The Boston Municipal Court, Central Division in downtown Boston is one of the busiest district courthouses in the state. It is known as the BMC District Court.
Much of central Boston is covered in the courthouse, including the neighborhoods of Beacon Hill, Chinatown, the North End, West End, and the South End through Massachusetts Avenue. South of there is handled in BMC Roxbury court, and East Boston and South Boston have their own courts.
Traffic incidents on I-93, the Mass Turnpike (I-90), and Storrow Drive are handled here. It is also known as the Edward Brooke Courthouse, named after the two-term Senator from Massachusetts who was the first elected African-American to the United States Senate in 1966.
Does the Boston Municipal Court have remote hearings on Zoom?
Yes. You can request one. It is up to the court to approve it. It probably depends on the severity of the virus cases.
I have won remote zoom Clerk Magistrate’s hearings at the BMC.
Where is the Boston Municipal Court located?
The courthouse is between North Station and Government Center. The address is:
Edward W. Brooke Courthouse
24 New Chardon Street
Boston, MA 02114
Is there parking at the Boston Courthouse?
Well, it’s downtown Boston, so, no. Ok, yes, there are some private garages, yes, but you are looking at paying $28 to park at a minimum. The closest garage is the Government Center garage.
We highly recommend taking the subway if you’ve got to be here in person.
What is the nearest T stop?
Haymarket on the Orange/Blue line is probably the closest, but many stops are about the same distance. North Station and Govt Center are short walks, and Bowdoin on the Blue line is close, but not worth changing trains for.
The MBTA Trip planner is pretty useful from whichever direction you are coming in.
Can I bring my cell phone, tablet, or computer with me inside the courthouse?
Yes, the BMC central district court does allow electronic devices in the building. However, any smartphone or device must be powered off while in any of the courtrooms. Not even quiet texting is allowed, or your device is subject to confiscation.
Where do I go for a Clerk Magistrate’s hearing at the Boston Municipal District Court?
If you were cited on a criminal charge and got a hearing date before a Clerk Magistrate, the process is a little different than for someone who was arrested. The Clerk Magistrate’s hearing will determine whether or not a formal criminal charge will go forward.
The Magistrate’s hearing, or show cause hearing, will be in one of the regular courtrooms. But first, you will check in with the Clerk’s Office so they know you are present. Then they’ll direct you to the hearing room in use that day.
At the hearing, when your case is called, you will stand in front of the Clerk Magistrate and he will hear from the police prosecutor about whether or not they want to pursue a criminal charge. Usually, they do, but sometimes your attorney can work out a deal in advance where the police prosecutor agrees to continue the case and not pursue a criminal complaint at that time.
This is the great benefit of having a lawyer at your hearing. There are many ways to walk out of the hearing without a criminal charge being issued.
If the prosecutor does want the charge to issue, then it is up to your attorney on your behalf to convince the Magistrate that there isn’t strong evidence for probable cause, or that pursuing a charge isn’t in the interest of justice.
If you win, the case is over, and there was never a record of a criminal charge. If the Clerk finds probable cause and issued the criminal complaint, then the case moves forward and it’s on to an arraignment.
Where Do I go for an Arraignment at the Boston Municipal Court?
If you are to appear for arraignment on a criminal charge, you always have to check in with the Probation department first. Probation will log you in for the arraignment session, and let you know which courtroom to go to. In addition, it is their job to evaluate anyone being arraigned for eligibility for a court-appointed lawyer. You have a right to counsel under the 6th amendment of the US Constitution. If you have hired us or another law firm, you can ask them to skip the financial and background information part of the process.
And technically you don’t have to have a lawyer for the arraignment since nothing much will happen on this court date. You will enter a plea of not guilty, and be given another date to appear for a pretrial, where you will need to have a lawyer.
Arraignments start promptly at 9am, so you will want to be at the courthouse early to leave plenty of time to get through building security scanning and the metal detectors, as well as any lines or wait at the probation department. An 830am arrival at the courthouse building is prudent.
What about a Pretrial or Trial at the BMC?
These always vary according to the rooms available, where judges are assigned, and a bunch of other administrative details.
At this point you will have a lawyer, so your lawyer will check in with the court clerks, and talk to the prosecutor about where any negotiations and pretrial hearing will take place.
Is there anywhere good for lunch nearby?
Sure, it’s Boston! There are a million options. The Viva Burrito is very close to the courthouse over on Staniford Street. There are a bunch of pub places toward North Station that serve the Boston Garden crowd. If you want a decent slice of Pizza, there is Regina on Thatcher St, or Ernesto’s on Salem St, each about 1/3 of a mile away.
Another idea is that it is right near the Boston Public Market at Haymarket, which has many unique prepared food options. Let us know if Noodle Lab or Bon Me are any good. If you want to walk a little further, there are a million food options in Faneuil Hall, or in the North End.