Jay Blitzman

Lecturer on Law

Fall Term 2021 and Winter Term 2022

Biography

The Hon. Jay D. Blitzman, First Justice-Massachusetts Juvenile Court, Middlesex Division, Ret.

Prior to his judicial appointment, Judge Blitzman was a founder and the first director of the Roxbury Youth Advocacy Project, a community based interdisciplinary public defender unit that created the basis for the development of a statewide department. Jay also co-founded Citizen’s for Juvenile Justice (CfJJ) and serves on their advisory committee. He is a founder of Massachusetts Bar Association Juvenile and Child Welfare Section and was the first recipient of the MBA Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Award. Jay was a co-founder of Our RJ, a school and pre-arraignment restorative justice initiative. Jay also serves on the advisory committee of UTEC in Lowell, MA., and is an Access To Justice Fellow for More Than Words (MTW), based in metropolitan Boston and serving adolescents, Jay was a member of the BBA Steering Committee on the Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline. He has been a member of the ABA Commission on Youth at Risk was appointed as the ABA Advisor to the Criminalization of Student Discipline Committee of the Uniform Law Committee (ULL). Jay is the liaison of the ABA Civil Rights and Social Justice Section to the Commission on Youth at Risk.

Judge Blitzman publishes and presents regularly on a wide array of issues, including racial and ethnic equity in all contexts and adolescent development. He teaches trial advocacy at Harvard Law School’s Trial Advocacy Workshop and Introduction to Trial Advocacy for first year students, juvenile law at Northeastern University School of law, and a course on the cradle to prison pipeline at Boston College School of Law. Judge Blitzman chairs the juvenile committee of Northeastern University Law’s Criminal Justice Reform Group and is a faculty member of the Center for Law Brain and Behavior (Harvard-Mass. General Hospital), focusing on juvenile and emerging adult issues. He is a member of the National Juvenile Defender Center Judicial Advisory Council and has co-authored bench cards on honoring Gault, adolescent development, racial and ethnic bias, sexual orientation and gender, fines & fees & bail, and collateral consequences. In 2018 Judge Blitzman was the first recipient of the Massachusetts Bar Association Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare award and in 2019 he was honored ABA Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award. The Massachusetts public defender agency annual presents the Jay D. Blitzman Youth Advocacy Award. Jay is also a Boston University Center on Antiracism Research Affiliate.

Jay consults on juvenile, criminal and child welfare issues, mentors attorneys and has worked on indigent defense projects for the Sixth Amendment Center (6AC).

Significant presentations include:

