Governor Baker Appoints Belezos and Dunigan as Associate Justice of Massachusetts Superior Court

In full disclosure, the following is a press release submitted to SOURCE media for publication.


BOSTON – Today, May 11, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker appointed attorney Christopher P. Belezos and assistant district attorney Elizabeth A. Dunigan as associate judges of the Superior Court, and the barrister Mary Gallant-Cote as clerk of Berkshire Juvenile Court.

“Lawyers Belezos, Dunigan and Gallant-Côte are all accomplished individuals who are excellent candidates for these appointments,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “I am pleased to submit their nominations to the Governor’s Council for its advice and consent.”

“These three experienced candidates bring tremendous trial and courtroom experience to their new roles,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “If approved, I am confident they will serve as fair and thoughtful members of the judiciary.”

The Superior Court, Massachusetts’ trial court of general jurisdiction, is committed to delivering high-quality justice in a timely and fair manner under the rule of law. The Court’s 82 judges sit in 20 courthouses in the 14 counties of the Commonwealth. The Superior Court has first instance jurisdiction in civil actions over $25,000 and in cases where equitable relief is sought. It also has original jurisdiction in actions, including labor disputes where an injunction is sought, exclusive power to convene medical malpractice tribunals, appellate jurisdiction over certain administrative proceedings, and may hold naturalization in any city or town. The Superior Court also has exclusive original jurisdiction for first degree murder cases and original jurisdiction for all other crimes.

The Juvenile Court Department is a statewide court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters, including misdemeanors, care and protections, juvenile cases, and children in need of assistance. The mission of juvenile court is to protect children from abuse and neglect, strengthen families, rehabilitate juveniles, and protect the public from delinquent and criminal behavior. Juvenile Court has more than 40 judges, including Chief Justice Amy L. Nechtem, in more than 40 locations.

Judicial appointments are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. Candidates for judicial openings are reviewed by the Judicial Appointments Commission (JNC) and recommended to the Governor. Governor Baker established the JNC in February 2015 pursuant to Executive Order 558, a non-partisan, apolitical commission made up of volunteers drawn from a cross-section of the Commonwealth’s diverse population to review court applications. Twenty-one members were subsequently appointed to the JNC in April 2015.

Belezos began his legal career in 1990 at Brown & Associates where he handled criminal defense, probate, motor vehicle and collections cases. From 1992 to 1997, Belezos worked at his solo practice, the law firm of Christopher P. Belezos, where he focused on criminal defense. From 1997 to 2011, Belezos worked for Belezos & Gratzer. While there, Belezos worked on criminal defense, personal injury, and workers’ compensation issues.

Since 2011, Belezos has maintained a solo practice, where he deals with cases in various courts across the Commonwealth. He is also involved in the community in various ways, including as a member of the Marshfield Zoning Board of Appeals and the Boy Scouts of America, as well as a volunteer with the Marshfield Education Foundation and the North River Arts Society.

Belezos received his bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in 1987 and his Juris Doctorate from Northeastern School of Law in 1990.

Elizabeth A. Dunigan has served as an assistant district attorney in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office since 1996, where she prosecutes a variety of cases in district and superior courts. In 1998, attorney Dunigan became a supervisor at Malden District Court. In 2002, attorney Dunigan joined the Child Abuse Unit and prosecuted sexual and physical abuse cases before working at Lowell Regional District Court until 2007, where she prosecuted serious crime cases, including homicides, sexual assaults and gang-related offences. Then, from 2007 to 2008, Dunigan returned to the Child Abuse Unit as Deputy Chief, before becoming Deputy Chief of the Lowell Regional Superior Court until 2010. She is currently Chief of the Superior Court Malden area, where she investigated and prosecuted homicides among various other crimes.

Additionally, Dunigan was an active member of the American College of Trial Lawyers, where she served on various committees, including as Co-Chair of the Diversity Committee for MA and a member of the Sandra Day O’Connor Jurist Award Committee. .

Dunigan received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in 1991 and his JD from the New England School of Law in 1996.

Gallant-Cote began her legal career with Western Mass Legal Services as a student attorney in 2007. Later that year, Gallant-Cote joined the law offices of Patricia M. Herbert until 2009, when where Gallant-Cote established her solo practice, The Law Offices of Mary Gallant-Cote, and has represented a large number of criminal and civil clients.

Since 2016, lawyer Gallant-Cote has been assistant regional legal adviser at the Ministry of Children and Families. Additionally, Gallant-Cote has worked in the past as an adjunct professor of criminal law and as a member of the Moot Court team at Fitchburg State University.

Gallant-Cote received his bachelor’s degree from Fitchburg State University and his JD from the Western New England School of Law.

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