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General Laws

Section 56. Hearings upon cases arising under sections fifty-two to eighty-four, inclusive, may be adjourned from time to time; provided however, that no adjournment shall exceed fifteen days at any one time against the objection of the child. Section thirty-five of chapter two hundred and seventy-six relative to recognizance in cases continued shall apply to cases arising under sections fifty-two to eighty-four, inclusive.

(a) Every division of the juvenile court department shall be authorized to hold jury sessions for the purpose of conducting jury trials of cases commenced in the several courts of offenses over which the juvenile courts have original jurisdiction.

(b) The chief justice for the juvenile court department shall designate at least one division in each county or an adjoining county for the purpose of conducting jury trials.

The chief justice of the juvenile court department may also designate one or more divisions in each county for the purpose of conducting jury-waived trials of cases commenced in any court of said county consistent with the requirements of the proper administration of justice.

(c) A child in any division of the juvenile court who waives his right to jury trial as provided in section fifty-five A shall be provided a jury-waived trial in the same division.

A child in any division of the juvenile court who does not waive his right to jury trial as provided in section fifty-five A shall be provided a jury trial in a jury session in the same division if such session has been established in said division. If such session has not been so established, the child shall be provided a jury trial in a jury session in an adjoining county as designated by the clerk in the division where the case is pending. In cases where the child declines to waive the right to jury trial, the clerk shall forthwith transfer the case for trial in the appropriate jury session. Such transfer shall be governed by procedures to be established by the chief justice for the juvenile court department.

(d) The justice presiding over a jury session shall have and exercise all the powers and duties which a justice sitting in the superior court department has and may exercise in the trial and disposition of criminal cases including the power to report questions of law to the appeals court. No justice so sitting shall act in a case in which he has sat or held an inquest or otherwise taken part in any proceeding therein.

(e) Trials by jury shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of law applicable to trials by jury in the superior court. The commonwealth shall be entitled to as many challenges as equal the whole number to which all the children in the case are entitled. Trial by jury shall be by juries of six persons, except that in cases where the commonwealth has proceeded by indictment, said child shall be entitled to a jury of twelve.

(f) For the jury sessions, jurors shall be provided by the office of the jury commissioner in accordance with the provisions of chapter two hundred and thirty-four A.

(g) The district attorney for the district in which the alleged offense or offenses occurred shall appear for the commonwealth in the trial of all cases in which the right to jury trial has not been waived and may appear in any other case. The chief justice for the juvenile court department shall arrange for the sittings of the jury sessions and shall assign justices thereto, to the end that speedy trials may be provided. Review may be had directly by the appeals court, by appeal, report or otherwise in the same manner provided for trials of criminal cases in the superior court. A claim of trial by jury under this section may be withdrawn before trial, in which event trial and disposition of the case shall be by a justice in a jury session sitting without a jury.

(h) The justice presiding at such session in the juvenile court department shall, upon request of the child, appoint a stenographer in accordance with section fifty-five A herein.

The request for the appointment of a stenographer to preserve the testimony at a trial in the juvenile court department shall be given to the clerk of the court by the child in writing no later than forty-eight hours prior to the proceeding for which the stenographer has been requested. The child shall file with such request an affidavit of indigence and request for payment by the commonwealth of the cost of the transcript and the court shall hold a hearing on such request prior to appointing a stenographer, in those cases where the child alleges that he will be unable to pay said cost. Said hearing shall be governed by the provisions of sections twenty-seven A to twenty-seven G, inclusive, of chapter two hundred and sixty-one, and the cost of such transcript shall be considered an extra cost as provided therein. If the court is unable, for any reason, to provide a stenographer, the proceedings may be recorded by electronic means. The original recording of proceedings in the juvenile court department made with a recording device under the exclusive control of the court shall be the official record of such proceedings. Said record or a copy of all or a part thereof, certified by the presiding justice or his designee, to be an accurate electronic reproduction of said record or part thereof, or a typewritten transcript of all or part of said record or copy thereof, certified to be accurate by the court or by the preparer of said transcript, or stipulated to by the parties, shall be admissible in any court as evidence of testimony given wherever proof of such testimony is otherwise competent. The child may request payment by the commonwealth of the cost of said transcript subject to the same provisions regarding a transcript of a stenographer as provided hereinbefore.

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