  • Why Race Matters, Presenter, National Juvenile Defender Center (June 2021)
  • Positive Youth Development, Moderator and Presenter, Massachusetts Bar Association (January 2021)
  • Deconstructing The Cradle to Prison Pipeline: Unintended Consequences? (November 2012, Franklin Pierce Law School, University of New Hampshire
  • Adolescent Brain Development and Juvenile Justice, (Harvard, Feb. 2020, with Robert Kinscherff)
  • Bail, Costs, and Fees, (Feb. 2020, Annual Delaware Family Court Conference)
  • Empowering Youth, Keynote, Annual Juvenile and Child Welfare Conference, Boston 2019- Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)
  • Abolish Juvenile Solitary Confinement, ABA Webinar (Moderator 2019); Massachusetts Transgender People In The Massachusetts Trial Court, Mandatory on Line Training for All Court Employees- Planner and Presenter (2018)
  • Gault at 50, (Keynote, Massachusetts Bar Association, 2017)
  • What’s Age Got To Do With It?, Adolescent Development (National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ, N.Y.C. 2017)
  • Community Based Alternatives for Schools and Police, (Keynote, Worcester, MA 2017)
  • The Theory and Scope of Juvenile Justice- Debating the future of the juvenile court before the National Academy of Sciences National Resource Council (Washington D.C. 1999)
  • Are We Re-Criminalizing Status Offense Conduct? Keynote (Annual Conn. Juvenile Court Conference, Oct. 2004)
  • Juvenile Justice and The Adolescent Brain, Presenter MGH Center on Law Brain and Behavior (CLBB- Harvard Medical School 2015)
  • The Future of Indigent Defense (DOJ, Washington D.C. 2000)
  • A Call To Action, Judicial member of ABA panel moderated by Charles Ogletree; Justice” (D.C. 2008), and New Paradigms in Juvenile Justice, (Boston 2009); Cradle/School to Prison Pipeline; “Keeping Kids In School and Out of Court” (N.Y.C. 2014)
  • Deconstructing The Cradle-to-Prison-Pipeline, ABA-American Psychological Association conference, (D.C. 2014)
  • Restorative Justice and the School to Prison Pipeline (Annual JDAI Conference (Philadelphia, June 2014)
  • Disrupting The Cradle to Prison Pipeline (Keynote at the annual Massachusetts Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Conference, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education,, Boston 2014)
  • Adolescent Development and Juvenile Practice, (ABA Annual Conference, Boston 2014)
  • Re-Thinking Juvenile Justice (Moderator, ABA Webinars (June 2015)
  • Adolescent Brain Development: Youth Status and Juvenile Justice, Presenter, with Leah Somerville, Annual (Conference of Chief Justices and State Court Administrators, Omaha, Nebraska July 2015)
  • Alternatives to the School to Prison Pipeline, (Civil Rights Unit of U.S. Attorney, Harvard School of Education, Cambridge, 2016)
  • Restorative Justice, Presenter, Lives In The Balance Conference (Portland, Maine 2016)
  • Positive School Climates- Keeping Kids In School, Keynote (Clark University, MA, 2016); NCFJCJ Schools Pathways to Juvenile Justice, Atlanta, 2016
  • Bi-Annual Keynote presentations for Middlesex Partnership for Youth Truancy Prevention Conference.
  • Judge Blitzman also served as consultant for the MacArthur Foundation and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and testified before the Massachusetts Access to Justice Commission, and Presidential National Rape Elimination Commission. Annual Massachusetts Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Conferences (Planning Committee and Presenter for annual Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) (1996- present)

Committee Appointments and Membership Include:

  • ABA Advisory Member to Uniform Law Commission (ULC) on The Criminalization of School Discipline (Current)
  • ABA Commission on Youth At Risk (Committee Member (Current)
  • Boston Bar Association Steering Committee: Cradle to Prison Pipeline
  • Judicial Advisory Council- National Juvenile Defender Center; contributor to national juvenile bench cards on variety of topics (access to counsel; adolescent development; bail, fines, fees; racial and ethnic disparities and bias; sexual orientation, gender identification and expression; this activity is current, and cards are approved by National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ)
  • Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) Committee on Judicial Ethics
  • SJC Committee on Rules of Criminal Responsibility
  • SJC Study Group on Judicial Conduct
  • SJC Study Group on Eyewitness Identification
  • SJC Standing Committee on Eyewitness Identification (Current)
  • SJC Trial Court Jury Advisory Committee
  • Massachusetts Trial Court Committee on Fines, Fees, and Assessments
  • Chair and Contributor: Massachusetts Juvenile Court Best Dispositional Sentencing Practices Committee, Report and Bench Card
  • Juvenile Court Raise the Age Study Committee
  • Juvenile Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee
  • Designated Juvenile Court Mentor (Current)
  • ABA Criminal Justice and Juvenile Justice Committees (Current)
  • MBA Juvenile and Child Welfare Section Council (Current)
  • Boston Bar Association Criminal Justice and Juvenile Justice Committees
  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges
  • ABA and MBA Bar Association Foundation Member

Board and Advisory Board Appointments:

  • Our Restorative Justice Our RJ) Advisory Board; a co-founder and former Board Member of Our RJ, a diversionary restorative justice program in Middlesex County, MA.
  • Citizens for Juvenile Justice; (CfJJ) Advisory Board; Co-Founder and Advisory Board Member.
  • UTEC- Advisory Board Member
  • Lowell School Strategic Plan- Former Advisory Board Member
  • RISE Cambridge Health Alliance Initiative- Former Advisory Board Memberli>
  • Light of Cambodian Children- former Board Member
  • Massachusetts Children’s Trust- former Board Member

