Charlie Baker Picks Legal Team Member For Magistrate Post

Printed from:

By Sam Doran
State House News Service

Governor Charlie Baker on Wednesday nominated one of his office’s top attorneys, who until recently was in charge of funneling judicial nominations to the governor, to serve as a clerk magistrate.

Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced during a Governor’s Council meeting that Baker had nominated Lauren Greene Petrigno, who is also an experienced prosecutor, as clerk magistrate of Stoughton District Court.

The Stoughton clerkship opened up in October after Baker, in another late-term move, successfully sought a transfer for Clerk Magistrate Kirsten Hughes, former chairman of the state Republican Party, to the Boston Municipal Court.

Until earlier this fall, Greene Petrigno was executive director of the Judicial Nominating Commission, the group assembled by Baker that vets and recommends judicial candidates for him to choose from. She also held the concurrent title of deputy legal counsel, according to her nomination paperwork.

She transitioned out of the Judicial Nominating Commission in September, Baker’s press secretary told State House News Service, and retains the title of deputy legal counsel. State payroll records show that she continues to earn the same annual rate, $109,197, as she did in her Judicial Nominating Commission capacity.

The Governor’s Council has final approval power over the governor’s picks for judicial and quasi-judicial appointments, and Councilor Robert Jubinville of Milton scheduled a public hearing on Greene Petrigno’s nomination for 9 a.m. Wednesday, November 23, the day before Thanksgiving.

After graduating from Suffolk University Law School in 2006, Greene Petrigno started out as a Boston prosecutor “[f]ocused on district court level cases arising out of specified ‘hot spots’ in the city,” according to her resume.

Her later work in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, almost entirely under then-Suffolk district attorney Dan Conley, included assignments to the Major Felony Bureau, as chief prosecutor in the Boston Municipal Court’s West Roxbury and Dorchester divisions, and ultimately as acting chief for the Boston Municipal Court’s eight divisions.

It isn’t the first time that the Judicial Nominating Commissio’s  top staff member has jumped to a magistrate job.

Greene Petrigno started with the Baker administration in April 2019 — the same month that Baker tapped her predecessor, recently-departed Judicial Nominating Commission executive director Sharon Casey, for the top clerkship at Cambridge District Court. The council approved Casey’s new post the following month.

Councilors had divergent reactions to Greene Petrigno’s nomination on Wednesday.

Councilor Terry Kennedy of Lynnfield called her a “fantastic person.”

“A fantastic human being. Very bright. Very well educated. Very experienced. She’s a home run, period. I’m a huge fan, huge fan, and I’m happy for her,” Kennedy told State House News Service.

Worcester Councilor Paul DePalo said:  “She’s a professional, and we’ll vet her like every other nominee.”

Councilor Marilyn Pettito Devaney of Watertown, a frequent critic of the Judicial Nominating Commission’s operating practices, made an exclamatory noise before saying, “That’s why I haven’t seen her lately. She’s hiding.”

“Well, I object to it,” Devaney said of the nomination. ” … And her best friend councilor is going to be presiding. Jubinville. And he made it 9 [a.m.]. You know, there are people that stay overnight because they’re afraid they’ll be late when he does that. You can’t get — you can’t put her through any faster.”

Polito’s announcement of Greene Petrigno and two other new nominees appears to have occurred before the usual paperwork was in order. The Governor’s Council did not receive a formal nomination letter from Baker until around three hours later, which met with dissatisfaction from Devaney, who said it was “unheard of” to schedule public hearings without first receiving that official notice.

Baker also tapped West Springfield attorney Nicola Gioscia for a state district court judgeship, and Eduardo Gonzalez, the first assistant clerk magistrate in the Northeast Housing Court, for a Housing Court judgeship.

Gioscia, a 1997 Massachusetts School of Law graduate, first worked as an associate at Springfield firm Cooledge and Lauro before opening the West Springfield firm of Gioscia & Gioscia in 1999. She is admitted to the U.S. District Court, Massachusetts Bar, and Connecticut Bar, along with being a licensed Realtor, according to her resume.

Gonzalez came to the Housing Court as a housing specialist in 2019 after five years with Braintree firm Turk & Quijano, LLP, where he practiced in the Housing, Superior, and District courts. His resume also lists stints at Michienzie & Sawin, LLC, Adler Pollock & Sheehan P.C., and Stern, Keilty & Wall, LLC. He is a 2002 Boston University School of Law alumnus.

The council is set to interview Gonzalez and Gioscia on Wednesday, November 30 at 9:30 a.m. and 11:15 a.m., respectively.

As Baker’s late-term appointments keep flowing through the Council Chamber, the council approved both of the governor’s recent Massachusetts Appeals Court nominees Wednesday, 6-0. Councilors Mary Hurley and Joseph Ferreira were participating remotely and therefore ineligible to vote.

Prosecutor Christopher Hodgens, head of the Worcester County District Attorney’s Litigation Integrity Division, and Judge Paul Hart Smyth, who currently sits as first justice of Pittsfield District Court, were both cleared for the appellate bench. DePalo called Hodgens an “excellent choice,” and Kennedy said Smyth was an “outstanding candidate.”


New to NewBostonPost?  Conservative media is hard to find in Massachusetts.  But you’ve found it.  Now dip your toe in the water for two bucks — $2 for two months.  And join the real revolution.