The state's highest court says court administrators have the right to suspend our very own register of probate and insolvency while they investigate allegations she's doing a crappy job.
The ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court means Register Patricia Campatelli, who is up for re-election this fall, can have nothing to do with her office during the investigation - although she will continue to receive her pay.
Campatelli argued court administrators could not suspend her because the office was created by the state legislature and that branch retained ultimate control over it.
Wrong, the justices said.
In their ruling, the justices considered the legislature's grammar in a 2011 law aimed at giving the judicial system more of a say over its own administration, in particular to the placement of the third and final proviso, which might seem to indicate the law does not apply to registers of probate.
In [the administrators'] view, because the final proviso is in the second sentence of § 9A (xii), and "bears no grammatical relation" to the subsection's first sentence--which contains the grant of authority to "impose discipline," including suspension with pay--the proviso does not restrict the Court Administrator's authority to suspend with pay a register of probate. Campatelli argues that the final proviso applies to the whole of § 9A (xii), and therefore bars the Court Administrator from both transferring and disciplining a register of probate such as herself.