SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

June 11, 2014

Court: Parole board can't impose new sentences

BOSTON — The highest court in Massachusetts has ruled that lifetime parole for sex offenders is unconstitutional, finding that only judges can impose new sentences on offenders who have already completed their original sentence.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled Wednesday that the current law allowing the state Parole Board to impose new sentences violates the state constitution.

Currently, the board can sentence sex offenders to additional terms of incarceration if they violate the terms of their parole.

But the court ruled that anyone who has been sentenced by the board must be resentenced by a judge. The court said resentencing the 275 to 300 people who fall into that category would be a "substantial, but manageable, burden" on the court system.

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