Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Berkshire
Heard: November 7, 2017.
received and sworn to in the Berkshire County Division of the
Juvenile Court Department on April 14, 2016. A motion to
dismiss was heard by Judith A. Locke, J.
Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct
G. Christensen, Assistant District Attorney (Joseph A.
Pieropan, Assistant District Attorney, also present) for the
M. Templin for the juvenile.
following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Miriam H.
Ruttenberg, Jennifer Honig, & Phillip Kassel for Mental
Health Legal Advisors Committee & others.
M. Schiff, Committee for Public Counsel Services, _&
Joseph N. Schneiderman for Youth Advocacy Division of the
Committee for Public Counsel Services.
F. Conley, District Attorney for the Suffolk District, &
John P. Zanini, Assistant District Attorney, for District
Attorney for the Suffolk District.
Present: Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, &
Commonwealth v. Newton N., 478
Mass., (2018), also decided today, in which a police officer
applied for and obtained a delinquency complaint, we held
that, "where a prosecutor exercises his or her
discretion to proceed to arraignment on a delinquency
complaint supported by probable cause, the judge may not
dismiss the complaint before arraignment on the grounds that
dismissal of the complaint is in the best interests of the
child and in the interests of justice. " We consider
here whether that same limitation on judicial authority in
deciding a motion to dismiss applies to a delinquency
complaint brought by a private party under G. L. c. 218,
§ 35A, where a clerk-magistrate issued the complaint
after finding probable cause. We conclude that this same
limitation applies only where the prosecutor has
affirmatively adopted the private party's complaint by
moving for arraignment. In cases where the prosecutor has not
so moved, a judge considering a juvenile's motion to
dismiss prior to arraignment may consider whether the
clerk-magistrate abused his or her discretion in issuing the
complaint and, in doing so, may consider whether dismissal is
in the best interests of the child and in the interests of
March 24, 2016, the vice-principal of the juvenile's
charter school filed an application under G. L. c. 218,
§ 35A, for a delinquency complaint, alleging that the
juvenile committed an assault and battery in the classroom
against a paraprofessional instructor, in violation of G. L.
c. 265, § 13A (a.) . Following a show cause hearing, the
clerk-magistrate issued a delinquency complaint, along with a
written summary of the testimony presented at the hearing.
The juvenile then moved to dismiss the complaint before
5, 2016, a hearing was held on the motion to dismiss. The
Juvenile Court judge, based on the documents attached to the
application for the complaint and the relevant evidence
presented at the show cause hearing, allowed the
juvenile's motion to ...