MA: Supreme Court Rules Amended Sex Offender Registration Law Ex Post Facto

On July 12, 2013, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a bill requiring the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) to amend registry requirements for defendants classified as level two and level three sex offenders, under G.L. c.6, §§ 178D and 178K. Level two offenders are deemed only a moderate risk for reoffending, and prior to the new law, the Board was barred from publishing those offenders’ registry information online.

Lawmakers deliberately sought to change that policy, and enacted a law that allowed the Board to retroactively post on the Internet information about level two sex offenders.

The move promptly resulted in a class-action suit on behalf of level two sex offenders in Massachusetts, who claimed the law constituted an ex post facto violation. On July 5, 2013, even before the governor had signed the bill into law, the plaintiffs filed a brief requesting class certification, declaratory judgment and injunctive relief enjoining the SORB from publishing registry information about level two sex offenders online.

Lower courts sided with lawmakers, but the state Supreme Court reversed the previous rulings, stating, “We conclude that the amendments [to the bill] are retroactive … but that such retroactive application would violate State constitutional due process.” Full Article

Related posts

Notify of

We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...


  1. Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  2. Please keep the tone of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  3. Swear words should be starred out such as f*k and s*t
  4. Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  5. Please refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  6. Please take personal conversations off this forum.
  7. We will not publish any comments advocating for violent or any illegal action.
  8. We cannot connect participants privately - feel free to leave your contact info here. You may want to create a new / free, readily available email address.
  9. Please refrain from copying and pasting repetitive and lengthy amounts of text.
  10. Please do not post in all Caps.
  11. If you wish to link to a serious and relevant media article, legitimate advocacy group or other pertinent web site / document, please provide the full link. No abbreviated / obfuscated links. Posts that include a URL may take considerably longer to be approved.
  12. We suggest to compose lengthy comments in a desktop text editor and copy and paste them into the comment form
  13. We will not publish any posts containing any names not mentioned in the original article.
  14. Please choose a short user name that does not contain links to other web sites or identify real people
  15. Please do not solicit funds
  16. If you use any abbreviation such as Failure To Register (FTR), or any others, the first time you use it please expand it for new people to better understand.
  17. All commenters are required to provide a real email address where we can contact them.  It will not be displayed on the site.
  18. Please send any input regarding moderation or other website issues via email to moderator [at] all4consolaws [dot] org
  19. We no longer post articles about arrests or accusations, only selected convictions. If your comment contains a link to an arrest or accusation article we will not approve your comment.
ACSOL, including but not limited to its board members and agents, does not provide legal advice on this website.  In addition, ACSOL warns that those who provide comments on this website may or may not be legal professionals on whose advice one can reasonably rely.  

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Finally, a high court specifically recognizes the Ex Post Facto nature of a Registry’s application.

Courage is the rare commodity in all branches at this time as evidenced by the unfettered proliferation of these draconian laws which inherently violate the rights of registrants.

Sounds like those unfortunate souls that find themselves on the judiciary without the courage to plow through these basic constitutional matters by themselves should heed the lessons herein and the courage on display that reveals the inconvenient truth, and thus act on a nationwide basis.

This will not only be good for registrants but for the country at large as it brings us back to the tenets of a free society that limits punishment to those instruments available at the time of sentencing and simply nothing beyond unless in extraordinary cases.

So why wouldn’t those violations of retroactive and due process apply here in after the fact putting information online and some not.