Commonwealth v. Manolo M.Annotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court held that "a first offense of a [minor] misdemeanor" in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 119, 52 refers to a first episode of minor misdemeanor level misconduct.
Four juveniles with no prior offenses were charged with several offenses, including several minor misdemeanors and a felony charge of inciting a riot, all arising from the same episode. A juvenile court judge dismissed the charges of inciting a riot against all three juveniles and decided not to immediately arraign on the minor misdemeanor charges. At issue was which of the charges constitutes a first offense of a minor misdemeanor pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 119, 52. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) all of the minor misdemeanors arising out of the single episode for each juvenile constituted a first offense for which the legislature intended a second change and must be dismissed, but the Commonwealth may proceed directly to arraignment on the greater offenses; (2) there was no probable cause to support the charge of inciting a riot; and (3) Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 264, 11 must be read consistently with the limitations in Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969).