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Boston Globe files lawsuit over so-called ‘secret courts’

October 12, 2018

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Globe has filed a lawsuit asking the state’s highest court for access to Massachusetts’ so-called “secret court” system, in which clerks have the power to dismiss cases even after determining there’s enough evidence to issue criminal charges.

The newspaper reported last month that clerk magistrates, meeting behind closed doors, declined to issue criminal charges in nearly 62,000 cases in 2016 and 2017. That includes more than 18,000 cases in which clerks concluded there was probable cause to believe the suspect committed the offense.

It remains unclear why the clerks refused to issue charges because the hearings and files are generally closed to the public.

The lawsuit filed Thursday says the public has a right to know.

A spokeswoman for the Massachusetts court system declined comment on the lawsuit.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

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