Baker nominates defense attorney Jennifer Tyne for District Court associate justice

Jennifer Tyne

BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker has tapped a local defense attorney as his nominee for associate justice of the District Court.

Jennifer Tyne, currently the district court supervisor for the county's Committee for Public Counsel Services, is one of two nominees for district court judgeships that Baker announced Wednesday. The other is Springfield-based attorney Robert T. Santaniello.

Tyne said she received news of the nomination Wednesday.

"I am so honored to be nominated," Tyne said, adding that she was looking forward to her Nov. 1 hearing before the Governor's Council in Boston, which reviews judicial nominees.

"Robert Santaniello and Jennifer Tyne will each bring professional expertise to the District Courts of Western Massachusetts," Baker said Wednesday in a statement.

He touted Tyne's experience as a public defender, private practitioner and prosecutor, as well as Santaniello's work in civil and criminal cases.

"Both attorneys Santaniello and Tyne have broad knowledge of the law as well as an understanding of the needs of and services available to those appearing before them," said Lt. Gov. Karen Polito. "These individuals have contributed significantly to their communities through pro bono, charity and human service work and will be valuable additions to the bench."

"She is bright and soft-spoken," retired District Court Judge Fredric D. Rutberg said of Tyne, "She is also an excellent practitioner. She is a great choice, and Gov. Baker is to be commended for it."

Rutberg is president of New England Newspapers Inc., which owns The Berkshire Eagle.

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Applications from those seeking a spot on the bench are reviewed by the state's 21-member Judicial Nominating Commission, which then passes on its recommendations to the governor. The governor's nominees are then reviewed by the Governor's Council.

In her role with CPCS, Tyne serves as criminal trial counsel for indigent clients in district and Berkshire Superior Court, and supervises and provides training for district court public defenders.

If Tyne is appointed, she said her previous work should give her perspective about the people she would be serving in that role.

Tyne has been a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association since 1995 and previously served as an assistant district attorney in Berkshire County.

She was also an attorney in private practice, concentrating on criminal defense; served as an elder law and real estate attorney at the Great Barrington-based Stavisky and Kelly law firm, and as an appeals attorney for indigent clients in criminal cases.

Tyne has also taught paralegal, criminal justice and research and writing courses at the Mildred Elley Business School in Pittsfield.

Tyne is a 1989 graduate of Smith College and graduated from Northeastern University School of Law in 1995.

She has served as a foster parent for the Department of Children and Families. She lives in Pittsfield with her 11-year-old daughter and two sons, ages 11 and 15.

Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.