Matter of Clerk-Magistrate Robert E. Powers

For the first time in over a decade, the Supreme Judicial Court’s Committee on Professional Responsibility for Clerks of Court has recommended to the high court that a Clerk-Magistrate, who had been appointed to that office for life by the governor, be removed from office. The Verrill Dana team of Tom Bean, who had been appointed by the Court as Special Counsel to the Clerks’ Committee to investigate alleged wrongdoing by, and potentially file formal charges against, the Clerk-Magistrate, Robert Langlois, Keith Glidden and Sara Hirshon examined more than thirty-five witnesses, including five sitting judges, during a six day trial on formal charges they filed. After extensive post-trial briefing, the Hearing Officer (Hon. Gordon Doerfer (ret.)) appointed by the Supreme Judicial Court found that the Clerk-Magistrate had violated three Canons of Professional Conduct for Clerks of Court; it recommended his removal. The Committee’s decision to adopt the Hearing Officer’s findings and recommendation represents a victory for the administration of justice in the Commonwealth and the Verrill Dana team that devoted substantial time to this high profile pro bono matter that has received repeated attention in the Boston Globe, the Cape Cod Times, and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Authority to remove Clerk Magistrate Powers belongs solely to the Supreme Judicial Court, who agreed with the Hearing Officer's recommendation and ordered Clerk-Magistrate Powers' removal from office on May 10, 2013.