Theresa Bisenius was nominated as an Associate Justice of the Essex Probate and Family Court.
1992 to Present
Theresa A. Bisenius, Attorney at Law, Danvers, Massachusetts
Sole practitioner in general practice with emphasis on Domestic Relations and Family Law and District Court Criminal Defense. Representing men and women in Divorce, post-Divorce and Paternity actions in the Probate & Family Court. Representing defendants in a variety ofcriminal matters in the District Court. Solely responsible for all aspects of representation from client intake, discovery, pre-trial motions, settlement negotiations and trial. Singularly responsible for case management, maintaining calendars and managing case expenses. Experienced in arbitration hearings and trials in Probate and Family, District and Superior Court.
1987 to 1992
Law Office of Joseph Machera, Revere, Massachusetts
Associate in small, general practice firrn. Independently responsible for a wide variety of cases including representing plaintiffs in tort claims, defendants in criminal matters, workers compensation claims and domestic relations. Extensive experience in civil procedure, discovery, settlement negotiations and civil trials.
Suffolk University Law School, Boston, Massachusetts
Juris Doctor, June 1 986
Student Attorney (SJC Rule 3:03), January 1986 — June 1986
Boston College, Boston, Massach.usetts
Bachelor of Arts in English and. Psychology, 1 982 cum laude
Attorney Bisenius donated to Robert DeLeo's campaign in 2009.
Attorney Bisenisus' name appears on three docketed appeals, the last in 1996.
The council met with Attorney Bisenius on April 11. Bisenius is applying for a position on the Probate and Family Court bench.
Speaking for the nominee were
Honorable Mary Anne Sahagian 1st Justice Essex Probate and Family Court
Peter Kajko, Esq Kajo, Weisman, Colasanti & Stein, LLP
Benita Carey Administrative Assistant United States Attorney’s Office
Elizabeth O’Connor Kline, Gardner and O’Connor
Councilors present were:
Charles Oliver Cipollini
Marilyn M. Petitto Devaney
Witnesses described the nominee as a hard working, fair minded and a fully engaged attorney. It was noted that she has worked as a volunteer conciliator. She was described as having an appropriate demeanor for a judge of the court (a comment that is made about most candidates).
One witness described the courts as helping children who are caught up with the problems of their parents, this was countered by the view that the courts are more often the source of a family's problems, not the solution.
It was pointed out that the Probate and Family Courts has a bias against shared physical custody. It was pointed out that the courts own reports show that over 90% of the cases end up with sole physical custody, where one parent does not have custody of their children.
The council was reminded that the courts are supposed to act in the best interest of the children, but their bias against shared physical custody prevents them for doing that.
For her part Attorney Bisenius shared that she had two children and lived on the North Shore.
She has practiced criminal law, personal injury and has focused on domestic relations in recent years.
Attorney Bisenius has tried cases in the Superior, District and Probate Courts.
She stated that cases should be decided on the law, that a judge should convey the basic facts used in making a decision so the decision can be reasonable understood. She expressed her belief that orders are easier to follow when the rationale for them is made clear.
It was stated that on her Judicial Nominating Commission application she expressed a desire to help people as a reason for wanting to become a judge. She was asked what she meant by this statement.
She claimed that the courts help people, in particular children, however she made no attempt to explain her reasons for this belief, nor give any examples.
She stated that the court's tend to get it right, but she did not clarify whether she felt the current situation was right (where there is bias against shared parenting), or that the process by which the court evolves would eventually get it right (litigants being treated fairly without bias).
She described her practice of interviewing potential clients before taking on a case. According to what she said it appeared that she would make her own determination as to whether a client should retain custody of their children. She provided no explanation as to why a parent should lose custody of their own children, or how she would treat a potential client if she felt they should not retain custody of their children.
She was asked about her representation of clients that involved 209a restraining orders. She stated that she would never allow a client to use a 209a order to get a leg up in a divorce, and that she never recommended using this tack.
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