Essex County Criminal Court

Essex County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Essex County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Essex County.

Prosecutor in Essex County

In Essex County, the prosecutor is an attorney representing Essex County. In some cases, the prosecutor may actually represent Massachusetts. For the most part, the prosecutor in Essex County has discretion to both decide whether to file charges and also negotiate a potential plea deal with the defendant.

Arraignments in Essex County

During an arraignment in Essex County, a defendant appears before the court and the judge reads the charges that have been filed against the accused and also informs the defendant of his/her rights. During the arraignment in Essex County, the defendant can choose to plead one of the following 1) Guilty 2) Not Guilty or 3) No Contest. If the defendant enters a plea of Not Guilty, a date for trial is set. In the event of a Guilty or No Contest Plea in Essex County the defendant may be sentenced at that time or the sentencing may take place at a later date.

Essex County Criminal Court

Essex County Criminal Court

Essex County Required Court Appearances

In Essex County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Where can I get help for my Essex County criminal case?

The 6th amendment of the United States Constitution provides a criminal defendant with the right to an attorney. As read in the miranda rights, this means that if a defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney a legal attorney will be appointed to the defendant to represent him at no cost to the defendant. This is often a public defender. In addition, the court clerk for Essex County will also be able to provide general information about a specific criminal case. The clerk can only provide information and is not an attorney so they cannot provide legal advice, only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice about what the best options for are for your particular case.

Right to an attorney

The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Essex County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

Burden of Proof Requirement

In a criminal case in the United States, the burden of proof always requires the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This is a high threshold that must be met by the prosecution when presenting evidence in a case. If the prosecution fails in it’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt the judge must find the defendant not guilty. In a jury trial, the judge will inform the jury what this burden is and their obligation to find the defendant not guilty if they feel the prosecution did prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

If guilty, who sentences the defendant?

If the defendant is found guilty after the trial, the defendent will be sentenced. In some cases, this can occur at the same hearing the defendant is found guilty in court, in other cases a separate hearing will be required. Often the prosecution will request a particular sentence for the defendant and the judge will determine whether to enforce this sentence or impose a different sentence for the defendant.

Jury Deliberations in Essex County

In Essex County, jury deliberations will take place in a jury trial after the prosecution and defense have presented their cases and rested. At this point, the judge will provide a list of instructions to the jury about what they are allowed and not allowed to do and what verdict options are available for them to decide. The jury will be sent to a private room to discuss the evidence presented in the case and attempt to reach a unaminous decision. When a unaminous decision is reached, the jury will inform the judge that they have reached a verdict and will return to the courtroom for the verdict to be read allowed. In the event that the jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, the jury results in a deadlock and a mistrial is declared.

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

Can I request a Plea Agreement?

In Essex County you may be able to enter into a plea agreement depending upon the severity of the charges. It is also dependant upon the prosecution willing to accept a plea agreement. You can ask your attorney to attempt to negotiate a plea agreement with the prosecution to avoid having a jury trial along with the potential for a more serious sentence. Approximately 9 out of 10 criminal cases usually end in a plea agreement.

Essex County Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the Essex County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

Appealing a guilty verdict

A defendant may appeal a guilty verdict to an appellate court. This is not a request to have another trial, but a request for an appellate court to review the case and determine that it was handled in a correct legal manner. There are a number of outcomes in an appeal including an upholding of the conviction, a finding that errors were made resulting in a retrial or resentencing or possibly a complete disimissal of all charges.

Essex County Criminal Court Locations

  • Essex County Superior Court

    Address: 43 Appleton Way, Lawrence, MA 01841
    Phone: 978-242-1900 Fax: 978-687-7869

  • Essex County Superior Court

    Address: 145 High Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
    Phone: 978-462-4474 Fax: 978-462-4368

  • Essex Superior Court

    Address: 56 Federal Street, Salem, MA 01970
    Phone: 978-744-5500 Fax: 978-741-0691

  • Gloucester District Court

    Address: 197 Main Street, Gloucester, MA 01930
    Phone: 978-283-2620 Fax: 978-283-8784

  • Haverhill District Court

    Address: 45 James P. Ginty Boulevard, Haverhill, MA 01831
    Phone: 978-373-4151

  • Ipswich District Court

    Address: 188 State Road, Newburyport, MA 01950
    Phone: 978-462-2652 Fax: 978-462-5641

  • Lawrence District Court

    Address: 2 Appleton Street, Lawrence, MA 01840
    Phone: 978-687-7184 Ext. 7304 (Civil) Fax: 978-975-3171

  • Lynn District Court

    Address: 580 Essex Street, Lynn, MA 01901
    Phone: 781-598-5200 Fax: 781-598-4350

  • Peabody District Court

    Address: 1 Lowell Street, Peabody, MA 01960
    Phone: 978-532-3100 Fax: 978-531-8524

  • Salem District Court

    Address: 56 Federal Street, Salem, MA 01970
    Phone: 978-744-1167

  • Northeast Housing Court

    Address: 56 Federal Street, Salem, MA 01970
    Phone: 978-825-4920

  • Northeast Housing Court

    Address: 2 Appleton Street, Lawrence, MA 01840
    Phone: 978-689-7833

  • Essex County Juvenile Court

    Address: 56 Federal Street, Salem, MA 01970
    Phone: 978-745-9660

  • Essex County Juvenile Court

    Address: 2 Appleton Street, Lawrence, MA 01840
    Phone: 978-725-4900

  • Essex County Juvenile Court

    Address: 139 Central Avenue, Lynn, MA 01901
    Phone: 781-586-0415

  • Essex County Juvenile Court

    Address: 188 State Street, Route 1 Traffic Circle, Newburyport, MA 01950
    Phone: 978-462-0617

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