I was hoping not to have to get your office involved but have no other choice. I write to you today in hope that you can help with enforcing SJC rule 1:19. This rule came to me from Chief Justice Paula Carey's Office, which Joan Kenny was the person to respond to my request to record at the Family and Probate courts.
For months I have been back and forth with Chief Justice Paula Carey's office in regards to this issue. Per Chief Justice Paula Carey, she made it clear to me that any request to record must be approved by the Judge hearing those cases, and only those Judges can approve my request.
I have been asked to follow the rules, I have been asked not to email my request, I been asked not to fax my request, I have been told I can record, but no order is ever issued. Only 2 Judges has done their job, even though they have denied my request, I thank Judge Amy Blake for responding to my request to record a case in front of her, She heard my request, ruled on my request, denied, and submitted her denial in writing to me.
The other Judge is Judge Maryann Sahagan, again even though she denied my request, she acknowledge the request by calling me up to the bench to address my request.
If every Judge would do this, I wouldn't have to write to you.
On January 7, 2010 I was taking notes in court room 9 Lawrence Probate Court, in front of Judge John Cronin hearing contempt's for the Department Of Revenue (DOR) when Jean Judge Manzi clerk in court room 10, stuck her head in and waived me over to court room 10, When I get there Judge Manzi comes in and takes the bench, She is addressing my request to record her contempt cases that following Monday.
Judge Manzi approved my request to record, but gave me instructions that she wanted the parties to the case to be served with my request, I explain to Judge Manzi at the hearing, that the issue of getting the dockets two days before a hearing would make it impossible to give notices. Judge Manzi ordered that I be allow to get a copy of her docket 3 weeks prior to her cases in which I wish to record.
That same day I sent out a letter to Chief Justice Paula Carey's office in regards to Judge Manzi concerns, I believe I have and in many attempts, try to resolve the courts concern to the parties in a case. I in turn asked the court to allow me to record, and at no time will the camera be moved or be pointed to any par tie in a case, and that such camera would only be pointed at the Judges bench at all time, before, during, and after each case.
I feel that audio is already made public in a court hearing and the public has the right to go and get a copy of the recording. Chief Justice Paula Carey is quoted "I am open to having a open and transparent court" but limits the amount of cases I can record. Chief Justice Carey has failed in enforcing that her Judges reply to my request and to rule on my request, and to issue written finding to my request, approve or deny my request, as they would any other Media or person.
I have followed the rules which was provided to me, I have given notice to the court in a timely manner, I have been asked to give notice to the parties, I have attempted to address the issue of privacy, Yet restrictions are made on me, For example The docket for DOR is not made available to me until two days before a Department of Revenue contempt days, Then I have to pick the 4 cases I wish to record, The Judge then makes the decision when the case is being heard. I have asked Chief Justice Paula Carey, to inform her staff and her Judges to respond to my request to record, yet it still goes ignored or their reply comes back with the attitude like Joan Kenny had and wrote two weeks ago.
Chief Justice Mulligan, I write not only as a producer/director/host of my show "Behind the Scene with Hector Montalvo", I also write to you as a Candidate for State Representative in this coming election, I seek to work with your office in a bi-Partisan way to address these issue.
I look forward to your response.
Behind The Scene with Hector Montalvo