Martin v. CommonwealthAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court held that a defendant who has been serving the incarcerated portion of an illegal sentence imposed by the appellate division of the superior court has the same double jeopardy protections as a defendant who has been serving the incarcerated portion of an illegal sentence imposed by a single superior court judge.
Defendant was convicted of indecent assault and battery. The appellate division revised Defendant's sentence by reducing the period of incarceration on two counts to from four to six years in prison. After it was discovered that Defendant's sentence was illegal the appellate division reversed the incarcerated portion of Defendant's sentence to concurrent terms of from five to six years. Defendant filed a petition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 arguing that his resentence violated common-law principles of double jeopardy. The single justice denied the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding (1) when sufficient time has lapsed even an illegal sentence becomes final, and double jeopardy principles preclude the State from making upward adjustments to the sentence; and (2) Defendant was entitled to judgment on his petition.