Under Massachusetts procedure, a "two-tier" system is utilized for trial of a variety of criminal charges. The initial trial under this system is in a county district court or the Municipal Court of the City of Boston. No jury is available in these courts, but persons who are convicted in them may obtain a de novo trial, with a jury in the appropriate superior court by lodging an "appeal" that court. At the de novo trial, all issues of the law and fact must be determined anew and are not affected by the initial disposition. In effect, the taking of the appeal vacates the district or municipal court judgement, leaving the defendant in the position of defendants in other States which require the prosecution to present its proof before a jury.
Rehnquist, W.H. Justice Rehnquist, Per Curiam, Costarelli v. Massachusetts, 421 U.S. 193 (1975). Box 367, Harry A. Blackmun Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.