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Massachusetts Criminal Procedure Rule 37: Transfer of Cases

(Applicable to District Court and Superior Court)

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(a) Transfer for Plea and Sentence.

(1) District Court. A defendant against whom a complaint is pending and who appears in District Court, whether under arrest or pursuant to a summons, and against whom a complaint is pending in a division other than that in which he appears, may state in writing that he wishes to plead guilty or nolo contendere, to waive trial in the division in which the other complaint is pending, and to consent to disposition of the case in the division in which he appears. The District Court in which the defendant appears may order that the other complaint be transferred for disposition, subject to the written approval of the prosecutor in each division.

(2) Superior Court. A defendant against whom a complaint or indictment is pending and who appears in Superior Court, whether under arrest or pursuant to a summons, and against whom a complaint or indictment is pending in a county other than that in which he appears, may state in writing that he wishes to plead guilty or nolo contendere, to waive trial in the county in which the other complaint or indictment is pending, and to consent to disposition of the case in the county in which he appears. The Superior Court in which the defendant appears may order that the other complaint or indictment be transferred for disposition, subject to the written approval of the prosecuting attorney in each county.

(3) Effect of Not Guilty Plea. If after a proceeding has been transferred pursuant to subdivision (a) of this rule the defendant pleads not guilty, the clerk shall return the papers transmitted pursuant to subdivision (c) of this rule to the court in which the prosecution was commenced, and the proceeding shall be restored to the docket of that court.

(b) Transfer for Trial.

(1) Transfer for Prejudice. A judge upon his own motion or the motion of a defendant or the Commonwealth made prior to trial may order the transfer of a case to another division or county for trial if the court is satisfied that there exists in the community where the prosecution is pending so great a prejudice against the defendant that he may not there obtain a fair and impartial trial.

(2) Transfer of Other Cases. A judge, upon motion of a defendant made pursuant to subdivision (3) or (4) of rule 9(a), and after taking into account the convenience of the court, the parties, and their witnesses, may with the written approval of the prosecuting attorney in each division or county order the transfer and consolidation for trial of any or all charges pending against the defendant in the several divisions or counties of the Commonwealth.

(c) Proceedings on Transfer. Upon receipt of the defendant's statement and the written approval of the prosecutor required by this rule, the clerk of the court in which a complaint or indictment is pending shall transfer the papers in the case and any bail taken to the clerk of the court to which the case is transferred. The clerk of the transferee court shall make immediate entry of the case upon the docket of that court and shall so notify the clerk of the transferor court so that the case may be closed on the docket of that court. The prosecution shall continue in the transferee court.