Feb
26

Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board Updates Its Regulations

The Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board recently implemented a substantial revision to its long outdated regulations. This revision follows many years of direction and then criticism from the state’s highest courts, including the Supreme Judicial Court in numerous decisions. The new regulations reflect the recent Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in John Doe No. 380316 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, 473 Mass. 297 (2015), in which the court struck down the Sex Offender Registry Board’s use of the preponderance of evidence standard in Massachusetts sex offender classification hearings. Attorney Crouch participated in the Doe No. 3803816 case, arguing for the clear and convincing evidence standard on behalf of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

For those individuals seeking sex offender reclassification or classification in Massachusetts, it is important to be aware of these changes.

As a result of these extensive changes to the Massachusetts sex offender registration law by the Board, as well as by the legislature and the courts, it is important for sex offenders in Massachusetts to consult with a Massachusetts sex offender attorney about legal assistance with their classification and sex offender reclassification matters. If you are interested in speaking with a Massachusetts sex offender attorney please contact Attorney Crouch at (617) 441-5111 or email him to set up a free, initial consultation.

Feb
26

Massachusetts Changes Classification Standard For Sex Offenders

In a major decision that is likely to fundamentally change the classification of sex offenders in Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court recently struck down the Sex Offender Registry Board’s use of the preponderance of evidence standard in classification hearings. In John Doe No. 380316 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, 473 Mass. 297 (2015), the court held that amendments to the sex offender registry law means that risk classifications have far greater consequences than before, such that due process now requires that offender’s risk level be proved by higher clear and convincing evidence standard.

Attorney Crouch participated in this case, filing an amicus brief on behalf of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Since 2013, Massachusetts has changed a number of laws related to the classification and reclassification of Massachusetts sex offenders, especially for Massachusetts Level 2 sex offenders.

For those individuals seeking sex offender reclassification or classification in Massachusetts, it is important to be aware of these changes.

As a result of these extensive changes to the Massachusetts sex offender registration law by both the legislature and the courts, it is important for sex offenders in Massachusetts to consult with a Massachusetts sex offender attorney about legal assistance with their classification and sex offender reclassification matters. If you are interested in speaking with a Massachusetts sex offender attorney please contact Attorney Crouch at (617) 441-5111 or email him to set up a free, initial consultation.

Jan
25

Recent Changes To Massachusetts Reclassification Of Sex Offenders

Since 2013, the Massachusetts has changed a number of laws related to the classification and reclassification of <"a href="http://www.andrewcrouch.com/sex-offender-law/classification-levels-level-1-2-and-3/">Massachusetts sex offenders, especially for <"a href="http://www.andrewcrouch.com/sex-offender-law/classification-levels-level-1-2-and-3/">Massachusetts Level 2 sex offenders.

For those individuals seeking sex offender reclassification in Massachusetts, it is important to be aware of these changes. Where reclassification hearing were once decided entirely on paper by the entire Sex Offender Registry Board, each reclassification request will now result in a hearing to be held in front of three hearing examiners.

As Fox25 Boston and other news outlets have reported, Supreme Judicial Court Justice Ralph Gants ruled in July that pictures of moderate-risk Level 2 sex offenders can be posted on the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board website, as long as they were classified after the law went into effect on July 12.

The battle over publicizing information about Level 2 sex offenders online hit the Supreme Judicial Court Tuesday, where the state’s public defenders sought an injunction barring the state from putting the information on the Internet.

Names, pictures and crimes of high-risk Level 3 sex offenders in Massachusetts are already online, but it’s not so easy to find out about one of the more than 6,000 Level 2 offenders, those deemed a moderate risk to re-offend. That information can be obtained only by physically visiting a police station.

The law to publicize Level 2 offender information was part of the new budget, signed into law this month by Gov. Deval Patrick.

It’s not known how many Level 2 sex offenders have been classified since July 12 and when the Sex Offender Registry Board will put that information online.

Justice Gants referred the case to the full Supreme Judicial Court, which recently heard arguments on whether to place Massachusetts Level 2 sex offenders on the Internet and will decide the case in early 2014.

Of the possible outcomes, the court may decide to place all Level 2 sex offenders online or it may limit Internet dissemination to individuals receiving a classification or reclassification decision after July 12, 2013.

As a result of the legislature’s recent changes to Level 2 sex offenders in Massachusetts, it is important for Level 2 sex offenders in Massachusetts to consult with a Massachusetts sex offender attorney about the possibility of seeking sex offender reclassification.