Teaching Appointments:

  • Center on Law Brain and Behavior Faculty, Massachusetts General Hospital (Current)
  • Northeastern University School of Law: Juvenile Courts (Current)
  • Harvard Law School Trial Advocacy Workshop Team Leader (Current)
  • Boston College Law School- Deconstructing-The Cradle to Prison Pipeline (Current)
  • Boston University School of Law- Community Courts
  • Suffolk Law School- Trial Advocacy and Criminal Practice
  • University of Massachusetts (Lowell) School of Criminology and Justice Studies (Juvenile Justice)

Awards Include:

  • Livingston Hall Juvenile Justice Award (ABA Criminal Justice Section 2019)
  • Rebecca Pries Indispensable Friend Award- Middlesex Juvenile Court Clinic (Adolescent Consultation Services 2019).
  • Multi-Systemic Services (MST) Whatever It Takes All-Star (National MST Services Award 2019)
  • State Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Appreciation Award (2019)
  • Massachusetts Bar Association Juvenile Justice and Child Welfare Award (first recipient, 2019)
  • Lowell 100 Honoree- International Institute of New England for supporting immigrant and refugee populations in Lowell, MA (2019)
  • Servant of Justice Award (Greater Lowell Bar Association 2016).
  • Adolescent Consultation Services Award (Middlesex Juvenile Court Clinic 2015)
  • Massachusetts Juvenile Detention Alternative Initiative Special Recognition Award (2013)
  • Justice Leo Lydon Award (Massachusetts Juvenile Bar Association 2009)
  • Boston Bar Association John Brooks Public Service Award
  • Trial Court Innovation Grant to Develop Diversionary Restorative Justice Program in Middlesex County (2014).
  • National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges School Pathways to Juvenile Justice Initiative (In 2013, Middlesex County Juvenile Court was one of sixteen sites selected to participate in the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges School Pathways to Juvenile Court Initiative).
  • Boston Inns of Court Best Actor Oscar (2007-2008)
  • Judge Blitzman is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild, Actor’s Equity, and has served as the writer’s consultant on the television series The Trials of Rosie O’Neil, and Judging Amy.
  • The Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS- the state’s public defender agency) annually presents the Jay D. Blitzman Youth Advocacy Award.

Education:

  • Union College, B.A. 1971
  • Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa
  • London School of Economics- Junior Year
  • Boston College Law School, J.D. 1974
  • Areas of Interest

