JOHN DOE, SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY BOARD NO. 326573
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY BOARD (and a consolidated case1 ).
Heard: February 7, 2017.
action commenced in the Superior Court Department on November
motion for preliminary injunction was heard by Gregg J.
Pasquale, J., and the case was reported by him to the
Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct
appellate review. Civil action commenced in the
Superior Court Department on June 22, 2015. A motion for a
preliminary injunction was heard by Heidi E.
proceeding for interlocutory review was allowed in the
Appeals Court by Judd J. Carhart, J. The Supreme
Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate
S. Crouch for John Doe, Sex Offender Registry Board No.
326573, & another.
P. Bosse for the defendant.
Goldblatt, for Committee for Public Counsel Services, amicus
curiae, submitted a brief.
Present: Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd,
Moe v. Sex Offender Registry Bd., 467 Mass. 598, 616
(2014), we permanently enjoined the Sex Offender Registry
Board (SORB) "from publishing on the Internet the
registry information of any individual who was finally
classified as a level two sex offender on or before July 12,
2013, unless the individual is subsequently reclassified a
level two or level three sex offender." SORB contends in
these two cases that, when it unsuccessfully seeks after July
12, 2013, to reclassify a level two sex offender as a level
three sex offender, the individual is reclassified a level
two sex offender for purposes of Moe, and SORB may
therefore publish the individual's registry information
on the Internet. We disagree. We conclude that, under
Moe, a sex offender is "reclassified" only
where a hearing officer allows SORB's motion to increase
his or her classification based on new information indicating
an increased risk of sexual recidivism, not, as here, where
the hearing officer denied SORB's motion for
reclassification and retained the earlier level two
classification. We therefore remand these cases to the
Superior Court for the issuance of a permanent injunction
barring publication of each plaintiff's registry
information on SORB's Web site on the Internet unless and
until the offender is reclassified a level three sex
over two decades, the Commonwealth has maintained a
registration system for individuals convicted of a sex
offense as defined by the sex offender registry law, G. L. c.
6, §§ 178C-178Q. See St. 1996, c. 239, § 1. A
sex offender is required to register with SORB upon release
from custody or, if not sentenced to confinement, upon
notification by the court of the obligation to register. See
G. L. c. 6, § 178E (a.), (c) .
"Upon review of any information useful in assessing the
risk of reoffense and the degree of dangerousness posed to
the public by the sex offender, including . . . any materials
submitted by the sex offender, " SORB prepares a
"recommended classification" of each offender. G.
L. c. 6, § 178L (1). The offender has the right to
challenge SORB's recommended classification, and where
the offender chooses to exercise that right, a panel of three
SORB members or a hearing examiner designated by SORB finally
classifies the ...