Doe v. SORB, No. SJC-13032 (Mass. 2021)
Nature of Case: Appellant was convicted of sex offenses in the 1970’s and sentenced to life in prison. In 2012, three years prior to her potential release from prison, the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board classified her as a level three offender and she did not contest this classification. In 2015 she filed an action with the SORB to vacate her classification relying on prior precedent that classifications must be performed at or near a person’s time of release. The SORB denied the motion to vacate, which was affirmed by the superior court and the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts accepted review.
Holding: The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts reversed and vacated the decisions of the superior court and SORB, finding that Due Process interests require that classifications be performed at or near time of release even for individuals who waive classification hearings.