Sex Offender Registry Cases

Attorney Crouch is a leading Massachusetts sex offender registry attorney and has handled many complex sex offender registration cases before the Sex Offender Registry Board, the superior courts, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and the Supreme Judicial Court. He has successfully argued that the Board lacks the authority to require an individual to register as a sex offender, for the reduction in classification levels, and the termination of an individuals obligation to register as a sex offender. As a result of his successes in sex offender registration cases, Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly in 2008 selected Attorney Crouch as one of twenty-five “Up and Coming Lawyers” in the Commonwealth and he has been selected as a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers Magazine.

A selection of his recent cases include the following.

John Doe No. 380316 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, 473 Mass. 297 (2015)

Supreme Judicial Court reversed Sex Offender Registry Board’s use of preponderance of evidence standard in classifying sex offender as level two sex offender. It determined that amendments to the sex offender registry law means that risk classifications have far greater consequences than before, such that due process now requires that offender’s risk level be proved by higher clear and convincing evidence standard. Filed an amicus briefon behalf of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

John Doe vs. City of Lynn, 472 Mass. 521 (2015)

Supreme Judicial Court held that the City’s ordinance restricting sex offenders’ right to live there was inconsistent with the statutory scheme intended to protect the public from convicted sex offenders and failed to pass muster under Home Rule Amendment as the legislature intended to preclude local regulation of sex offender residency options. Filed an amicus brief on behalf of Jacob Wetterling Resource Center, Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Massachusetts Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Inc., Reform Sex Offender Laws, Inc., and Florida Action Committee.

John Doe vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, 466 Mass. 594 (2013)

Supreme Judicial Court reverse petitioner’s classification finding that it was arbitrary and capricious for Sex Offender Registry Board to classify the former prostitute’s risk of reoffense and degree of dangerousness without considering the substantial evidence presented at the hearing concerning the effect of gender on recidivism. Filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

John Doe, Sex Offender Registry Board No. 151564 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 1 (2014)

Appeals Court held that the superior court erred in affirming the Sex Offender Registry Board’s classification of an individual as a level three sex offender because he was entitled to funds for an expert to inform both his own presentation and the hearing examiner’s classification review.

John Doe vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, 85 Mass. App. Ct. 1104 (2014)

Appeals Court held that superior court erred in affirming classification of individual as Level 3 offender and case remanded to the Sex Offender Registry Board with direction that it grant Doe funds for expert testimony.

John Doe, Sex Offender Registry Board No. 151564 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, 456 Mass. 612 (2010) (in finding that petitioner was required to register, Supreme Judicial Court reversed and remanded case for new classification proceeedings due to legal and factual errors).

The matter of John Doe No. 151564 is an important case in the classification of sex offenders in Massachusetts. Convicted of a single count of unlawful sexual contact in the state of Maine, the petitioner sought review of his classification process and a motion to dismiss the case as the Board lacked jurisdiction to require him to register as a sex offender. In determining that the Board had jurisdiction to require him to register as a sex offender, the Supreme Judicial Court laid out new standards for determining whether a petitioner’s out of state convictions qualify as sex offenses in Massachusetts. Doe No. 151564 stands for the proposition that the Board may not use the underlying facts of a petitioner’s out of state convictions in determining whether it has jurisdiction to require him to register as a sex offender in Massachusetts.

The Supreme Judicial Court also concluded that the Board made several errors in the conduct of the petitioner’s classification hearing. In a benefit to petitioner’s across Massachusetts, the Court determined that the board erred in reaching a classification determination in this case without having considered the effect of Doe’s age on his dangerousness and likelihood to reoffend. Doe was sixty-one at the time of the hearing and he presented evidence of numerous scientific and statistical studies, published during the last decade, that conclude that age is an important factor in determining the risk of recidivism and that such risk diminishes significantly as an offender ages. The Court also determined that the Board had committed other errors and remanded the matter for additional classification proceedings.

John Doe, Sex Offender Registry Board No. 81488 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, Suffolk Superior Court (2010).
In Doe 81488, Attorney Crouch argued that the Sex Offender Registry Board failed to provide his client, a Level 3 sex offender, with proper notice of the classification process and thereby deprived him of his right to a hearing, filed pursuant to G.L. c.6, § 178M, G.L. c.30A, §§ 10 and 14, G.L. c. 231A §§ 1-5 and the due process clauses of the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution and article 12 of the Massachusetts Constitution. He argued that there exists an elementary and fundamental requirement of due process in any proceeding, which is to be accorded by notice reasonably calculated, under all of the circumstances, to apprise the petitioner of the pendency of the action and afford him an opportunity to present his objections and case. A superior court judge agreed with Attorney Crouch’s analysis, vacate the order of the Board designating the petitioner as a high risk, Level 3 offender, and remanded the case for a full classification hearing before the Sex Offender Registry Board.

John Doe, Sex Offender Registry Board No. 13733 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board (2010).

In Doe No. 13733, Attorney Crouch represented an individual preliminarily classified as a Level 3 sex offender due to a history of convictions for open and gross lewdness, indecent exposure, and lewd and lascivious conduct. He was able to secure a reduction of the classification to a Level 2 sex offender.

John Doe, Sex Offender Registry Board No. 2448 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, Suffolk Superior Court (2009).
In Doe No. 2448, Attorney Crouch represented an individual with a documented history of substantial, debilitating medical problems. Representing an individual preliminarily classified as a Level 2 sex offender due to convictions of indecent assault and battery on a person age 14 or over, G.L. c.265, § 13H, Attorney Crouch was able to secure a reduction to a Level 1 sex offender. Due to the circumstances of the case, Attorney Crouch appealed the decision and argued that pursuant to 803 CMR 1.37B and G.L. c. 6, § 178G, that his client did not pose a danger to the safety of others and that Sex Offender Registry Board be required to terminate his obligation to register as a sex offender in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Sex Offender Registry Board eventually agreed and terminated the client’s obligation to register as a Massachusetts sex offender.

John Doe, Sex Offender Registry Board No. 66521 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board (2009).

In Doe No. 66521, Attorney Crouch represented an individual preliminarily classified as a Level 3 sex offender due to previous convictions for aggravated rape, G.L. c. 265, § 22(a) and indecent assault and battery on a person age 14 or over, G.L. c.265, § 13H. He was able to secure a reduction of the classification to a Level 2 sex offender.

John Doe, Sex Offender Registry Board No. 203171 vs. Sex Offender Registry Board (2008).

In Doe No. 203171, Attorney Crouch represented an individual preliminarily classified as a Level 3 sex offender due to a history of convictions for open and gross lewdness, indecent exposure, and lewd and lascivious conduct. He was able to secure a reduction of the classification to a Level 2 sex offender.