by
At issue was the appropriate standards and procedures for requests by the Commonwealth and parties to a care and protection proceeding in the juvenile court for the release of impounded records of the proceeding. Here, Mother and Father were the subjects of a care and protection proceeding, the records from which were impounded, and the defendants in criminal child abuse cases. Father and the Commonwealth sought access to the impounded records in conjunction with the upcoming criminal trials. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) where a party to a care and protection proceeding or the Commonwealth seeks access to impounded records of the proceeding, the requestor must demonstrate that the records should be released under the good cause standard of rule 7 of the Uniform Rules on Impoundment Procedure; and (2) if the good cause standard is met, records may be disclosed for limited, confidential review and use, but the discoverability of the records does not also make them admissible at a subsequent criminal proceeding. View "Care and Protection of M.C." on Justia Law

by
The procedure the board of selectmen of Wayland followed in conducting the 2012 performance review of the town administrator violated the Massachusetts open meeting law, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 30A, 18 and 20(a). In advance of the public meeting where the town administrator’s evaluation was to take place, the chair of the board had circulated to all board members the board members’ individual and composite written evaluations of the town administrator’s performance. After the open meeting, the board made public all written evaluations. A judge of the superior court allowed Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the open meeting law’s exemption to the definition of “deliberation” that allows members of public bodies to distribute to each other “reports or documents that may be discussed at a meeting, provided that no opinion of a member is expressed,” did not apply to the circulation of individual and composite evaluations of the town administrator by the board members prior to the open meeting because the evaluations contained opinions; and (2) thus, the documents constituted a deliberation to which the public did not have access, in violation of the open meeting law. View "Boelter v. Board of Selectmen of Wayland" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Judicial Court held that the single justice of the Court did not err or abuse her discretion in denying Father’s petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. In his petition, Father sought custody of his two minor children, who were in the temporary custody of the Department of Children and Families. The single justice denied the petition without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) to the extent Father sought relief from the recent denials in the probate and family court department of his motion to expedite the custody proceedings, the issue was not before the single justice; and (2) Father was not entitled to any additional review of the denial of his petition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. View "In re Children" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The Supreme Judicial Court held that the single justice of the Court did not err or abuse her discretion in denying Father’s petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. In his petition, Father sought custody of his two minor children, who were in the temporary custody of the Department of Children and Families. The single justice denied the petition without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) to the extent Father sought relief from the recent denials in the probate and family court department of his motion to expedite the custody proceedings, the issue was not before the single justice; and (2) Father was not entitled to any additional review of the denial of his petition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. View "In re Children" on Justia Law

Posted in: Family Law

by
The phrase “anything of value” as it appears in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, 37E(b), the statute criminalizing identity fraud, does not include avoiding criminal prosecution. Defendant pleaded guilty to identity fraud in connection with providing a false name to a police officer during a traffic stop. Defendant filed a motion to withdraw her guilty plea, arguing that there were insufficient facts to establish that she attempted to receive, or received, anything of value within the meaning of section 37E(b). The judge denied the motion. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that the Commonwealth failed to establish that Defendant attempted to obtain something of value pursuant to the statute because the evasion of criminal prosecution is not something of value within the meaning of the statute. View "Commonwealth v. Escobar" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
The phrase “anything of value” as it appears in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, 37E(b), the statute criminalizing identity fraud, does not include avoiding criminal prosecution. Defendant pleaded guilty to identity fraud in connection with providing a false name to a police officer during a traffic stop. Defendant filed a motion to withdraw her guilty plea, arguing that there were insufficient facts to establish that she attempted to receive, or received, anything of value within the meaning of section 37E(b). The judge denied the motion. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that the Commonwealth failed to establish that Defendant attempted to obtain something of value pursuant to the statute because the evasion of criminal prosecution is not something of value within the meaning of the statute. View "Commonwealth v. Escobar" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
Under the circumstances of this case, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 30, 46D did not provide Luis Spencer, who resigned under pressure as Commissioner of Correction, a right to revert to a tenured civil service correction officer position in last held in 1992. Spencer brought a complaint against the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Correction, seeking judicial review of the Commission’s decision concluding that the right to revert to a civil service position applies only to involuntary terminations, not voluntary resignations, and because Spencer voluntarily resigned, no “termination of his service” had occurred within the meaning of section 46D. The superior court affirmed the Commission’s decision. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission’s interpretation of this ambiguous statutory language was reasonable; and (2) the Commission correctly concluded that Spencer’s resignation was voluntary. View "Spencer v. Civil Service Commission" on Justia Law

by
Under the circumstances of this case, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 30, 46D did not provide Luis Spencer, who resigned under pressure as Commissioner of Correction, a right to revert to a tenured civil service correction officer position in last held in 1992. Spencer brought a complaint against the Civil Service Commission and the Department of Correction, seeking judicial review of the Commission’s decision concluding that the right to revert to a civil service position applies only to involuntary terminations, not voluntary resignations, and because Spencer voluntarily resigned, no “termination of his service” had occurred within the meaning of section 46D. The superior court affirmed the Commission’s decision. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission’s interpretation of this ambiguous statutory language was reasonable; and (2) the Commission correctly concluded that Spencer’s resignation was voluntary. View "Spencer v. Civil Service Commission" on Justia Law

by
At issue was whether the sentencing judge erred in resentencing Defendant, who was convicted of certain sex offenses, to include, approximately ten months after he was originally sentenced, the condition that he be subject to global positioning system (GPS) monitoring as a condition of his probation. The Supreme Judicial Court held that because Defendant did not receive actual notice from the sentencing judge at the time of sentencing that GPS monitoring was included as a special condition of Defendant's probation, and because resentencing occurred after the statutory sixty-day period in which an illegal sentence may be corrected, the belated imposition of GPS monitoring must be vacated. View "Commonwealth v. Grundman" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

by
In this case where the Commonwealth filed a petition seeking to commit Petitioner as a sexually dangerous person in 2010 but, after three mistrials, Petitioner remained confined without a finding that he was sexually dangerous, the Supreme Judicial Court held (1) Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123A, the statute governing civil commitment of sexually dangerous persons (SDP), permitted a fourth trial under the circumstances of this case; but (2) Petitioner’s nearly seven-year confinement without a finding of sexual dangerousness violated his substantive due process rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. Accordingly, Petitioner must be given the opportunity to seek supervised release prior to his fourth trial. View "Commonwealth v. G.F." on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law