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Jaynes

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Plymouth

December 16, 2015

Charles Jaynes , petitioner

Argued October 19, 2015.

Petition filed in the Plymouth Division of the Probate and Family Court Department on June 18, 2012.

The case was heard by Catherine P. Sabaitis, J.

Charles Jaynes, pro se.

Michael Adam Chinman for Robert Lee Curley.

Present: Berry, Green, & Blake, JJ.

OPINION

[42 N.E.3d 1159] Blake, J.

On June 18, 2012, Charles Jaynes filed a petition pursuant to G. L. c. 210, § 12, to change his name,[1] citing in support of his request his " Wiccan religious tenets." After a hearing, a judge of the Probate and Family Court denied the petition. On appeal, Jaynes argues that the judge abused her discretion and that the denial violates the free exercise clause of the First Amendment and the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution; art. 2

Page 746

of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights; art. 46 of the Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution; and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons [42 N.E.3d 1160] Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C. § § 2000cc et seq. (2012). We affirm.

1. Background.

Jaynes is currently serving a life sentence, with the possibility of parole, for the 1997 kidnapping and second degree murder of a ten year old boy. See Commonwealth v. Jaynes, 55 Mass.App.Ct. 301, 770 N.E.2d 483 (2002). After Jaynes filed his petition, an order entered requiring notice by publication. Following publication in a local newspaper, nine individuals filed affidavits of objection; three of those persons also filed appearances in the matter. One of those three was the victim's father.

On November 20, 2012, a hearing was held, at which Jaynes testified that " my old heathen name is religiously offensive. It is also spiritually debilitating due to the fact that God and Jesus Christ had given me a new name." Based on his testimony,[2] the judge found that a name change is not essential to Jaynes's Wiccan faith. Jaynes does not challenge this finding on appeal.[3] The victim's father, his counsel Michael Chinman, and two of the other nine objectors spoke in opposition. The victim's father briefly described the crimes Jaynes had committed and noted Jaynes's prior use of aliases and the number of outstanding warrants he had when he was arrested. Chinman ...


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