Governor gives McCarthy second chance to be District Court justice


PITTSFIELD -- Attorney Michael J. McCarthy, a former city solicitor whose nomination as a District Court associate justice was stalled last year after a tie vote of the Governor's Council, has been re-nominated for the same job by Gov. Deval L. Patrick.

Among several court nominees put forth Friday by the governor, McCarthy was proposed as an associate justice for the Southern Berkshire District Court.

The Governor's Council in September voted 3-3 on McCarthy's nomination, with the three opposed saying they weren't pleased with his answers to their questions during his confirmation hearing. Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, who might have broken the tie in McCarthy's favor, was out of the country on a trade trip and unable to cast a deciding vote.

This year, the newly elected eight-member council, which reviews and confirms gubernatorial nominations for the court among other duties, has four new members following turnover in last November's election. Two councilors who had opposed confirming McCarthy remain on the council.

A spokesman for the council said Friday that the nominations will be discussed at a meeting Wednesday in Boston, and it is likely a schedule for hearings on the judicial nominees will be set.

McCarthy is an attorney with George, DeGregorio, Massimiano & McCarthy in Pittsfield.

"I am very grateful to the governor for having faith in me and putting forth my name in nomination," McCarthy said on Friday. "If approved by the council, I look forward to serving on the bench."

McCarthy also was city solicitor in Pittsfield for two years and served as an assistant district attorney in Berkshire County.

The District Court position would fill a vacancy created with the retirement of Judge James B. McElroy. Judge Fredric D. Rutberg in Central Berkshire District Court is serving as acting judge for Southern Berkshire District Court until the vacancy is filled.

Michael J. Albano of Longmeadow, a former mayor of Springfield who now represents the Western Massachusetts' District 8 on the council, was elected on Nov. 6 and said he has followed the progress of McCarthy's nomination.

The confirmation process "must now begin all over again with four new [council] members," he said. "Had Tim Murray been in the state that day, Mr. McCarthy would be sitting on the court today."

Albano added, "From the research I've done on the nomination, I will be supporting Mr. McCarthy. The people of Berkshire County were supportive. He is highly respected. I was very impressed by the input from Berkshire County, from the courts and from community members."

On Friday, Patrick also nominated outgoing state Public Safety Secretary Mary Elizabeth Heffernan of West Roxbury as a district court circuit justice.

The governor also resubmitted four pending judicial nominations: Geraldine S. Hines as an associate justice of the Appeals Court, and Angel Kelly Brown, Brian A. Davis, and Robert B. Gordon as associate justices of the Superior Court. The nominees were resubmitted because the Governor Council's term ended before they were considered.


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