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Moe, et al. v. Sex Offender Registry Board (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-058-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11520   MICHAEL MOE & others[1]  vs.  SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY BOARD.     Suffolk.     December 5, 2013.  ‑  March 26, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Sex Offender.  Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification Act.  Constitutional Law, Sex offender.  Due Process of Law, Sex offender, Retroactive application of statute, Class action.  Practice, Civil, Sex offender, Class action, Injunctive relief.  Statute, Retroactive application.  Injunction.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on July 5, 2013.   The case was reported by Gants, J.     Ryan M. Schiff, Committee for Public Counsel Services (Dana Golblatt, Committee for Public Counsel Services, with him) for the plaintiffs. John M. Stephan, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant. Eric Tennen, for Massachusetts Association for Treatment of Sexual Abusers, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     GANTS, J. On July 12, 2013, the Governor signed into law various amendments to G. L. c. 6, §§ 178C-178Q, the sex offender registry law (SORL), including amendments that would require the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) to publish on the Internet information contained in the sex offender registry (registry information) regarding all individuals given a level two or level three classification by SORB.  See St. 2013, c. 38, §§ 7, 9.  Before these amendments were enacted, § 178D required SORB to publish on the Internet the registry information of sex offenders given a level three classification, but expressly prohibited SORB from publishing on the Internet the registry information of level two offenders.  The issues presented are whether the amendments are retroactive in effect “for the purposes of further constitutional inquiry,” as applied to those who were classified as level two offenders on or before the date of the amendments’ enactment, see Doe, Sex Offender Registry Bd. No. 8725 v. Sex Offender Registry Bd., 450 Mass. 780, 787 (2008) (Doe No. 8725); whether the Legislature intended that they apply retroactively; and, if so, whether their retroactive application would violate due process under the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.  We conclude that the amendments are retroactive in effect as applied to level two offenders who were classified on or before the date of the amendments’ enactment and that the Legislature intended such retroactive application, but that such retroactive application would violate State constitutional due process.[2]     History of the case.  On […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - March 26, 2014 at 3:31 pm

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