    Jay Blitzman, Honoring Chief Justice Ralph Gants, 65 Bos. Bar J. (Winter 2021).
    Categories:
    Legal Profession
    Sub-Categories:
    Biography & Tribute
    Type: Article
    Abstract
    Celebrating the visionary legacy of Chief Justice Ralph Gants demands consideration of his commitment to access to justice and achieving racial and ethnic equity, particularly for marginalized communities. The Chief understood the need to address issues involving youth through a developmentally appropriate lens and the reality that many children and families are affected or involved in both child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
    Jay Blitzman, Shutting Down The-School-to-Prison-Pipeline, 47 Hum. Rts., no. 1 at 20 (2021).
    Categories:
    Family Law
    Sub-Categories:
    Children's Law & Welfare
    Type: Article
    Jay D. Blitzman & Steven F. Kreager, Transparency and Fairness: Open the Doors, 102 Mass. L. Rev. 38 (2021).
    Categories:
    Family Law
    ,
    Civil Practice & Procedure
    ,
    Criminal Law & Procedure
    Sub-Categories:
    Children's Law & Welfare
    Type: Article
    Abstract
    In addressing the evolving narrative regarding lifting the veil of secrecy that has traditionally characterized closed child welfare and juvenile delinquency proceedings, this article argues that greater transparency is a necessary component in realizing the therapeutic role of fundamental fairness and due process and is consistent with the aspirational goals of the Supreme Court of the United States in In Re Gault. In supporting this proposition, this article discusses the evolution of the juvenile court system and the growth of support for open court sessions, an issue that Judge Jay D. Blitzman (ret.) and others have addressed previously. While not yet a tsunami, it appears there is certainly a trend toward greater transparency.
    Jay Blitzman, We Need Truth and Reconciliation, CommonWealth (Sept. 27, 2020), https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/we-need-truth-and-reconciliation/.
    Categories:
    Family Law
    ,
    Discrimination & Civil Rights
    ,
    Criminal Law & Procedure
    Sub-Categories:
    Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement
    ,
    Sentencing & Punishment
    ,
    Race & Ethnicity
    ,
    Children's Law & Welfare
    Type: Other
    Abstract
    Massachusetts is not immune from the pandemic of systemic racism. Recent reports document that racial and ethnic disparities persist at every level of our juvenile and criminal systems. In November 2019, the Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board noted that, in spite of decreases in arraignment, racial and ethnic disparities persist at every systemic level and may actually be increasing. On September 9, 2020, Harvard’s Criminal Justice Policy Program released a study, commissioned four years ago by Chief Justice Ralph Gants, which noted that black and Latinx defendants routinely face more serious charges and serve longer sentences than white defendants. However, there has been a defensiveness about analyzing and addressing the scope of the problem, which has been reflected in a lack of transparency and the will to accurately gather the data.
    Jay D. Blitzman, Seize The Opportunity For Expungement, CommonWealth Mag. (July 20, 2020).
    Categories:
    Discrimination & Civil Rights
    ,
    Criminal Law & Procedure
    ,
    Legal Profession
    ,
    Family Law
    ,
    Government & Politics
    Sub-Categories:
    Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement
    ,
    Race & Ethnicity
    ,
    Children's Law & Welfare
    ,
    State & Local Government
    ,
    Legal Reform
    Type: Other
    Jay D. Blitzman, Justice for Some: A Tale of Two Americas, 26 Juv. Just. Update, July 2020, at 5.
    Categories:
    Criminal Law & Procedure
    ,
    Family Law
    ,
    Discrimination & Civil Rights
    ,
    Legal Profession
    Sub-Categories:
    Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement
    ,
    Discrimination
    ,
    Poverty Law
    ,
    Race & Ethnicity
    ,
    Children's Law & Welfare
    ,
    Legal Reform
    Type: Article
    Jay D. Blitzman, It’s Time To Raise The Age, CommonWealth Mag. (June 13, 2020).
    Categories:
    Criminal Law & Procedure
    ,
    Discrimination & Civil Rights
    ,
    Family Law
    ,
    Government & Politics
    ,
    Legal Profession
    Sub-Categories:
    Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement
    ,
    Race & Ethnicity
    ,
    Children's Law & Welfare
    ,
    State & Local Government
    ,
    Legal Reform
    Type: Other
    Jay D. Blitzman, Police Aren’t Needed In Schools, CommonWealth Mag. (June 10, 2020).
    Categories:
    Criminal Law & Procedure
    ,
    Family Law
    Sub-Categories:
    Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement
    ,
    Children's Law & Welfare
    ,
    Education Law
    Type: Other
    Jay D. Blitzman, Where You Live Matters, CommonWealth Mag. (May 23, 2020).
    Categories:
    Discrimination & Civil Rights
    ,
    Government & Politics
    Sub-Categories:
    Poverty Law
    ,
    Race & Ethnicity
    ,
    Housing Law
    ,
    Public Interest Law
    ,
    State & Local Government
    Type: Other
    Jay Blitzman, Deconstructing the School-to-Prison Pipeline, 62 Bos. Bar J. (Special Edition 2018).
    Categories:
    Family Law
    Sub-Categories:
    Children's Law & Welfare
    Type: Article
    Abstract
    The Supreme Court has abolished the juvenile death penalty, mandatory juvenile life without parole, and in acknowledging the reality of adolescent brain development, has outlined a regime of proportional accountability. Children are constitutionally different than adults. Research has demonstrated that reducing detention also reduces recidivism by promoting the socially connective tissue of family, school, and community that is vital to positive youth development. We can protect public safety at less cost. Youth who do not graduate from high school are eight times more likely to later be arrested and it costs three to five times more to incarcerate than to pay for public education.

    Education History

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