Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Commonwealth v. Dragotta

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Essex

September 27, 2019

COMMONWEALTH
v.
HEATHER DRAGOTTA.

          Heard: April 11, 2019.

         Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on October 1, 2010.

         Following review by the Supreme Judicial Court, 476 Mass. 680 (2017), a motion for return of property was considered by Timothy Q. Feeley, J.

          Patrick Levin, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant.

          Kayla M. Johnson, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.

          Present: Hanlon, Desmond, & Shin, JJ.

          DESMOND, J.

         The single issue in this case is whether, in light of Commonwealth v. Martinez, 480 Mass. 777 (2018), Massachusetts is required to reimburse the defendant's probation service fees paid to the New Hampshire Department of Corrections after her conviction was overturned in Massachusetts. Because it was a Massachusetts judge who issued the order to pay the probation service fees under G. L. c. 276, § 87A, we conclude that Massachusetts must bear the burden of reimbursing them to the defendant. Accordingly, we reverse the order denying the defendant's motion for the return of probation supervision fees.

         Background.

         The underlying facts are undisputed. The defendant, Heather Dragotta, was convicted in Massachusetts of wantonly or recklessly permitting another to commit an assault and battery on a child causing bodily injury.[1] She was sentenced to two years of incarceration, with two months to serve and the balance suspended for a five-year probationary term. The defendant, a resident of New Hampshire, had her probation supervised in that State, [2] and she paid "monthly probation fees" to the New Hampshire Department of Corrections.[3]

         After her conviction was overturned by the Supreme Judicial Court, the defendant filed a motion for return of property in Superior Court, seeking the reimbursement of $837 in probation service fees. The judge, without the benefit of Martinez, denied the request, reasoning that "[a] probationer receives something of value for probationary supervision." The defendant timely appealed.

         During the pendency of the appeal, the Supreme Judicial Court held in Martinez that probation fees must be returned when a defendant's conviction is overturned:

"Where a judge sentences a defendant to probation on a single conviction, monthly probation fees ordered under G. L. c. 276, § 87A, are paid by the defendant as a direct consequence of that conviction. Therefore, any amount paid by the defendant is 'taken from [him or] her solely on the basis of a conviction, ' Nelson[ v. Colorado], 137 S.Ct. [1249, ] 1257 [(2017)], and must be returned in full once ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.