Posts tagged "1005514"

Commonwealth v. Almeida (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-055-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;     SJC‑11486   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  DANIEL D. ALMEIDA.     March 21, 2014.   Sex Offender.  Constitutional Law, Sex offender.  Due Process of Law, Sex offender, Substantive rights.  Evidence, Sex offender.  Practice, Civil, Sex offender, Findings by judge.  Words, “Menace.”         Following a jury-waived trial, a judge in the Superior Court determined that the defendant is a sexually dangerous person and committed him to the Massachusetts Treatment Center pursuant to G. L. c. 123A, § 14 (d).[1]  The judge concluded that the defendant suffers from a mental abnormality that manifests itself in behavior including voyeurism and exhibitionism, and that the defendant is reasonably likely to reoffend by engaging in those same types of behaviors in the future.[2]  As the judge noted, the defendant’s sexual offenses are noncontact offenses.  He nonetheless concluded that the defendant is likely to engage in sexual offenses in the future “to a degree that makes him a menace to the health and safety of other persons” if he is not confined to a secure facility.  The judge also concluded that civil commitment on this basis did not violate the defendant’s substantive due process rights.  The Appeals Court affirmed, see Commonwealth v. Almeida, 83 Mass. App. Ct. 451 (2013), and we granted the defendant’s application for further appellate review.   At the time of the defendant’s trial, this court had not yet decided Commonwealth v. Suave, 460 Mass. 582 (2011) (Suave), in which we considered, for the first time, “whether G. L. c. 123A, properly construed, permits a finding of sexual dangerousness based on an individual’s history of committing noncontact sexual offenses and his likelihood of committing only noncontact offenses in the future.”  Id. at 585-586.  We concluded that it could, and, on the issue whether a defendant is a “menace,” stated that “the Commonwealth must show the defendant’s predicted sexual offenses will instill in his victims a reasonable apprehension of being subjected to a contact sex crime.  A generalized fear or some other unspecified psychological harm such as shock or alarm will not suffice.”  Id. at 588.  We ultimately held in the Suave case that the defendant’s past and predicted future sexual behavior did not support a finding that he was a menace.  Id. at 589.  The Suave case thus does not itself provide an example of a defendant who was found to be sexually dangerous on the basis […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 22, 2014 at 12:35 am

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,