Senate Stops Cox Panel's Court Reform

The Massachusetts Senate failed to vote on the Judicial Reform Bill, the modified product of a Select Committee on Judicial Needs chaired by Archibald Cox '34, before the end of the 1977 session of the Legislature on Tuesday night.

Cox expressed disappointment that the Senate did not enact the bill, but declined to predict whether the legislation, resubmitted by Gov. Dukakis yesterday morning, could pass during the present session.

David Irons, press secretary for Gov. Dukakis, said he expects the new bill will pass "very, very soon." "It will pass either by mid-February or not at all," State Sen. Alan D. Sisitsky, chairman of the State Senate Judicial Committee, said yesterday.

Because of a last-minute filibuster by State Sen. Mary L. Fonseca, who objected to the salary increases included in the program, the senate did not have time to vote on the bill.

Sisitsky called the Cox Committee's original proposals "totally visionary" but "ultimately desirable."


The final form of the bill differed substantially from the recommendations of the 189-page report published by the Cox committee. The original report proposed that the present seven types of court be merged into a two-tiered system with the justices serving either on the district court level or on the superior court level.

The most recent bill, however, rejected this merger, keeping the housing and land courts separate from the superior court. Sisitsky called the merger "unwise.