Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts. Practice,
Civil, Sex offender.
petitioner, John Crittenden, filed a paper in the county
court titled "Respondent's Petition for
Interlocutory Appeal and Stay of Proceedings." A single
justice of this court treated it as a petition pursuant to G.
L. c. 211, § 3, and denied relief without a
hearing. We affirm.
Commonwealth filed a petition in the Superior Court seeking
civil commitment of Crittenden as a sexually dangerous person
pursuant to G. L. c. 123A. He was temporarily committed to
the Massachusetts Treatment Center, and a probable cause
hearing was scheduled. Meanwhile, Crittenden was evaluated
and a report was prepared pursuant to G. L. c. 123, § 18
(a.). Before the hearing, an assistant district
attorney provided a copy of the § 18 (a.) report to
Crittenden's counsel. Asserting that the district
attorney was not properly in possession of the § 18 (a.)
report, Crittenden moved, among other things, for an order
preventing future dissemination of the report by the district
attorney for purposes of the G. L. c. 123A proceeding, or for
any other purpose. The judge denied the motion.
filed a petition in the county court seeking review of that
interlocutory order. He argues that records of evaluations
under G. L. c. 123, § 18, are protected from disclosure
to third parties except by court order, pursuant to G. L. c.
123, §§ 36 and 36A. He also argues that
dissemination of the § 18 (a.) report, including
material that he contends are privileged, will result in
irremediable violation of his rights. The single justice
denied relief pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, and
case is now before us pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 2:21, as
amended, 434 Mass. 1301 (2001), which requires a petitioner
to "set forth the reasons why review of the trial court
decision cannot adequately be obtained on appeal from any
final adverse judgment in the trial court or by other
available means." S.J.C. Rule 2:21 (2). Crittenden
failed to meet that burden. The single justice properly
declined to exercise the court's extraordinary power of
superintendence under G. L. c. 211, § 3, in light of an
adequate alternative remedy, namely, a petition for relief in
the Appeals Court under G. L. c. 231, § 118, first
See Greco v. Plymouth Sav. Bank,
423 Mass. 1019, 1019-1020 (1996). See also
Commonwealth v. G.F., 479 Mass.
180, 188 (2018) (noting proceedings before single justice of
Appeals Court concerning interlocutory rulings in G. L. c.
123A case); Commonwealth v.
Sargent, 449 Mass. 576, 579 (2007) (noting use of G.
L. c. 231, § 118, first par., for review of
interlocutory ruling in c. 123A proceeding); Sheridan,
petitioner, 422 Mass. 776, 777 (1996) .
case was submitted on the papers filed, accompanied by a
memorandum of law.
A. Scotch, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the
 There was no error in treating the
petition as arising under G. L. c. 211, § 3. While the
petitioner cited Mass. R. Crim. P. 15 (a) (2), as amended,
476 Mass. 1501 (2017), as the basis for his petition, the
rule does not apply to proceedings involving G. L. c. 123A.
"[A] G. L. c. 123A proceeding is neither criminal nor
penal in nature, but is a civil proceeding."
Commonwealth v. Burgess, 450 Mass.
366, 374 (2008). See, e.g., Commonwealth v.
Curran, 478 Mass. 630 (2018). See also Sheridan,
petitioner, 422 Mass. 776, 780-781 (1996) .
 General Laws c. 123, § 18 (a.),
"[i]f the person in charge of any place of
detention within the commonwealth has reason to believe that
a person confined therein is in need of hospitalization by
reason of mental illness . . ., he shall cause such prisoner
to be examined at such place of detention by a physician or
psychologist .... After completion of such examination and
observation, a written report shall be sent to [the] court
and to the person in charge of the place of
 The court has "recognized, in
sexually dangerous person proceedings, that an individual may
seek interlocutory relief pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3,
from the denial of a motion to dismiss a petition on the
basis that the Commonwealth failed to timely petition for
trial." Floodv.Commonwealth, 465 Mass. 1015, 1016 (2013), citing
Gangiv.Commonwealth, 462 Mass.
158 (2012). We have done so in that very limited circumstance
because the "right at issue is a right not to be
tried," Flood, supra, emphasizing the
"expedited pace" established by G. L. c. 123A,
§ 13 (a.) . See Gangi, supra at
160-161 & n.2. We underscore, however, that G. L. c. 211,
§ 3, is not "an available avenue for all
petitioners seeking relief from the denial, in the trial
court, of a motion to dismiss a petition for civil commitment
as a sexually dangerous person," Flood,
supra at 1017 n.4, or from other types of