Posts tagged "Parole"

Riva v. Massachusetts Parole Board (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-136-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12270   JAMES RIVA  vs.  MASSACHUSETTS PAROLE BOARD.     August 18, 2017.     Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Parole.  Practice, Criminal, Discovery.     The petitioner, James Riva, appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court denying his petition pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3.  We affirm.   Riva is currently serving a life sentence for second degree murder.  After the parole board (board) denied him parole in January, 2015, he filed a complaint in the Superior Court seeking certiorari review and a declaratory judgment in connection with claimed constitutional violations that occurred in the course of the proceedings before the board.  The board’s motion to dismiss the complaint was allowed as to the declaratory judgment claim but denied as to the certiorari claim.  Riva’s subsequently-filed motion to compel discovery was initially denied, but, on Riva’s motion for reconsideration, the motion judge indicated that the motion was allowed “to the extent that the administrative record shall reflect the evidence relied upon by the parole board to issue its decision.”  Riva then filed a “motion for relief,” which also pertained to certain discovery.  After this motion was denied, Riva filed his G. L. c. 211, § 3, petition in the county court.  In the petition, he argued that his case could not proceed in the trial court without the requested discovery.  The single justice denied the petition without a hearing.   The case is now before us pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 2:21, as amended, 434 Mass. 1301 (2001), which requires a showing that “review of the trial court decision cannot adequately be obtained on appeal from any final adverse judgment in the trial court or by other available means.”  S.J.C. Rule 2:21 (2).  Riva has not made, and cannot make, such a showing.  He argues that the board has been “allowed” to “disobey a compelled discovery order” and that, essentially, if the board is allowed to continue to do so, the issue will eventually become moot by the time he is again eligible for parole.  There is no reason, however, why the rulings related to discovery cannot adequately be addressed in an appeal from any adverse judgment, including the mootness issue.  See, e.g., Madison v. Commonwealth, 466 Mass. 1033, 1033 (2013), and cases cited.   The single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying relief under […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 18, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , ,

Crowell v. Massachusetts Parole Board (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-078-17)

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-12203   RICHARD CROWELL  vs.  MASSACHUSETTS PAROLE BOARD.       Suffolk.     January 6, 2017. – May 15, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Parole.  Practice, Criminal, Parole.  Americans with Disabilities Act.  Practice, Civil, Action in nature of certiorari, Motion to dismiss.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on April 2, 2014.   A motion to dismiss was heard by Raffi N. Yessayan, J., and a motion for reconsideration was considered by him.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Tabitha Cohen (John D. Fitzpatrick also present) for the plaintiff. Todd M. Blume, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant. James R. Pingeon, for American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief.          BUDD, J.  On April 2, 2014, the plaintiff, Richard Crowell, filed a complaint in the nature of certiorari in the Superior Court, alleging that, in denying his petition for parole, the Parole Board (board) had violated the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101 et seq. (ADA), and cognate State provisions, art. 114 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution and G. L. c. 93, § 103.  A judge of that court allowed the board’s motion to dismiss and denied the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration.  We reverse and remand for further development of the record.[1]  Further, we conclude that, contrary to the plaintiff’s assertion, his commuted life sentence remains a “life sentence” within the meaning of 120 Code Mass. Regs. § 301.01(5) (1997). Background.  The limited record before us, presented in the form of exhibits to the plaintiff’s complaint, includes the following facts, which are undisputed by the parties. Prior parole proceedings.  The plaintiff pleaded guilty to murder in the second degree in 1962 in connection with an armed robbery that resulted in a homicide.[2]  He was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole pursuant to G. L. c. 265, § 2.[3]  In 1974 the plaintiff’s life sentence was commuted to one that was from “[thirty-six] years to life.”  He was paroled in November, 1975.  Between 1975 and 1990 the plaintiff was returned to custody on five occasions (1977, 1980, 1982, 1989, and 1990) for failing to adhere to his conditions of parole, including repeated problems with alcohol […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 15, 2017 at 9:01 pm

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Clay v. Massachusetts Parole Board (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-123-16)

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-12032   FREDERICK CLAY  vs.  MASSACHUSETTS PAROLE BOARD.       Suffolk.     April 7, 2016. – August 12, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.[1]     Parole.  Constitutional Law, Parole, Ex post facto law.  Imprisonment, Parole.  Practice, Criminal, Parole.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on November 20, 2015.   The case was reported by Botsford, J.     Jeffrey Harris for the petitioner. Jennifer K. Zalnasky, Assistant Attorney General, for the respondent. Barbara Kaban, for Youth Advocacy Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services & another, amici curiae, submitted a brief.     CORDY, J.  In 1981, the petitioner, Frederick Clay, was convicted of murder in the first degree.  The victim was a Boston taxicab driver.  When the crime was committed in 1979, Clay was a juvenile.  He was sentenced to serve the statutorily mandated term of life in prison without the possibility of parole, see G. L. c. 265, § 2, which conviction and sentence we affirmed on appeal.[2]  See Commonwealth v. Watson, 388 Mass. 536, 548 (1983), S.C., 393 Mass. 297 (1984). More than thirty years later, we determined that G. L. c. 265, § 2, which mandated Clay’s sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, was invalid as applied to those, like Clay, who were juveniles when they committed murder in the first degree.  See Diatchenko v. District Attorney for the Suffolk Dist., 466 Mass. 655, 667 (2013), S.C., 471 Mass. 12 (2015), adopting Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455, 2469 (2012) (Eighth Amendment to United States Constitution and art. 26 of Massachusetts Declaration of Rights forbid sentencing schemes mandating life in prison without possibility of parole for juvenile offenders).[3]  The result was that any juvenile offender who had been convicted of murder in the first degree, including Clay, became eligible for parole within sixty days before the expiration of fifteen years of his or her life sentence.  See Diatchenko, supra at 666, 673; Commonwealth v. Brown, 466 Mass. 676, 689 (2013) (under doctrine of severability, statute read “as if omitting the exception for parole eligibility for murder in the first degree when applying the statute to juveniles”).  See also G. L. c. 127, § 133A. Clay, having already served more than fifteen years of his sentence, became immediately eligible to be considered for parole […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm

