The court ordered pretrial detainees who had not been charged with one of an enumerated list of serious offense in Appendix A to be entitled to a rebuttable presumption of release on personal recognizance, and a hearing within two business days of the filing of a motion for reconsideration of bail and release. The Commonwealth could rebut the presumption by establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that release would result in an unreasonable danger to the community or that the individual presented a very high risk of flight. The court found that its power of superintendence did not grant it authority to “authorize courts to revise or revoke custodial sentences, to stay the execution of sentence, or to order the temporary release” of individuals currently serving sentences of incarceration, unless the individual had moved under Mass. R. Crim. P. 29 to revise or revoke their sentences in a timely manner, had a pending appeal regarding the conviction or sentences and the appeal remains pending, or had moved for a new trial under Mass. R. Crim. P. 30.
Comm. for Pub. Counsel Servs. v. Chief Justice of the Trial Court, 484 Mass. 431, 142 N.E.3d 525 (2020)
Criminal (State Charges)
Type of Court
State Highest Court
Type of Case
Post-Conviction Detention [jail or prison], Pre-Existing Health Conditions, Pretrial Detention [jail]
Compassionate Release Case
Case Tracking Number
MORE CASE INFORMATION
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Motions Partially Granted
Place of Incarceration
Name of Facility
Various Massachusetts state facilities
Eighth Amendment - Deliberate Indifference, Substantive Due Process - Punitive Detention (both 14th and 5th Amendments)
Mass. Constitution Pt. 1, Art. XXVI; Mass. Constitution Pt. 1, Art. XII
The court granted only the motions concerning pretrial detainees, but denied the motions for release of new detainees and incarcerated individuals serving sentences.
COVID-19 Positive or Symptomatic
COVID-19 in Jail Prison or Detention Center
Crowdsourced legal documents from around the country related to COVID-19 and incarceration, organized, collected, and summarized for public defenders, litigators, and other advocates. Created and managed by Bronx Defenders, Columbia Law School’s Center for Institutional and Social Change, UCLA Law COVID-19 Behind Bars Data Project, and Zealous. Mostly federal court opinions, but now expanding to states and legal filings, declarations, and exhibits.
This resource is designed to help lawyers, advocates, researchers, journalists, and others interested in challenging, remedying, or drawing attention to the grave risk that Covid-19 poses to individuals who are detained.