Fortier nominated as Orange District Court clerk magistrate

Recorder Staff
Published: 3/22/2018 9:41:08 PM

ORANGE — Gov. Charlie Baker has nominated Joella E. Fortier to be clerk magistrate at Orange District Court.

Attorney Fortier, 41, of Belchertown, has served at the Orange District Court for the last five years in several different roles, including assistant clerk magistrate and first assistant clerk magistrate.

Fortier has also been acting clerk magistrate in Orange since January 2017, following former Clerk Magistrate Laurie Dornig’s retirement.

“Attorney Fortier is a distinguished lawyer whose years of experience will allow her to continue to serve western Massachusetts,” said Baker in a statement.

“I am pleased to submit her name to the Governor’s Council for their advice and consent,” he added.

Applicants to judicial openings in Massachusetts are recommended to the governor by the Judicial Nominating Commission, a non-partisan commission of 21 volunteers established by Baker in February 2015 with an executive order.

The governor’s nomination of Fortier is now subject to review by the Governor’s Council.

Clerk magistrates in Massachusetts serve the roles of clerk — an officer of the court who accepts legal papers like motions and pleadings, and maintains court records — and magistrate — a public officer with limited judicial power compared to a judge.

If appointed, Fortier will serve these roles in Orange District Court, one of 62 locations in the District Court of Massachusetts. The District Court hears criminal, civil, housing, mental health and juvenile cases, in addition to other types, and District Court criminal jurisdiction covers all felonies punishable by sentences of up to five years, with some exceptions.

“For years, the residents of the Commonwealth have benefited from Attorney Fortier’s commitment and legal expertise,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “I am confident that, if confirmed, she will serve the judges, lawyers, and litigants in the Orange District Court well.”

Before working in Orange, Fortier was a disability claim examiner at MassMutual Financial Group.

Early in her legal career, Fortier was a judicial law clerk in the state’s Juvenile Court.

Fortier also served as an assistant district attorney and attorney-in-charge for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, where she dealt with criminal offenses in Hampshire and Franklin Counties in the areas of child abuse, domestic abuse, violent crime, narcotics and motor vehicle offenses.

In addition, Fortier has worked as an assistant director of admissions at Western New England College School of Law in Springfield, where she received her Juris Doctorate. She received her Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H..


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