Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Governor Baker Makes Two Judicial Nominations

Governor Baker Makes Two Judicial Nominations

BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker nominated Joseph M. Ditkoff as an Associate Justice of the Appeals Court, and Kelli Ryan DiLisio as an Associate Justice of the Juvenile Court. Ditkoff brings extensive knowledge of the law and appellate procedure as well as years of experience in the District Court. DiLisio has spent two decades working with the Juvenile Court as well as trial work in both the Hampden County District and Superior Courts.

“The decades of experience in public service that Joseph Ditkoff and Kelli DiLisio will bring to the respective courts and the people of the Commonwealth make them exceptional candidates,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Both are smart and thoughtful individuals and I look forward to the Governor’s Council’s consideration of their nominations for these important appointments.”

Ditkoff is nominated for the seat vacated by The Honorable Cynthia J. Cohen on the Appeals Court, and DiLisio for the seat vacated by The Honorable Daniel J. Swords on the Juvenile Court.

“I am pleased with the nomination of these two distinguished attorneys who have a deep respect for the rule of law and the role of the judiciary along with the temperament and character to serve the courts exceptionally well should they be confirmed,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I am confident that their skills and knowledge will allow them to serve all those who will appear before them with fairness and justice.”

The Appeals Court is the intermediate appellate court to which most appeals from the Massachusetts Trial Courts and a number of administrative bodies are made.  The Court has one Chief and 24 Associate Justices. Last year, Governor Baker nominated the Honorable Scott L. Kafker to serve as Chief Justice of the Appeals Court.

For more information about the Massachusetts Appeals Court, visit

The Juvenile Court Department is a statewide court with jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters including delinquencies, youthful offender cases, care and protections and children requiring assistance cases. The Juvenile Court has 41 judges, including the Chief Justice, in over 40 locations.

For more information about the Juvenile Court, please visit:

Judicial nominations are subject to the advice and consent of the Governor’s Council. Applicants for judicial openings are reviewed by the Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) and recommended to the governor. Governor Baker established the JNC in February, 2015 pursuant to Executive Order 558, a non-partisan, non-political Commission composed of volunteers from a cross-section of the Commonwealth's diverse population to screen judicial applications. Twenty-one members were later appointed to the JNC in April, 2015.

About Joseph M. Ditkoff

For the last three years, Joseph Ditkoff has served as General Counsel of the District Court advising the Chief Justice, Justices, and Clerks on complex legal and ethical issues, legal developments, legislation, and opioid and other substance use disorder issues. Prior to that, Ditkoff worked in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office as Deputy Legal Counsel to the District Attorney and as an Assistant District Attorney. He began his career as a Judicial Law Clerk for the Honorable Jerry E. Smith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Houston, Texas and then from 1998 to 1999 as Litigation Chairman in the Office of Independent Counsel in Washington, DC. Ditkoff is an Editor and Case Summary Contributor for the Massachusetts Law Review and an elected town meeting member in Brookline. He graduated from Yale College cum laude in 1993 and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1996.

About Kelli Ryan DiLisio

Kelli DiLisio currently serves as First Assistant Clerk-Magistrate for the Franklin/Hampshire Juvenile Court assisting in the management of the court that serves two counties and four sites. From 1997 to 2013 she served as Assistant Clerk-Magistrate it that court. DiLisio began her career serving as an Assistant District Attorney in the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office in Springfield, MA then as Supervising Trial Attorney in the District Court, and Supervisor of the Grand Jury and Intake and Screening Unit from 1986 to 1997. She is a member of the Juvenile Court Mass Courts Committee and the Child Welfare Rules Committee. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1983 and Western New England College School of Law in 1986.

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