BOSTON — Margaret Crateau, the acting clerk magistrate of the Gloucester District Court, said the court serves an important role for the seaside community and discussed her familiarity with domestic violence issues as she seeks to drop the “acting” portion of her title.
A Danvers resident, Crateau told the Governor’s Council on Wednesday she grew up in Salem, the daughter of a nurse and a lawyer, and initially worked as a registered nurse before going to night school at Suffolk University Law School.
Crateau worked for her father and brother’s Salem firm Daly and Daly for a decade before becoming a clerk magistrate at the Gloucester courthouse. She said her chief concern is ensuring the people of Gloucester continue to have access to justice in their city, and said traveling to Salem is unfeasible because it would require defendants, witnesses and others to all ride the same train there and back.
Crateau said judicial and city officials recently gathered to discuss opening a satellite juvenile court in Gloucester.
Referring to discussion of closing the Gloucester court, Judge Ellen Flatley described Crateau as “a rock” and “a steadying influence during this time of turmoil.”
In addition to Flatley, Crateau’s nomination was endorsed by Judge Joseph Jennings, Clerk Magistrate Kevin Finnegan, who is a former Republican state representative from Newburyport, and members of the Gloucester Police Department.
“She has made me a better police officer because she’s good at pointing out things that aren’t up to snuff,” said Gloucester police Detective Steven Mizzone.
None of the six councilors at the hearing expressed any criticism of Crateau, and nearly all of those present said they would support her.
Some members of the eight-person elected council that vets judgeships also used the forum to seek comments on the utility of the Gloucester court. One of the councilors is Eileen Duff, a Gloucester resident.
“The geography hasn’t changed and it’s very important. I mean I grew up on Cape Ann and there were people who never went across the Cut Bridge,” said Flatley.
Crateau, who said she serves on a domestic violence committee, said people in Gloucester will wait a day or two rather than taking care of court business elsewhere.