Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Berkshire
Heard: January 9, 2017.
found and returned in the Superior Court Department on
October 5, 2015.
motion for pretrial detention was heard by John A. Agostini,
J., and a question of law was reported by him.
Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the
case from the Appeals Court.
D. Smith, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the
G.A. Coliflores, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd,
Superior Court judge reported the question whether G. L. c.
276, § 58A, permits the Commonwealth to seek pretrial
detention without bail when a defendant has two prior
convictions of operating a motor vehicle while under the
influence of alcohol (OUI), G. L. c. 90, § 24, and is
charged with OUI, third offense. Because § 58A requires
three OUI convictions before a defendant can be so detained,
we answer the question in the negative.
October, 2015, the defendant, Timothy 0. Dayton, was charged
in the Superior Court with eight motor vehicle violations,
including two indictments for OUI, third offense, in relation
to two separate incidents pending in the District Court. Each
OUI indictment alleged that Dayton had been convicted of OUI
twice before -- in 1988 and in 1989.
Commonwealth moved for a dangerousness hearing pursuant to
§ 58A. The defendant opposed the motion, arguing that
§ 58A permits a dangerousness hearing only after three
prior OUI convictions, not two.
Superior Court judge initially agreed with the defendant, and
denied the Commonwealth's motion and its motion for
reconsideration. However, the Commonwealth sought review by a
single justice of this court, pursuant to G. L. c. 211,
§ 3. The single justice ordered the judge to hold the
dangerousness hearing, at the same time acknowledging that
the language of § 58A was "unclear" and noting
that the judge was "not precluded from reporting the
question to the [Appeals Court]."
hearing, the judge determined that the defendant was
dangerous within the meaning of § 58A and ordered him
held without bail pending trial. On the defendant's
motion, the ...