In light of these changes, many Level 2 sex offenders are seeking reclassification, leading to a backlog of cases. If you are interested in seeking reclassification, please contact Attorney Crouch at (617) 441-5111 or email him to set up a free, initial consultation. To request further information please contact us.

Jan
25

Supreme Judicial Court Considers Whether To Place Level 2 Offenders On The Internet

The Supreme Judicial Court recently heard the case of Michael Moe & others vs. Chair of the Sex Offender Registry Board, SJC-11520, in which the court will decide:

Whether a July, 2013 amendment to the Sex Offender Registry Law — which requires that sex offender registry information of level two sex offenders now be published on the Internet — was intended to apply, and can constitutionally be applied, to persons classified as level two offenders before the effective date of the amendment; and whether the publication on the Internet of level two offender information would violate Federal and State due process, ex post facto, and double jeopardy protections.

Expanding the dissemination of information of Massachusetts Level 2 sex offenders would be devastating for many registered offenders. It would vastly expand the number of Massachusetts sex offenders whose home, work, and educational information is splashed across the Internet and will reduce the utility of the site run by the Sex Offender Registry Board, which presently only lists the highest risk Massachusetts Level 3 sex offenders.

If you are a Level 2 sex offender in Massachusetts and have questions regarding your Massachusetts sex offender classification or wants assistance in reviewing or seeking sex offender reclassification, you need a Boston sex offender attorney. Please contact Attorney Crouch at (617) 441-5111 or email him to set up a free, initial consultation. To request further information please contact us.

Jan
25

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Tells Sex Offender Registry Board To Consider Gender As A Classification Factor

The Associated Press reports that the Supreme Judicial Court overturned the classification of a former escort service manager as a low-level sex offender, finding that the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board should have considered research showing women are less likely than men to commit new sex offenses.

Boston sex offender attorney Andrew Crouch filed an amicus brief in the case on behalf of the Committee for Public Counsel Services and the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

The AP reports that:

The woman, who wasn’t identified in the court’s ruling, pleaded guilty in 2006 to federal charges stemming from her management of an escort service from 2000 to 2002, including one count of transporting a minor to engage in prostitution and one count of sex trafficking of children. She served 17 months in prison while awaiting trial before pleading guilty.

In 2008, the woman requested funds to hire an expert witness, arguing that the board’s guidelines didn’t encompass scientific research on female sex offenders. Her request was rejected by the board.

A hearing officer eventually found that she should be classified as a level one sex offender, the lowest level of offender, considered the least likely to reoffend and the least dangerous.

She appealed that decision, but a Superior Court judge upheld the board’s ruling. The Supreme Judicial Court granted the woman’s request for direct review.

In its ruling Wednesday, the SJC agreed with the woman that the hearing examiner abused his discretion by denying her request for funds for an expert witness who could testify on the subject of how infrequently female sex offenders commit new crimes when compared with men.

“We conclude that it was arbitrary and capricious for (the board) to classify Doe’s risk of re-offense and degree of dangerousness without considering the substantial evidence presented at the hearing concerning the effect of gender on recidivism,” Justice Barbara Lenk wrote for the court.

The court sent the case back to the board.

The woman’s lawyer said the ruling means the board can now either grant the woman’s request for expert witness funds and a new hearing or relieve her of the requirement to register as a sex offender.

“Our position is that she should not have to register as a sex offender at all,” she said.

“She was arrested nearly three years after she had voluntarily ceased the criminal conduct at issue. She had already addressed her substance abuse problems and had already left the prostitution business,” she said.

In a statement, the board said it will comply with the court’s order.

The court also said the board is required to ensure that its guidelines are based on “the available literature.”

“We do not purport to suggest a frequency with which the guidelines must be updated, but caution that guidelines that fail to heed growing scientific consensus in an area may undercut the individualized nature of the hearing to which a sex offender is entitled, an important due process right,” Lenk wrote.

Appellate courts are increasingly rejecting the Board’s classification of Massachusetts sex offenders based on outdated criteria. Such details can be crucial for Massachusetts Level 1 and 2 sex offenders who rely on the Sex Offender Registry Board, to properly classify individuals and differentiate them from Massachusetts Level 3 sex offenders.

If you are a Level 1 or 2 sex offender in Massachusetts and have questions regarding your Massachusetts sex offender classification or wants assistance in reviewing or seeking sex offender reclassification, you need a Boston sex offender attorney. Please contact Attorney Crouch at (617) 441-5111 or email him to set up a free, initial consultation. To request further information please contact us.

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