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Suffolk DA slams judge for demanding defendant appear in court despite pandemic

Rollins said defendants are not required to be in court when charges are dropped and that prosecutors do not need a judge’s permission to file a nolle prosequi, the document that formally drops charges.

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins.

Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins on Saturday slammed a Boston Municipal Court judge who she said is putting people’s health and legal rights in jeopardy by trying to demand defendants appear in court despite the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, Rollins’s office filed an emergency petition with a single justice of the Supreme Judicial Court asking for the voiding of an arrest warrant that Judge Mark Summerville issued because a defendant did not show up in court or online for a hearing to dismiss charges in his case, according to a statement from her office.

Just 10 days earlier, following a request from Rollins, Justice Elspeth Cypher vacated an earlier order from Summerville demanding that a different defendant — who lives in Delaware — appear in a Boston courtroom, Rollins’s office said.

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