surrendered and discharged, and so from time to time until the final sentence, order or decree, and not depart without leave, and in the meantime to keep the peace and be of good behavior. If the appellant is not released on personal recognizance and is committed for failure to recognize, the superior court shall thereupon have jurisdiction of the case only for the purpose of revising the amount of bail required as aforesaid. The appellant shall not be required to advance any fees upon claiming his appeal or in prosecuting the same.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a defendant after a finding of guilty in a jury-waived trial held in a district court, or the municipal court of the city of Boston, may appeal therefrom and shall thereafter be entitled to a trial de novo with a jury-of-six in accordance with the previous paragraph of this section.
b) Provided, however, that the right to a trial de novo shall not be available for persons criminally charged in violation of Section 24( 1)(a)(1) of Chapter 90 if the defendant has been previously convicted or assigned to an alcohol or controlled substance education, treatment or rehabilitation program by a court of the commonwealth or any other jurisdiction because of a like offense 4 times or more preceding the date of the commission of the offense for which the defendant has been charged; and sections 24 (2) (A 1/2) (1); 24 (2) (a1/2)(2); 24 A; 24 G; 24 L; and 24 V of chapter 90.
c) Persons charged in violation of sections 10, 25 and 34 of chapter 90 carrying only penalties of a fine and with civil motor vehicle infractions shall not be entitled to a trial de novo unless accompanied by a qualifying charge.
d) Nothing contained herein shall permit or authorize remote or virtual bench trials.
e) The District Attorney shall have the right to object to cases eligible to be heard under this system, and to have the Court reschedule such case, upon a showing that a necessary witness is unable to participate due to exposure to, infection from, or increased health risks from potential exposure to the COVID-19 norovirus due to pre-existing conditions.
f) Section 1 shall expire 1 year after the effective date of this act; provided, however, that the governor may postpone such expiration in increments of not more than 90 days in the interest of justice
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