Judge Phillip Rapoza


Phillip Rapoza is the former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court. He received a B.A.degree magna cum laude from Yale University and a J.D. (juris doctor) degree from Cornell University Law School.

He has served in the legal profession for over  45 years. After 16 years as a prosecutor and then as a defense lawyer, in 1992 he was appointed as a trial judge.

In 1998, he was appointed to the court of appeals and in 2006, he was elevated to the position of Chief Justice, which he held until 2015. He also has been active in the field of international justice.

From 2003 to 2005, he served as an international judge and the coordinator of the Special Panels for Serious Crimes in Timor-Leste, dealing with crimes against humanity and other serious offenses that occurred prior to that country's independence. Since then, he has returned to Timor-Leste on numerous occasions to assist with UN efforts to develop the country's justice sector.

He has also headed a UN Criminal Justice Advisory Team in Haiti and has participated in programs and trainings in Cambodia relating to the ECCC. He recently completed his second five-year term as President of the International Penal and Penitentiary Foundation headquartered in Switzerland.

Chief Justice Rapoza, who is of Portuguese descent, was decorated by the President of Portugal and holds the rank of Commander in the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator. He  also is a recipient of  the Brazilian Medal of International Merit. He has received numerous awards relating to his judicial service and holds several honorary degrees.