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Commonwealth v. Libby (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-108-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11831 COMMONWEALTH  vs.  BRIAN LIBBY.       Suffolk.      May 7, 2015. – July 1, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Sex Offender.  Due Process of Law, Sex offender, Pretrial detainees.  Statute, Construction.  Words, “Prisoner.”       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on November 6, 2014.   The case was reported by Duffly, J.     Eric Tennen (Michael F. Farrington with him) for the defendant. Canan Yesilcimen, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     GANTS, C.J.  The issue on appeal is whether the Commonwealth may file a petition pursuant to G. L. c. 123A, § 12, to civilly commit someone as a sexually dangerous person (SDP) who previously was convicted of a “sexual offense,” as defined under G. L. c. 123A, § 1, but is currently in custody only because he was unable to post bail in a pending criminal case.  We conclude that the Commonwealth may file an SDP petition under § 12 against a person who has been convicted of a sexual offense only where the person is in custody because of a criminal conviction, an adjudication as a delinquent juvenile or youthful offender, or a judicial finding that the person is incompetent to stand trial.  The Commonwealth may not file such a petition where, as here, the defendant is in custody only because he is awaiting trial, unless a judge has found the defendant incompetent to stand trial. Background.  The defendant, Brian Libby, was convicted in 2002 of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen, which qualifies as a “sexual offense” under G. L. c. 123A, § 1, and was sentenced to two and one-half years in a house of correction.  He was subsequently convicted of other offenses, but was not serving a sentence on any of these convictions when he was indicted on October 11, 2013, for failure to register as a sex offender, subsequent offense.   At his arraignment in the Superior Court, a judge set bail in the amount of $ 5,000.  The defendant has been unable to post bail on this pending indictment, and has remained in custody for that reason alone awaiting trial. On May 12, 2014, the Commonwealth filed an SDP petition for civil commitment pursuant to G. L. c. 123A, § 12.  The defendant moved to dismiss the petition […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 1, 2015 at 10:10 pm

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