Dispositions and Sentencing Advocacy

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Book Chapter

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Eric Blumenson, Arthur B. Leavens




Following a guilty plea or guilty verdict in the superior or district court, the Commonwealth will move for sentencing. This is a procedural formality, and is done even if the Commonwealth intends to seek a delay in the sentencing hearing. By statute, the district attorney must move for sentencing not later than seven days after a verdict or guilty plea1 In addition, Mass. R. Crim. P. 28(b) entitles a defendant to be sentenced “without unreasonable delay.” The actual date and time for sentencing is left to the discretion of the Court.2 Massachusetts courts have typically assumed that the Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial encompasses a similar right to speedy sentencing, 3 but in those cases where the defendant has objected to a delay, the Court has found no error.4

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