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Doucette v. Massachusetts Parole Board (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-137-14)

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   13-P-149                                        Appeals Court   CHARLES DOUCETTE  vs.  MASSACHUSETTS PAROLE BOARD. No. 13-P-149. Essex.     April 4, 2014. – October 29, 2014.   Present:  Berry, Katzmann, & Sullivan, JJ.   Parole.  Administrative Law, Adjudicatory proceeding, Decision, Evidence, Failure to raise issue before agency, Hearing, Regulations.  Constitutional Law, Delay in rendering decision, Impartial tribunal, Parole.  Due Process of Law, Administrative hearing, Delay in rendering decision, Hearing, Parole.  Practice, Civil, Action in nature of certiorari, Failure to raise issue, Hearsay, Motion to dismiss, Relief in the nature of certiorari, Review of administrative action, Waiver.  Waiver.  Evidence, Absence of witness, Administrative proceeding, Hearsay, Police report.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on May 18, 2012.   A motion to dismiss was heard by Richard E. Welch, III, J.     Eitan Goldberg for the plaintiff. Christopher Hurld, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant.     SULLIVAN, J.  Charles Doucette appeals from the dismissal of his complaint challenging the decision of the Massachusetts Parole Board (board) revoking his parole.  Doucette proceeds on two fronts — a civil rights claim asserting that the board violated due process in the conduct of the revocation proceedings, and a claim in the nature of certiorari seeking review of the merits of the board’s decision.  See 42 U.S.C. § 1983; G. L. c. 249, § 4.  We conclude that the procedural irregularities in the revocation proceedings do not rise to the level of a due process violation, and that the revocation decision was not arbitrary or capricious.  Accordingly, we affirm. Background.  On February 20, 2007, Doucette was released on parole from a life sentence for murder in the second degree.  According to the conditions of parole, Doucette was required, among other things, to conduct himself responsibly and obey all laws, attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings three times per week, notify and seek permission from his parole officer regarding any change in residence or living situation, avoid persons known to have violated the law, comply with all special instructions given by his parole officer, and pay a monthly supervision fee. Four years later, Doucette was arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, intimidation of a witness, and threats, charges which arose from an incident with his then girlfriend.  A parole violation detainer issued, listing violations based on this incident, as well as other violations previously noted by his parole […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 29, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , ,

Gangi v. Massachusetts Parole Board (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-100-14)

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‑11505   DAVID GANGI  vs.  MASSACHUSETTS PAROLE BOARD.     Suffolk.     November 5, 2013.  ‑  June 11, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Sex Offender.  Community Parole Supervision for Life.  Constitutional Law, Sentence, Sex offender, Parole.  Due Process of Law, Sentence, Sex offender, Parole.  Practice, Criminal, Sentence, Parole.  Practice, Civil, Sex offender.  Parole.  Imprisonment, Parole.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on May 30, 2013.   The case was reported by Duffly, J.     John Fennel, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the plaintiff. Ryan E. Ferch, Assistant Attorney General, for the defendant.     CORDY, J.  In 2013, while serving a sentence of community parole supervision for life (CPSL), the petitioner, David Gangi, produced a positive drug test result in violation of a condition of his CPSL.  During the CPSL revocation proceedings that followed, he was confined pursuant to parole board regulations authorizing temporary custody pending a hearing on the violation.  While he was so confined, the Commonwealth filed a petition in the Superior Court alleging that the petitioner was a sexually dangerous person (SDP), pursuant to G. L. c. 123A, § 12 (b).  After a CPSL violation was found by the parole board, the petitioner’s confinement continued as a sanction for the CPSL violation, and at the conclusion he was civilly committed pending the outcome of the SDP petition. The petitioner then filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief with the single justice of the county court, pursuant to G. L. c. 231A, § 1, seeking a declaration that his due process rights were violated in the CPSL revocation proceeding because the parole board did not disclose the evidence against him, that his CPSL sentence was unconstitutional under the separation of powers principles of art. 30 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, and that because his CPSL sentence was unconstitutional he was not a prisoner for purposes of the SDP statute when the SDP petition was filed.  After a hearing, the single justice reserved and reported the case to the full court.  We heard the case concurrently with other cases also raising questions regarding the constitutionality of the CPSL sentence. We conclude that the petitioner’s CPSL sentence and his confinement pursuant to G. L. c. 127, § 133D (c), were unlawful.  See Commonwealth v. Cole, ante     (2014).  As a […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm

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