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Commonwealth v. Hanson H., a juvenile (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-065-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11121   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  HANSON H., a juvenile.     Hampden.     December 6, 2012.  ‑  April 11, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       Juvenile Court, Delinquent child, Probation.  Sex Offender.  Global Positioning System Device.  Statute, Construction.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Hampden County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on March 1, 2010.   A motion for relief from a condition of probation was heard by Judith J. Phillips, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Ryan M. Schiff, Committee for Public Counsel Services (Stephanie Stolk Ormsby, Committee for Public Counsel Services, with him) for the juvenile. Katherine A. Robertson, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.       GANTS, J.  The issue presented in this case is whether a Juvenile Court judge is required under G. L. c. 265, § 47, to order a juvenile to wear a global positioning system device that will monitor his whereabouts (GPS monitoring) as a condition of probation where a juvenile is adjudicated delinquent and placed on probation for committing a “sex offense,” a “sex offense involving a child,” or a “sexually violent offense,” as defined in G. L. c. 6, § 178C.  We conclude that, when § 47 is read in its entirety, it is not apparent that the Legislature intended to apply mandatory GPS monitoring to juveniles placed on probation as a result of having been adjudicated delinquent and thereby eliminate the discretion granted to Juvenile Court judges to render individualized dispositions consistent with the best interests of the child.  We also conclude that, where the Legislature has established the statutory principle that, “as far as practicable, [juveniles] shall be treated, not as criminals, but as children in need of aid, encouragement and guidance,” G. L. c. 119, § 53, we will not interpret a statute affecting the delinquency adjudications of juveniles to conflict with this principle in the absence of clear legislative intent.  Here, where such clear legislative intent is absent, we conclude that a Juvenile Court judge retains the discretion, based on the totality of the circumstances, to determine whether GPS monitoring should be imposed as a condition of probation for a juvenile who is adjudicated delinquent after committing a sex offense.[1]     Background.  The juvenile, a fifteen year old boy, was accused of rubbing his fingers […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 11, 2013 at 11:10 pm

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