Suffolk County Superior Court Information
The Suffolk County Superior Court, located at 3 Pemberton Square in Boston, serves Boston, Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop. These areas are home to more than 7.5 million residents, many of whom are likely to visit the courthouse for one reason or another at some point. Also known as the John Adams Courthouse, the Suffolk County Superior Court building houses all the highest state-level trial courts in Boston, including:
- The Superior Court of Massachusetts, which handles criminal cases and some civil cases
- The Land Court Department, which handles all disputes and matters regarding registration of title of real property
- Massachusetts Appeals Court, which reviews decisions rendered in lower courts
- The Clerk’s Office, which contains a Clerk for Civil Business and a Clerk for Criminal Business
- The Probation Department for Criminal Business
- The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, which generally has the final word in all state-level legal cases and matters
The Suffolk County Superior Court houses civil cases valued over $25,000 concerning labor disputes. The court also houses all felony cases and has exclusive primary jurisdiction over first-degree murder cases.
Notes for Visitors
There are different rules for different visitors to the Suffolk County Superior Court. Jurors typically receive special instruction and escorts/supervision during their time in the courthouse. If you are reporting to the Suffolk County Superior Court as a juror, call the Juror Line after 3 p.m. the day before your report date at (617) 788-8119. Trial jurors must arrive no later than 8 a.m., and grand jurors no later than 9 a.m. on duty days in Room 218. Jurors can also call the Juror Line after 7 a.m. on a duty day to check for any recordings concerning severe weather or other emergencies.
All visitors should note that the courthouse does not provide parking. Parking is available at several nearby privately-owned parking garages. Visitors should expect local rates, so parking in these garages can be very expensive, depending on the length of the visit.
Visitors to the Suffolk County Superior Court may not bring cell phones, smartphones, tablets, laptop computers, Bluetooth devices, or any other wireless devices into the courthouse at any time. The only exceptions to this rule include police officers, courthouse employees, jurors, and Boston personal injury attorneys. The public visiting the courthouse must silence or turn off cell phones and may only use them in approved areas, and only if the use does not interfere with any courthouse business. However, the public cannot take photos anywhere in the courthouse unless it is coordinated with courthouse staff for court-sponsored ceremonies, such as marriages or adoptions.
The Trial Court will sometimes approve recordings of trial proceedings under special circumstances, but anyone who wishes to take any type of recording must submit a formal application to do so and have a compelling reason to record the matter in question. A first justice or regional administrative justice, the director of security, or the SJC public information officer can approve recordings in unusual circumstances.
If security officers at the Suffolk County Superior Court notice anyone using a device inappropriately, it is subject to confiscation until the individual leaves the courthouse for the day. The device is not subject to search without a warrant or the owner’s express written consent, but it’s important to note that individuals who violate the electronic device policy may face removal from the courthouse. If such an individual is involved in an active case, the judge may hold the individual in contempt for failing to adhere to the electronics policy.
The Suffolk County Superior Court exists to serve the people of the Greater Boston area, so if you have any questions about courthouse policies, a court security officer can likely assist you during your visit.