SJC finds lifetime parole for sex offenders unconstitutional

The state’s highest court today ruled that lifetime parole for sex offenders violates the Constitution because it gives the state Parole Board powers of the judiciary to hand down jail terms — a decision, the court acknowledged, that will allow hundreds of predators to file to vacate their parole sentences. Justice Ralph D. Gants — who was confirmed by the Governor’s Council today as chief of the Supreme Judicial Court — wrote the majority opinion for the 6-1 ruling, which noted only judges have the power to sentence offenders, not the Parole Board, which is part of the executive branch.

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