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456 Mass. 337
Accepting New Patients. Accepts Medicaid. Translation Services Available. Insurance Plans Accepted. Hospital Affiliations. NPI Number. Medical School. Graduation Date. Post Graduate Training. Area of Specialty. Board Certifications. Board Name. General Certification. Honors and Awards. Patterson has reported no awards. Professional Publications. Patterson has reported no publications. Malpractice Information. When considering malpractice data, please keep in mind: Malpractice histories tend to vary by specialty. In this case we are asked to decide whether a judge has the authority to order the Commissioner of Probation commissioner to expunge a defendant's record where the criminal complaint was dismissed because its issuance was premised on.
We conclude that a judge does not have such authority, but the judge may order that such a defendant's record be sealed pursuant to G. We set forth the relevant facts from the undisputed findings of the Boston Municipal Court judge. On July 12, , an automobile accident occurred in the Roslindale section of Boston.
The vehicles involved were a Chevrolet Impala, driven by Jennifer Cataloni, and a Honda Odyssey, driven by a short Hispanic male wearing a Red Sox baseball cap and a plaid shirt. When Cataloni requested the license and motor vehicle registration of the male driver, he told her that the car was not his, he threatened to return to the scene with a gun, and then he drove away without providing his name, address, or registration. Cataloni, who had recorded the registration plate number of the Honda, contacted the Boston police and reported the accident to Officer Patrick Flaherty.
In addition, a passenger in Cataloni's vehicle complained of a back injury and was taken to a hospital for medical treatment. The police traced the registration plate information through the registry of motor vehicles and learned that the Honda driven by the unknown Hispanic male was registered to the defendant, Tina Boe.
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Four days later, Officer Calderone applied for a criminal complaint in the West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department, and a hearing was scheduled before a clerk-magistrate on September 11, , to determine whether probable cause existed to support the charge. Boe arrived on time for the hearing, but a court employee mistakenly directed her to an arraignment session. As instructed, she waited for her name to be called.
After a long period of time had elapsed, she asked another employee about the status of her case and was informed that she was in the wrong. Boe then was directed to the clerk's office where she learned that, in her absence, a criminal complaint had issued against her for violating G. She was informed that she would receive a summons by mail for her next court date. On September 26, , Boe was arraigned and appointed an attorney.
At a pretrial hearing on November 3, , Boe and the Commonwealth filed a joint motion to dismiss the complaint and to expunge "all information regarding this case. A judge allowed the motion, dismissed the complaint, and issued an order directing the commissioner to expunge Boe's criminal record. On January 18, , the commissioner filed a motion to reconsider and vacate the order to expunge Boe's criminal offender record information on the grounds that the judge lacked statutory authority to issue such an order, and that Boe's only remedy was the sealing of her record pursuant to G.
The commissioner then filed a notice of appeal. See Commonwealth v. Boe, 73 Mass. It concluded that the particular circumstances of this case caused it to fall outside the ambit of G. See id. The dissent opined that the court could not affirm the order of expungement where G. We granted the commissioner's application for further appellate review.
The commissioner argues that where a court has dismissed criminal charges against a defendant, the appropriate remedy is the sealing of the defendant's probation records pursuant to G. As such, he continues,. We agree.
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We begin with an overview of the relevant statutory provisions. Pursuant to G. Legislature has enacted a comprehensive scheme for sealing such records, which are maintained by the commissioner. See G. As applicable to the present case, G. The clerk shall forthwith notify the commissioner of probation and the probation officer of the courts in which the proceedings occurred or were initiated who shall likewise seal the records of the proceedings in their files. Such a sealed record shall not disqualify an individual from public employment with the Commonwealth or any political subdivision thereof.
COMMONWEALTH v. COUSIN
Further, "[t]he commissioner, in response to inquiries by authorized persons other than any law enforcement agency or any court, shall in the case of a sealed record report that no record exists. Putting aside for a moment the confluence of events that resulted in the issuance of a criminal complaint against Boe, Massachusetts appellate decisions have construed the unambiguous language of G.
Balboni, Mass. Roberts, 39 Mass.
Commonwealth v. Doe, Mass. Vickey, Mass.
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More recently, in Commonwealth v. Gavin G. In that case, a juvenile was arraigned on charges of being a disorderly person and participating in an affray, but the Commonwealth was unable to proceed when two witnesses failed to appear for trial, so the judge dismissed the cases without prejudice. The juvenile filed a motion to expunge his police and probation records, which a judge in the Juvenile Court allowed.
In reversing that portion of the expungement order directed to the commissioner, [Note 9] we pointed out. However, our decision in that case continued, "[c]onspicuously absent from [the] entire legislative scheme governing court and probation records, whether for adults or juveniles, is any suggestion that the Legislature intended such records to be destroyed" emphasis in original. Significantly, for our purposes here, the court recognized that:. When addressing the precise predicament of a wrongfully accused adult unfairly acquiring a criminal record, the Legislature still opted for sealing, not destruction or expungement of records.
As to both juveniles and adults, the Legislature is apparently satisfied with provisions for confidentiality and sealing of records to address the precise problem posed by such wrongful or mistaken accusations of criminal conduct" footnote omitted. We recognize that in certain limited circumstances, expungement of a defendant's criminal record has been permitted. In Police Comm'r of Boston v.
Municipal Court of the Dorchester Dist.