The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Council, the state’s supreme court, has ruled in favor of registrants who were trying either to terminate their duty to register or to change the tier level on which they were situated. In doing so, the Court recognized that there are significant challenges facing registrants including stigma and legal restrictions that make it more difficult to find stable housing or employment. The Court also recognized that the effects of registration are “continuing, intrusive, and humiliating” and could lead to threats of physical harm. Further, the Court recognized that dissemination of a registrant’s personal information and photo on the internet magnifies these effects.
“The Court’s rulings in these two cases are truly monumental,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “They speak the truth that so many courts have avoided.”
In addition to its recognition that the requirement to register causes harm to registrants, the Court determined that registrants have a right to counsel in court hearings when they seek either to have their requirement to register terminated or reclassification to a lower tier. The Court also determined that the government, not the registrant, bears the burden of proving that a registrant poses a current risk of re-offense as well as a degree of dangerousness by “clear and convincing” evidence.
“This is a tougher standard than the ordinary preponderance of evidence applied in ordinary civil cases,” stated ACSOL Board Member and recently retired law professor Ira Ellman.
In its decision, the Court noted that over classification of registrants into higher than necessary tiers “strains public resources.” In the State of Massachusetts, a total of 38 factors are considered in order to determine whether a registrant is required to continue registering. By comparison, the widely used Static-99 uses only 10 factors.
Both of the Court’s decisions were issued on the same day. Separate links to both cases follows below.
Doe v. Sex Ofndr Reg Board – Mass 2018 (terminating registration)
Doe v. Sex Ofndr Reg Board – reclassif – Mass – 2018
MA: Court: Board needs proof in sex offender reclassification
Reading this brought tears to my eyes. Someone actually acknowledging what we go through is huge!
Finally some sanity in an insane situation..
I haven’t even read these yet but it appears everything I have been saying for few years now. Finally people are bringing real suits. and to think it doesn’t even sound like the smith decision and Kennedy’s language or recidividm rates were even mentioned. Just a guess since i haven’t read this yet. I think the court is going to be upset in my case that lays it all out. I like the following right off. I guess they made the point about current photo and addresses. Though they may have not stated it i think those are protected liberty interest.
And even more important is the despicable harm imposed on the innocent children of registrants who’s parent’s manner and behavior indicates they are no longer a threat.
These are great! Finally, courts are beginning to publically acknowledge the obvious and state the truth!!
Could someone clue me in if this was a Massachusetts State Court Decision or a Case within the 1st Circuit?
FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you MA
How do less “risk factors” automatically make a “test” more credible? People are a lot more complicated than 10 — or even 38 — questions.
My question is whether the 38 risk factors exaggerate less than how the 10 Static-99 “risk factors” exaggerated 500% to 600% for California SVPs. Also, were the 38 risk factors validated by a study (or studies) not enveloped in conflicts of interests, business interests, as well as top “secret” data? Because with the Static-99 and Static-99R, the “studies,” unfortunately, are plagued with conflicts of interests, special interests — and are ultimately protected by the excuse of “trade secret.” With the 38 risk factors, perhaps there was a validation that was less engulfed in corruption.
Also, note that MA does not give a blanket Tier 3 classification to those that score “high” on its — or any — risk assessment. In MA’s law, the risk assessment boards are required to take the totality of evidence into account — including risk assesment AND expert testimony. Not that implementing an assessment board into California Tiered Registry would help — as doing so would only grow a bureaucratic monster which would only help keep/grow the registry. But maybe the point is that Minority Report pseudo “science” should have no place outside of RSO “treatment” triage.
Wow and I have barely started reading this. Exactly what i have been saying, it is on them to prove by “clear and convincing evidence,” my verbatim statement. Matter of fact I say they have to provide this hearing in front of a jury and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person presents more than jut a risk even, but a imminent risk. This is awesome so far….
Pro Se even… Man what a boast…Thank you Janice and team for posting this so quickly. This is exactly what we need, more decisions like this. And apparently MA already requires classification hearings with all the safeguards but this just puts the burden of proof back where it belongs, on the frigging militant gov. Oh soooo beautifully articulated. I bet the judge in my Pro Se case is going to be looking at these other cases going hmmm, giving pause. Especially since CA has no classification hearings at all not even in this wanna be new tiered bill. It is a doomed system and the registry is going down without them proving” by clear and convincing evidence standards” I still love it verbatim what I have stated for years my friends. Beautiful…..
I cannot get over the statement “by clear and convincing evidence” and the current photo and current address statements. Those are protected liberty interest just as I have been saying. This court stated everything our collaboration has been stating in my case. Like I stated they did not even touch on the Smith lies and legislative deceit or the solicitor general’s bogus claims used in McKlune v Lile, or the recidivism reports or issues…..This is really something with the way the court took control of the Pro Se case and even though the guy passed away they continued the case regardless…….Courts are fed up and when the get a real argument in front of them each and everyone of them have struck these laws down. It is a shame it takes a Pro Se to do it with all the supposed civil rights groups out there but hey, like I stated it apparently is going to take hot blooded Americans who are willing to fight regardless to end this crap….Tag I am it in CA…..
I love how they say ten years is to long to wait as well…How many things can change in those ten years that could change a persons risk and status.
Somebody please pinch me!!!
Gotta love MA! If there’s ONE thing Massachusetts has been a pioneer in, it’s progressive/forward thinking.
Wow, compare Massachusetts to pre-historic dinosaur states like Florida. Florida’s ass-backwards thinking isn’t even on the MAP, that’s how far-off they are.
I am having trouble finding the text of the MA tiered registry bill. What’s the link for that?
You know if we can get Congress to wake up and realize that the S.O.R has been found unconstitutional in some of our country’s top courts and the Millions of dollars it takes to operate and defend the S.O.R then congress could possibly gain support to rewrite the registry to withstand the test of constitutional laws! Just my thoughts!
I’m wondering the same thing too. If the ‘widely used’ Static-99 scam only uses 10 risk factors, then people are pretty limited in what they can change moving forward. You can’t do much to improve yourself so that any of the 10 risk factors go down. At least Massachusetts’ risk assessment takes risk factors that people can change present… and moving forward. You aren’t locked in the past with Massachusetts’ risk assessment; but with the Static scam—you are literally locked in your Static past!
Either way I agree… do away with minority report bullshit altogether. We all know it’s junk science.
Harm to one’s name and reputation is a liberty interest and always was despite what the court determined in Alaska v Doe.
Good name in man and woman, dear my Lord. Is the immediate jewel of their souls; He who steal my purse steals trash, is something and nothing, twas mine, tis his, and has been slave to thousands. But he that flitches from me my good name, robs me of that which not enriches him and makes me poor indeed. -W. Shakespeare – Othello
Many countries have L.E. registries and, but for what they consider severe offenses, such as rape and molestation. The registries are confidential and the offender is allowed to live their lives with minimal interference.
The U.S. could easily adopt this policy with about the same fanfare as the I.M.L. got. , which very few people, registrant or not, even are aware of. But that would mean admitting that the system created doesn’t work, and if there is one thing that we should all have become aware of, the American politician has the biggest ego on earth, and can never admit they are ever wrong.
need to find a lawyer who can help me off the list in ma. over twenty five yrs. on. no new charges. alcohol free for 26 yrs. 70 yrs.old