If a criminal case is dismissed, a judge may seal the defendant’s record when doing so would “best serve substantial justice.” M.G. L. c. 276, § 100C.
The petition seeking to seal the defendant’s record should be accompanied by documents that
set forth facts that demonstrate good cause for overriding the presumption of public access to court records.Commonwealth v. Pon, 469 Mass. 296 (2014)
In making this determination, a judge should evaluate, at minimum, the following six factors:
“the particular disadvantages identified by the [petitioner] arising from the availability of the criminal record;
evidence of rehabilitation suggesting that the [petitioner] could overcome these disadvantages if the record were sealed;
any other evidence that sealing would alleviate the identified disadvantages;
relevant circumstances of the [petitioner] at the time of the offense that suggest a likelihood of recidivism or of success;
the passage of time since the offense and since the dismissal or nolle prosequi;
and the nature of and reasons for the particular disposition.”Id.
A hearing must be held on the matter and before the judge will enter his decision.