FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
November 3, 2014
CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins recently joined Supreme Judicial Court Justice Ralph D. Gants, Trial Court Chief Justice Paula M. Carey, Court Administrator Harry Spence and other court officials at a ceremony held at the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse in Boston.
The event was convened as both a means to celebrate the Massachusetts Trial Courts’ new Court Service Centers at the Brooke Courthouse and the Franklin County Courthouse in Greenfield, and to announce the addition of more to come in the near future.
Court Service Centers (CSC) offer numerous resources free of charge to the general public and attorneys, including individual assistance with preparing pleadings, court forms and documents, access to public computers and workstations, and interpreter services. Managed by Trial Court employees, with assistance from trained volunteers, the centers also provide contact information to community resources, legal assistance programs, and social service agencies. Onsite law librarians are available to provide assistance with legal research.
Since the opening of the Brooke Courthouse’s CSC, there have been more than 2,243 visits with over 1,000 hours of one–on–one assistance provided in 9 different languages, including Arabic, Amharic, Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Spanish, Khmer, and Haitian Creole. To date, approximately 85% of those visiting the CSC have qualified for a fee waiver, which indicates that their after–tax income was 125% below the federal poverty guidelines.
Attending the event to offer his support, Sheriff Tompkins spoke about the CSC following his tour of the offices.
“The Court Service Center is a great resource,” said Sheriff Tompkins. “For many people, navigating the court system can be an intimidating and sometimes confusing experience, particularly if English isn’t their first language. The help that people receive from the CSC – be it through interpreter services, guidance to legal assistance programs, or deciphering court documents – is invaluable.”
To learn more about Court Service Centers, or the Massachusetts Trial Courts, visit: www.mass.gov/courts.