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Commonwealth v. St. Louis (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-203-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11862   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  RICHARD J. ST. LOUIS.       Berkshire.     September 8, 2015. – December 23, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ. Indecent Assault and Battery on a Person with an Intellectual Disability.  Indecent Assault and Battery on a Retarded Person.  Indecent Exposure.  Intellectually Disabled Person.  Mentally Retarded Person.  Constitutional Law, Vagueness of statute, Assistance of counsel, Ex post facto law.  Due Process of Law, Vagueness of statute.  Practice, Criminal, Instructions to jury, Required finding, New trial, Assistance of counsel.  Consent.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on October 24, 2011.   The cases were tried before John A. Agostini, J., and a motion for a new trial was considered by him.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Michael J. Hickson for the defendant. John P. Bossé, Special Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     SPINA, J.  In this case, we are asked to examine whether the term “intellectual disability” in G. L. c. 265, § 13F (indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability), renders the statute unconstitutionally vague.  On the effective date of November 2, 2010, the Legislature amended the statute substituting the term “mentally retarded person” with “person with an intellectual disability” as well as the words “be mentally retarded” with “have an intellectual disability.”  St. 2010, c. 239, §§ 71-72.  These amendments were part of a broad legislative scheme that purged the term “mentally retarded” from the General Laws.  St. 2010, c. 239 (“An Act eliminating the word ‘retardation’ from the General Laws”).  As a result, G. L. c. 265, § 13F, now states: “Whoever commits an indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability knowing such person to have an intellectual disability shall . . . be punished . . . .”  The term “intellectual disability” is not defined by the statute. The defendant was convicted on four indictments alleging indecent assault and battery on a person with an intellectual disability,[1] one indictment alleging indecent exposure, and one indictment alleging accosting or annoying a person of the opposite sex.  The crimes were alleged to have occurred between on or about January 1, 2008, which was before the effective date of the statutory amendments, and […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 23, 2015 at 10:29 pm

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