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In Commonwealth v. Bruneau, decided last week, the SJC ruled that ” a defendant who is found not guilty by reason of mental illness may appeal under G. L. c. 278, § 28. ”

“Although a finding of not guilty by reason of mental illness is an acquittal, in the sense that it absolves a defendant of criminal responsibility, it is unlike an acquittal because it includes a finding that the defendant committed the criminal act. ”

“Because a defendant found not guilty by reason of mental illness has been “aggrieved by a judgment,” the defendant may appeal from that verdict under G. L. c. 278, § 28.”

In a footnote, the court added, “We recognize that Mass. R. Crim. P. 28 (c)…, which provides for notification of the right to appeal “[a]fter a judgment of guilty is entered,” does not by its terms require notification for defendants found not guilty by reason of mental illness of their right to appeal. We therefore refer the rule to the standing committee of this court for criminal rules.”

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