Court: Board Needs Proof in Sex Offender Reclassification

Courtesy of

BOSTON (AP) — The state’s highest court says the Sex Offender Registry Board has the burden of proof when deciding whether a sex offender should be reclassified.

The Supreme Judicial Court also ruled in separate cases Wednesday that indigent sex offenders have a right to legal counsel in reclassification hearings, and those hearings must be held within a “reasonable” period of time.

The board already is required to provide “clear and convincing evidence” when initially determining which of three classification levels a sex offender should receive.

But the board has argued that it’s up to the offender to provide convincing evidence as to why he or she should be moved to a lower classification, or removed from the registry altogether.

The justices disagreed, ruling “the ultimate burden of proof should remain with the board.”

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