Adolescent Consultation Services

Kids and Judges Day at Lynn Juvenile Court 2013

June 06, 2013

Associate Justice Amy Nechtem broke new ground with Kids and Judges Day 2013.

Judge Nechtem entered the courtrooom wearing her black robe. She explained to the young women - all peer leaders from Girls Inc. - that the robe reminds the public that the judge is "neutral - a blank slate."

Judge Nechtem described her path from Chelsea, where she grew up, to becoming Associate Justice. She told the girls, "You can do anything you want." She encouraged them to "find a mentor. Find somebody you can look up to - somebody whom you can respect."

One of the girls asked:

“How do you become a judge?”  

Judge Nechtem described the application process.  She said that in Massachusetts judges are appointed rather than elected.  A major benefit is that appointed judges can be more independent.

Another girl asked:

"Has a case ever been so hard that it got to you emotionally?" 

Judge Nechtem said, "Some cases you can't shake - cases with hard decisions." She emphasized that the judge is impartial and makes her decision "based on all the facts." Juvenile judges also preside over adoptions; those cases also get emotional, but the "tears are 'happy' tears."