Massachusetts Officials Want to Give Jury a Bigger Role in Dangerous Sex Offender Trials

In Massachusetts, state officials filed legislation that would allow prosecutors to demand that a jury rule on whether a sex offender is considered dangerous. Massachusetts law currently mandates that a sexually dangerous individual be civilly committed anywhere from 1 day up to the rest of his or her life at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater.

Last week, Corey Saunders, 26, was arrested for allegedly raping a 6-year-old boy at the New Bedford Library after luring the boy into the magazine racks. The boy’s mother was nearby, using a computer.

Saunders had already served four years in prison for the attempted rape of a 7-year-old boy in a foster home where Saunders had been placed. He was released in December 2006 even though three psychologists and prosecutors had said he was too dangerous to set free. Police believe that he has lived in New Bedford since August 2007 and waited until this year to register as a sex offender.

Following his arrest for the New Bedford rape incident, Saunder’s criminal defense lawyer waived his right to a dangerousness hearing. The 26-year-old has also been charged with failing to register as a sex offender within the 45 days that the law stipulates. Saunders has pled not guilty to the rape charges.

According to Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr., of the 47 trials since 1999 in Middlesex County to decide whether a convicted sex offender is sexually dangerous, 25 of the cases were determined by judges, with 60% of the offenders classified as sexually dangerous. Of the 22 cases that have gone before a jury, 68% of the offenders were ruled sexually dangerous.

Push underway to boost role of juries in dangerous sex offender trial,, February 7, 2008
Accused rapist waives right to dangerousness hearing,, February 7, 2008

Related Web Resources:

Sex Offenders,
Mass General Laws Section 178 – Sex Offender Registry Board,
If you have been charged with a sex crime in Boston, New Bedford, or anywhere in Massachusetts, you should speak with one of our Massachusetts sex crimes attorneys right away. You have a right to the best defense possible. Contact the criminal defense law firm of Altman & Altman LLP to schedule your free case evaluation today.

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