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Commonwealth v. Lastowski (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-001-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12280   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  AARON A. LASTOWSKI.       Franklin.     October 3, 2017. – January 4, 2018.   Present (Sitting at Greenfield):  Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.     Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act.  Constitutional Law, Sex offender, Plea, Assistance of counsel.  Practice, Criminal, Plea, Assistance of counsel.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Greenfield Division of the District Court Department on May 13, 2013.   A motion to withdraw pleas of guilty, filed on May 14, 2015, was heard by William F. Mazanec, III, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Edward Gauthier for the defendant. Cynthia M. Von Flatern, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     KAFKER, J.  In 2014, the defendant pleaded guilty to three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person  age fourteen or older.  One year later, the defendant moved to withdraw his guilty pleas, contending that plea counsel was constitutionally ineffective because plea counsel failed to advise him of the duty to register as a sex offender, and its consequences, or explain that he might have sought a continuance without a finding.  A judge in the District Court, who had also been the plea judge, denied the defendant’s motion, finding the defendant’s affidavit and assertions not credible. The defendant appealed from the denial of his motion, and we granted his motion for direct appellate review.  We conclude that the motion judge correctly determined that the defendant did not satisfy the prejudice requirement of the Saferian test.  See Commonwealth v. Saferian, 366 Mass. 89 (1974).  We therefore affirm the decision of the judge in denying the defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty pleas. Background.  We summarize the following facts from findings made by the judge and other undisputed record materials, reserving certain details for discussion of the legal issues. Plea hearing.  On May 7, 2014, the defendant, Aaron Lastowski, tendered guilty pleas on three counts of indecent assault and battery on a person age fourteen or older in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 13H.  As part of his pleas, the defendant was required to submit a tender of plea or admission and waiver of rights form.  The plea judge first had the defendant acknowledge that the form had the defendant’s signature and that the signature manifested his […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 4, 2018 at 6:33 pm

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