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In Doe, SORB No. 380316 v. Sex Offender Registry Board, decided today, the Supreme Judicial Court announced a new standard of proof for classification of sex offenders. “In light of amendments to the sex offender registry law and other developments.. the preponderance standard no longer adequately protects … due process rights.”

The court stated, “We conclude that due process requires that a sex offender’s risk level be proved by clear and convincing evidence (emphasis added)The risk classifications that SORB must make now have consequences for those who are classified that are far greater than was the case when we decided Doe No. 972 [428 Mass. 90 (1998)]. The preponderance standard no longer adequately protects against the possibility that those consequences might be visited upon individuals who do not pose the requisite degree of risk and dangerousness.”

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