Gov. Baker Nominates Two SouthCoast Attorneys to Associate Justice Positions
BOSTON — On Wednesday, Governor Charlie Baker nominated James P. Harrington to serve as an Associate Justice in the Bristol County Juvenile Court and Katie Cook Rayburn to serve as an Associate Justice of the District Court.
Harrington, a Fall River native, has over 20 years of practice in Bristol County, specializing in family law and civil litigation issues. Rayburn has broad experience in the private and public sectors, serving in both the Plymouth and Bristol County District Attorneys’ Offices, most recently as Deputy Chief of Homicide Unit in Bristol County.
“Attorneys Harrington and Rayburn are well-respected and experienced lawyers who will be committed to reaching just results for the litigants and lawyers who appear before them,” said Governor Baker. “I am pleased to nominate both candidates for the Governor’s Council’s advice and consent.”
The Juvenile Court Department is a statewide court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters including delinquencies, youthful offender cases, care and protections and children requiring assistance cases. The Juvenile Court has 41 judges, including the Chief Justice, in over 40 locations.
For the last fifteen years, Harrington has served as the sole practitioner of the Law Offices of James P. Harrington, with an emphasis on child welfare, delinquency, family law and civil litigation issues in the Juvenile, Probate, District and Superior Courts. He began his legal career in 1994 in the Law Offices of Steven Pereira, where he worked until 2002, individually handling all phases of a caseload including family law and both criminal and civil litigation. He is the Committee for Public Counsel Services Resource Attorney for the Bristol County private bar in the area of children and family law. He received his Juris Doctor in 1993 from Temple University Law School, holds a Masters in Business Administration from Providence College and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in History from Bridgewater State College. Harrington currently resides in Fall River.
The District Court hears a wide range of criminal, civil, housing, juvenile, mental health, and other types of cases. District Court criminal jurisdiction extends to all felonies punishable by a sentence up to five years, and many other specific felonies with greater potential penalties; all misdemeanors; and all violations of city and town ordinances and by-laws. In civil matters, District Court judges conduct both jury and jury-waived trials, and determine with finality any matter in which the likelihood of recovery does not exceed $25,000. The District Court also tries small claims involving up to $7,000). The District Court's civil jurisdiction also includes many specialized proceedings, including abuse prevention restraining orders and civil motor vehicle infractions.
Rayburn currently serves as Deputy Chief of Homicide Unit as Assistant District Attorney in the Bristol County District Attorney's office, where she has previously served as Director of the Domestic Violence Unit. Rayburn started her career as an associate at Grassia, Murphy and Whitney and went on to serve as an Assistant District Attorney in Plymouth County. After that, Attorney Rayburn spent time in the private sector as an Associate Attorney at the Law Office of Daniel W. O'Malley from 2005 to 2008. She received her Juris Doctor in 1999 from Suffolk University Law School and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She currently resides in Weymouth with her family.
Judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) and recommended to the governor. Governor Baker established the JNC in February, 2015 pursuant to Executive Order 558, a non-partisan, non-political Commission composed of volunteers from a cross-section of the Commonwealth's diverse population to screen judicial applications. Twenty-one members were later appointed to the JNC in April, 2015.
"I am confident in the intelligence, wisdom and demeanor of these two talented attorneys," said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. "Their dedication to the law, experience and knowledge will serve the people of Massachusetts well."
--Governor Baker's Office