For about the last year, the Maine SJC has been issuing errata, tidying up their opinions after issuance.
The First Circuit does this, and I’ve never seen that court do anything but fix typos and non-substantive tweaks like that. This is unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, where significant change can occur until the official reporter issues – five years after the decision – and even after that, alterations have been known. See http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/25/us/final-word-on-us-law-isnt-supreme-court-keeps-editing.html?hp&_r=1.
So far, the SJC has been on the First Circuit side of this spectrum, fixing typos etc. The only arguably substantive change I’ve seen through one of their errata sheets was the excision of a sentence in a decision I blogged on last October, Samsara Memorial Trust (Can't we be friends?). The decision was issued in August, and the correction in November (2014 ME 107; Errata sheet).
The paragraph with the excision is the following:
“Finally, that Justice Cole did not make the type of disclosure required by Maine Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 3(E)(3) likewise did not constitute obvious error. Canon 3(E)(3)’s requirement that judges disclose any information that is relevant to the issue of impartiality is a rule of reason. There can be little question that former judicial colleagues may be understood to be friends. Based on the limited record before us, there is simply no competent evidence requiring Justice Cole to make disclosures pursuant to Canon 3(E)(3). Requiring disclosure of such a fact when that fact alone will not lead to recusal serves no practical purpose. Even assuming that some form of friendship exists between Justice Cole and Crowley, that fact is not so relevant to the question of impartiality that Justice Cole’s failure to disclose it deprived the trusts of a fair trial and resulted in a substantial injustice. See In re William S., 2000 ME 34, ¶ 8, 745 A.2d 991; Hathcock v. S. Farm Bureau Cas. Ins. Co., 912 So. 2d 844, 852-53 (Miss. 2005) (interpreting a similar disclosure requirement and concluding that the judge’s failure to disclose was harmless because there was no real basis for disqualification); see also Hewlett-Packard Co. v. Bausch & Lomb Inc., 882 F.2d 1556, 1569 (Fed. Cir. 1989) (finding no error in the trial judge’s failure to disclose that his son was an employee of one of the parties to the case).”
Why was that sentence removed after issuance? Your guess is as good as mine.