The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 26, 2001


Governor appoints Carlisle resident to State Appeals Court

by Phyllis Zinicola

Mark Green
Readers of the Mosquito Forum might know Mark Green as an overqualified cleaner of closets, but Governor Jane Swift recently recognized him as one of the most promising judges in the Commonwealth. On November 1, Swift will swear in Green to be one of eleven new judges on the state Appeals Court, the second highest court in the state.

The nomination process began for Green in early October 2000 when he was encouraged to apply for one of the new spots on the expanded judiciary created by the legislature last summer. Green, who at the time was serving as a judge in the Land Court, emphasized in his application that the Appeals Court could benefit from having a judge with specialized knowledge in real property issues.

Indeed, Green has the distinction of being the first judge who has been elevated to the Appeals Court from the Land Court. He considers his appointment to be a showcase for the work of the Land Court, the smallest of the state's trial level specialty courts. [See box] With a touch of pride in his voice, Green said, "The powers that be have recognized that the work of the Land Court can have an impact on our body of jurisprudence."

Prior to his appointment to the Land Court, Green had more experience with the transactional aspects of real estate than its legal theory. After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1982, Green specialized in real estate transactions in two private Boston law firms (Goulston & Storrs and Herrick & Smith) and as in-house counsel to Shawmut Bank and BankBoston. Green points to his transactional experience as a reason his confirmation hearing to the Land Court was "more probing" than his confirmation hearing to the Appeals Court, which Green characterized as "warm and embracing."

For people who know Green, it is not surprising that the questions from the Governor's Council were not controversial. Even in his Forum pieces, which he will continue to write, Green has stayed clear of any potential conflict areas. The closest he ever came to commenting on the judiciary, he said, was during the Louise Woodward trial, and that piece focused on media attention to the case rather than the merits of the decision.

Although the Appeals Court will benefit from having a specialist in land matters, Green is also looking forward to broadening his experience with the law. Half of the docket of the Appeals Court is made up of criminal cases, estimated Green. "I hope to regain an appreciation for other areas we really care about," said Green, noting in particular, family law matters and criminal justice. "Basically, how we order our affairs in a civil society."

Green and his family have lived in Carlisle since September 1992. His wife Karen, also a lawyer, is associated withthe law firm Hale and Dorr in Boston. The Greens have two sons, Colin, 16, and Alex 13. Green has served on several town ad hoc committees including the Malcolm Land-Congregational Church land swap. He was a member of the Carlisle Conservation Commission.

State Court system

The Massachusetts court system, like the federal judiciary, is a three-tiered system: the trial court level, the Appeals Court and the final Supreme Judicial Court. At the trial court level, the judge or a jury hears evidence and rules on the facts. Appeals of decisions at the trial court level are heard at the Appeals Court. Because only rare cases go on to the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court is the general court of appeals for most trial court decisions.

There are seven departments in the trial court level. Three are of general jurisdiction: the Superior Court, which handles mostly large civil disputes, and the District Court and the Boston Municipal Court which handle smaller matters. Four are specialty courts: Housing Court, Juvenile Court, Probate Court and the Land Court. The Land Court is the smallest specialty court and handles all matters dealing with the right, title and interest to real property, including boundary disputes, easements and appeals on subdivision decisions. The Land Court also administers the state's registered land system.

Upon Green's swearing in, Carlisle can boast two Appeals Court judges. Carlisle resident Barbara Lenk has been an Appeals Court judge since 1993.

2001 The Carlisle Mosquito