Commonwealth v. J.F.Annotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court held that a closed case that ends in an acquittal, a no bill from a grand jury, or a finding of no probable cause by the court is not a record subject to a presumption of access under the First Amendment and that the Legislature clearly abrogated the common-law presumption of access with respect to these records by its plain language in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, 100C.
Defendant was arraigned on two counts of rape while armed with a firearm and other crimes. A jury acquitted Defendant on one count of rape while armed, assault with intent to rape, and carrying a firearm without a license and deadlocked on the remaining three counts, resulting in a mistrial. The Commonwealth ultimately filed a nolle prosequi. Defendant later brought his section 100C petition to seal his criminal record as to the counts on which he was acquitted and the courts for which the nolle prosequi was filed. A judge denied the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the case for further proceedings, holding that, regarding the counts in which the nolle prosequi was entered, the judge abused his discretion when weighing the relevant interests and factors.