The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today issued two important rulings rulings. In Massachusetts the initial classification of a sex offender must be proved by clear and convincing evidence. Today, in Noe, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) held the that the offender is entitled to court appointed counsel in reclassification hearings. The Court also held that the clear and convincing burden of proof applies in reclassification hearings as well:
Our balancing of the Mathews factors therefore results in a burden of production being imposed on the offender in downward reclassification proceedings to provide some evidence of changed circumstances, but requires the board to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the offender is properly classified once such evidence is provided. We conclude that such process, and the accompanying burdens of production and proof, properly balance the Mathews factors.
In Doe the SJC held that the burden of proof of persuasion in termination proceedings is on the state. And that burden is also a clear and convincing standard once the offender has presented some evidence of changed circumstances.