Mandatory GPS for Certain Sex Offenders

Massachusetts Law Updates 2014-09-08

In Commonwealth v. Guzman, the SJC decided that the sentencing judge lacked discretion on GPS as a part of probation.The defendant had pleaded guilty to disseminating visual material depicting a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct. He was charged under G.L. c. 265, sec. 47. Justice Barbara A. Lenk wrote for a unanimous court: “[W]e conclude that G.L.c. 265, §47, affords judges no discretion to decide whether GPS monitoring should apply in any particular set of circumstances; where a defendant is convicted of a qualifying offense and is sentenced to a term of probation, the sentencing judge must impose GPS monitoring as a condition of that probation.” In a similar matter, the SJC decided in Commonwealth v. Selavka that judges must follow Rule 29(a), which requires issuing the GPS order within 60 days of judgment.