Insufficient Evidence Sufficient for Erroneous Conviction ClaimErroneous Conviction
Santana v. Commonwealth, No. 14-P-923 (Mass. App. Ct. Oct. 19, 2015)
The Massachusetts Appeals Court addressed whether a former criminal defendant cleared of charges due to insufficient evidence could bring a claim against the Commonwealth for erroneous conviction under M. G. L. c. 258D. The Commonwealth’s erroneous conviction statute requires that the party bringing the claim to have been granted relief in a prior criminal proceeding “on grounds which tend to establish the innocence of the individual.” The Court held that, based on the circumstances before it, acquittal due to insufficient evidence in the underlying criminal proceeding tended to show actual innocence and that it was enough to permit a claim for erroneous conviction.
Equitable Subrogation Claim Permitted Despite Availability of Legal RemedyEquitable Subrogation
Bank of America v. Diamond Financial, LLC, No. 14-P-1315 (Mass. App. Ct. Oct. 20, 2015)
The Massachusetts Appeals Court considered whether a bank was entitled to equitable subrogation of a mortgage despite the availability of a legal remedy, specifically, a title insurance claim. The Court recognized that Massachusetts courts can exercise equitable jurisdiction despite the availability of legal remedies, but only when those remedies are inadequate and inappropriate. The Court held that the remedy at law available to the bank was inadequate and inappropriate to resolve fairly the issue between the parties and permitted the bank to pursue its equitable subrogation claim.
Best Interests of Refugee Child Lead to Exercise of Child Custody JurisdictionChild Custody Jurisdiction
Custody of Victoria, SJC-11826 (Mass. Oct. 21, 2015)
Generally, Massachusetts courts possess child custody jurisdiction pursuant to M. G. L. c. 209B when the Commonwealth is the child’s home state or when no other state qualifies as the child’s home state and when the best interests of the child indicate jurisdiction may be appropriate. For a state to qualify as a child’s home state, the child must have been in the care of a parent or person acting as a parent in that state for more than six months. Here, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court addressed whether the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court had jurisdiction over a refugee child who resided out-of-state for more than six months under the care of a federal agency. The Court held that because the federal agency did not qualify as a parent pursuant to Chapter 209B, the child lacked a home state. Furthermore, the best interests of the child indicated that the court could exercise jurisdiction.
GPS Monitoring Not Required After Case ContinuanceSex Offender GPS Monitoring
Commonwealth v. Doe, SJC-11861 (Mass. Oct. 22, 2015)
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court considered whether a person who entered a guilty plea or admitted to sufficient facts sufficient to prove to a sex offense, but whose case had been continued without a finding, was required to wear a GPS device pursuant to M. G. L. c. 265, § 47. Generally, that statute requires a person placed on probation for a sex offense to wear a GPS device for the probation’s duration. The Court held that the Legislature intended § 47 to apply only to those defendants placed on probation after a conviction of a sex offense, and that a judge is not required to enforce the statute’s protocols on those defendants whose cases are continued without a finding.