As previously stated, there is a dearth of available case law regarding emancipation that expound upon the courts' rationales when considering the ``best interest'' standard. Nevertheless, prior LOs have conducted interviews and located cases that do discuss judicial discretion and the ``best interest'' standard.
LO #1 found that judges enjoy wide discretion in determining the best interest of a minor on a case-by-case basis. The Massachusetts Court of Appeals stated in Matta v. Matta, that determining the best interest of a child ``is a subject peculiarly within the discretion of the judge,''41 while the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) stated in E.N.O. v. L.M.M., that, ``the `best interest' standard is somewhat amorphous'' and since the trial judge considers ``the widest range of permissible evidence,'' appellate courts are apparently hesitant to second-guess a judge's discretionary determination.42 These findings suggest that there is no set standard that judges use to make ``best interest'' determinations. A given judge's decision appears to be based on the evidence introduced and, perhaps to a large extent, her own personal beliefs, values, biases, and prejudices. Since the Massachusetts standard is so amorphous, an examination of how this standard is or is not defined by professionals is useful.