Massachusetts High Court Upholds Civil Commitment of Sex Offender against Substantive Due Process Challenge, But Declares Portion of Sex Offender Assessment Tests Now Inadmissible

SUMMARY: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) upheld the civil commitment of a defendant as a Sexually Dangerous Person (SDP) as a result of his diagnosis as having Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). The SJC rejected defendant’s Substantive Due Process claims that ASPD was insufficient to commit him as an SDP, clarifying that ASPD is sufficient proof for sexual dangerousness if there is a nexus between the disorder and the factors

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Reverses Murder Conviction Due to Unexplained Exclusion of Black Person from Jury, Despite Sufficient Evidence Otherwise to Convict

SUMMARY: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) reversed a conviction for murder. Despite finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction, the SJC found that the Superior Court had abused its discretion and created a constitutional structural error by failing to require the prosecution to give an adequate and genuine race-neutral reason for excluding a certain black person from the jury. The SJC also instructed the Superior Court

“Clear and Convincing Evidence” Now the Standard for Sex Offender Classification in Massachusetts

SUMMARY: In an earth-shifting case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) increased the standard of proof necessary for the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) to classify a convicted sex offender. The SJC increased the burden to a “clear and convincing” standard, replacing the older “preponderance of the evidence” standard. CASE NAME: Doe No. 380316 v. Sex Offender Registry Board, 473 Mass. 297 (2015) . DECISION: Unanimous, 7-0, opinion by Justice

Appeals Court Affirms Sex Offense Convictions, Despite Arguments Raised Regarding the First Amendment, Legislative Intent, and Limiting Instructions to the Jury

SUMMARY: The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the defendant’s convictions for child rape, child pornography, and dissemination of matter harmful to minors when a 23-year old man and a 13-14 year old girl had sexual contact both in person and via cell phone. The defendant raised arguments based on legislative intent, First Amendment, and Improper jury instruction grounds, none of which the court found persuasive. The jury was notably limited by

Appeals Court Affirms Peeping Tom’s Guilt, Despite Question of Whether Revised Law Barred his Actions

SUMMARY: In a Peeping Tom-type case, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction for surreptitiously videotaping two unwitting teenage girls under their sundresses, thereby rejecting his argument that the law in question did not proscribe his conduct in public places. CASE NAME: Commonwealth v. Nascimento,  ______Mass. App.Ct.______ (2017), Appeals Court No.16-P-1092, released June 7, 2017. DECISION: Unanimous (3-0), affirming the District Court, in an opinion by Justice Wolohojian. JUSTICES:

In Juror Bias Case, Massachusetts Appeals Court Upholds Verdict

CASE NAME: Commonwealth v. Richard S. Nelson, ____ Mass. App. Ct.____ (2017), Appeals Court No. 16-P-808, Released June 5, 2017. SUMMARY: In the criminal (OUI) case of Commonwealth v. Richard S. Nelson, a unanimous Massachusetts Appeals Court held that a District Court did not abuse its discretion by failing to excuse a juror who admitted to potential bias. The Appeals Court went on to advise lower courts on how to

Massachusetts Appeals Court Reverses Suppression Motion Ruling in Drunk Driving (OUI) Case

CASE NAME and LINK: Commonwealth v. Jamie Baker, ___Mass. App. Ct.____, Appeals Court No. 16-P-783 (May 4, 2017). SUMMARY: The Massachusetts Appeals Court, in a unanimous 3-0 decision written by Associate Justice Granger, reversed the District Court’s granting of a suppression motion in a drunk driving (OUI) case. The District Court had suppressed evidence gathered via a sobriety checkpoint based on the fact that the “written operational plan” had not