Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Franklin
Heard: February 8, 2018.
received and sworn to in the Greenfield Division of the
District Court Department on July 11, 2012. A motion to
correct an illegal sentence, filed on December 19, 2016, was
heard by William F. Mazanec, III, J.
Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the
case from the Appeals Court.
Timothy St. Lawrence for the defendant.
Cynthia M. Von Flatern, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker,
offender registration statute requires those convicted of
committing certain acts to register with the Sex Offender
Registry Board (board) as sex offenders. G. L. c. 6,
§§ 178C-178Q. A "second and subsequent
adjudication or conviction of open and gross lewdness"
in violation of G. L. c. 272, § 16,  requires such
registration. G. L. c. 6, § 178C. The defendant pleaded
guilty to two counts of this crime and was ordered to
register as a sex offender. He appeals from the denial of his
motion to correct an illegal sentence, arguing that, as the
two convictions were adjudicated during the same proceeding,
he did not have a "second and subsequent"
conviction as required by § 178C and, thus, he was not
required to register as a sex offender. We agree and,
accordingly, we reverse.
offender registration statute, originally passed in 1996, see
St. 1996, c. 239, and substantially modified in 1999, see St.
1999, c. 74, was enacted to address "the danger of
recidivism posed by sex offenders, especially sexually
violent offenders who commit predatory acts characterized by
repetitive and compulsive behavior." Doe, Sex
Offender Registry Bd. No. 205614 v. Sex Offender Registry
Bd., 466 Mass. 594, 595 (2013), quoting St. 1999, c. 74,
§ 1. The statute requires a sex offender to provide
certain personal information, including name and current
address, to the board. G. L. c. 6, § 178E.
board classifies sex offenders within a system of three
different levels based on risk of reoffense and degree of
dangerousness, with level one representing the designation
for offenders presenting the least serious risk of reoffense
and level of dangerousness and level three for those
presenting the most serious. See G. L. c. 6, § 178K (2).
A sex offender's registration level has consequences for
public access to that offender's information. Level one
offenders are entitled to greater information privacy. See G.
L. c. 6, § 178D. Level two and three sex offenders, by
contrast, have their information published in an online
database available to the public. Id.
offender registration statute designates a number of offenses
as sex offenses, including, but not limited to, violent and
nonviolent unwanted sexual touching, sexual offenses against
vulnerable victims, and possession or distribution of child
pornography. Unlike the offense at issue in this case, most,
but not all, of the offenses require registration after one
conviction. See G. L. c. 6, § 178C.
Factual and ...