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  • PART III COURTS, JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND PROCEEDINGS IN CIVIL CASES
  • TITLE I COURTS AND JUDICIAL OFFICERS
  • CHAPTER 218 DISTRICT COURTS
  • Section 26A Trial by jury; discovery; jury-waived trial; record of proceedings; probation

Section 26A. Trial of criminal offenses in the Boston municipal court department and in the district court department shall be by a jury of six persons, unless the defendant files a written waiver and consent to be tried by the court without a jury. Such waiver shall not be received unless the defendant is represented by counsel or has filed a written waiver of counsel. No decision on such waiver shall be received until after the completion of a pretrial conference and a hearing on the results of such conference and until after the disposition of any pretrial discovery motions and compliance with any order of the court pursuant to said motions. Such waiver shall be filed in accordance with the provisions of section six of chapter two hundred and sixty-three; provided, however, that defense counsel shall execute a certificate signed by said counsel indicating that he has made all the necessary explanations and determinations regarding such waiver. The form of such certificate shall be prescribed by the chief justice for the district court department.

In the Boston municipal court department and the district court department upon the motion of a defendant consistent with criminal procedure, or upon the court’s own motion, the judge shall issue an order of discovery requiring any information to which the defendant is entitled and also requiring that the defendant be permitted to discover, inspect, and copy any material and relevant evidence, documents, statements of persons, or reports of physical or mental examinations of any person or of scientific tests or experiments, within the possession, custody, or control of the prosecutor or persons under his direction and control. Upon motion of the defendant the judge shall order the production by the commonwealth of the names and addresses of the prospective witnesses and the production by the probation department of the record of prior convictions of any such witness.

Trial by jury in the Boston municipal court department and the district court department shall be in those jury sessions designated in accordance with section twenty-seven A. Where the defendant has properly filed a waiver and consented to be tried without a jury, as hereinbefore provided, trial shall proceed in accordance with the provisions of law applicable to jury-waived trials in the superior court; provided, however, that at the option of the defendant, the trial may be before a judge who has not rejected an agreed recommendation or dispositional request made by the defendant pursuant to the provisions of section eighteen of chapter two hundred and seventy-eight. Review in such cases 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.

The justice presiding over such jury-waived trial in the Boston municipal court department or the district court department shall have and exercise all of 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, but in no case may he impose a sentence to the state prison.

The justice presiding at such jury-waived session in the Boston municipal court department or the district court department shall, upon the request of the defendant, appoint a stenographer; provided, however, that where the defendant claims indigency, such appointment is determined to be reasonably necessary in accordance with the provisions of sections twenty-seven A to twenty-seven G, inclusive, of chapter two hundred and sixty-one. Such stenographer shall be sworn, and shall take stenographic notes of all the testimony given at the trial, and shall provide the parties thereto with a transcript of his notes or any part thereof taken at the trial or hearing for which he shall be paid by the party requesting it at the rate fixed by the chief justice of the Boston municipal court department or for the district court department as the case may be; and provided, further, that such rate shall not exceed the rate provided by section eighty-eight of chapter two hundred and twenty-one. Said chief justice may make regulations not inconsistent with law relative to the assignments, duties and services of stenographers appointed for sessions in his department and any other matter relative to stenographers. The compensation and expenses of a stenographer shall be paid by the commonwealth.

The request for the appointment of a stenographer to preserve the testimony at a trial in the Boston municipal court department or district court department shall be given to the clerk of the court by the defendant in writing no later than forty-eight hours prior to the proceeding for which the stenographer has been requested. The defendant shall file with such request an affidavit of indigency 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 defendant 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 Boston municipal court department or of a division of the district 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 chief justice for the Boston municipal court department or a district court department, or his designee, to be an accurate electronic reproduction of said record or part thereof, or a typewritten transcript of all or a 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 whenever proof of such testimony is otherwise competent. The defendant 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.

In any case heard in a jury waived session in the Boston municipal court department or a district court department where a defendant is placed on probation or placed under probation supervision, he shall thereafter be supervised by the probation officer of the court in which the case originated, unless the trial justice shall order otherwise and unless the regulations of the commissioner of probation provide otherwise.