Adams lawyer approaches the bench as he's tapped by Baker for district judge seat

Mark J. Pasquariello tapped by Gov. Baker

PITTSFIELD — An Adams attorney has been tapped by Gov. Charlie Baker to serve as the county's newest district court judge.

Mark J. Pasquariello, 53, applied for the position last February.

The nomination, announced Wednesday, now heads to the eight-member Governor's Council, which will make its decision following a yet-to-be scheduled hearing.

"I'm honored to have been nominated by Gov. Baker and look forward to a hearing before the Governor's Council," Pasquariello said Wednesday.

Pasquariello said his wife, Julia Allan, and daughters Madeleine, 23, and Kathryn, 19, are very happy and proud of his nomination.

He said he considers the position one of public service and is looking forward to assuming the mantle, should the council approve his nomination.

Retired District Court Judge Fredric D. Rutberg said he's familiar with Pasquariello's legal work and applauded Baker's decision.

"I think he's an excellent choice. He's intelligent. He's thoughtful and cares a great deal about people; especially those who are less fortunate," he said. Rutberg is president of New England Newspapers Inc., which owns The Eagle.

In a statement, Baker said he was pleased to nominate Pasquariello and described him as a "well-respected Western Massachusetts attorney with both criminal and civil experience."

"I am confident that if confirmed that he will approach the wide variety of cases that will come before him in a fair and balanced manner," he wrote.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito added, "(Pasquariello) is an attorney who has earned the respect of his peers, the bench and the bar and I am confident that he will serve the citizens of the commonwealth well."

The application was reviewed by the 21-member Judicial Nominating Commission, which then passed its recommendation on to Baker.

Pasquariello said he expects the hearing to be scheduled sometime within the next 30 days or so.

If approved by the Governor's Council, Pasquariello said he will undergo a training period, during which he'll spend time hearing cases in courthouses outside of the county before he's permanently assigned to Berkshire County.

He said it remains to be seen whether he will be assigned to one of the three Berkshire County District Courts or will rotate through all three.

Rutberg said, in his experience, the training period lasts about four weeks, during which a mentor will be assigned to the new judge, who will be exposed to a variety of courthouses, including in rural and urban areas. And he'll hear various types of cases in an effort to acclimate to the wide variety of issues that typically come up on any given day in a district court.

Rutberg said the training period is an opportunity for a new justice to get their "sea legs" before being assigned to the courthouses, where they will spend the bulk of their judicial career.

Pasquariello has been a solo practitioner in Adams since 1997, specializing in criminal defense, guardianship, conservatorship matters, mental health litigation, real estate and probate of estates.

He was previously an associate with Grinnell & Dubendorf in Williamstown handling domestic relations matters, criminal trials, and general civil litigation. Before private practice, Pasquariello served in the public sector as a clerk to U.S. District Court Judge Frank Freedman in Springfield and Penobscot County Superior Court Judge Eugene Beaulieu in Maine, and as an assistant Berkshire district attorney.

Pasquariello graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical and materials engineering and received his juris doctorate from Vermont Law School in 1989.

Reach staff writer Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249 or @BobDunn413 on Twitter.


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