Superior Court Judge Jeffrey A. Locke named chief justice of the state trial court

A longtime Superior Court judge who presided over Aaron Hernandez’s double homicide trial has been named chief justice of the state trial court, replacing Paula M. Carey, who announced her retirement in October, officials said Thursday.

Jeffrey A. Locke, a Superior Court judge since 2001 and chairman of the Massachusetts Sentencing Commission, will take office Jan. 19, a day after Carey’s departure, according to a statement from the trial court.

As chief justice, Locke will oversee Boston’s municipal, district, housing, juvenile, land, probate and family courts, the office of the jury commissioner and the office of the commissioner of probation – a operation that includes 385 judges and 6,300 staff in 97 courthouses, according to the statement.

Locke said he was honored by this nomination.

“Working with the many talented trial court managers, beginning with court administrator John Bello and the dedicated departmental trial court chief justices, I will strive to meet the immediate challenges resulting from the pandemic. and to also build on the improvements put in place by Chief Justice Carey,” Locke said in the statement.

In 2017, Locke presided over the double murder trial of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez in Suffolk Superior Court. Hernandez was acquitted at that trial but died by suicide in prison while serving a life sentence for a previous murder conviction.

Locke served as regional administrative judge for criminal cases in Suffolk County from 2012 to 2015, and for all cases in Plymouth County from 2007 to 2011. He also served on the Supreme Court Judicial Standing Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Trial Court’s Tax Task Force and the Superior Court’s Committee on Best Practices in Sentencing, according to the statement.

Before becoming a judge, he worked in the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and served as an assistant US attorney for eight years, serving as deputy head of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force from 1994 to 1997. He was Norfolk District Attorney from 1997 to 1999 and then commissioner of the Department of Social Services from 1999 to 2001, the statement said.

Locke received his law degree from Boston University and taught at Northeastern School of Law and Boston College Law School, according to the release.

Supreme Court Justice Chief Justice Kimberly S. Budd called Locke “the right person for these times.”

“Judge Locke’s experience, skills and dedication to the mission of the trial court will enable him, together with the court administrator, to effectively lead the trial court during this difficult time,” Budd said. in the press release.

She went on to thank Carey “for his passion and tireless energy as Chief Trial Court Judge for the past eight years.”

“She has worked tirelessly to improve access to justice, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion for all who work and use our courts and to guide the trial court through the pandemic with perseverance. and determination,” Budd said.

Jeremy C. Fox can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.

Elna M. Lemons