Supreme Judicial Court (June 8, 2007)

A judge does not have authority to sentence a defendant to a continuation without a finding on a charge of misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide.

The defendant admitted to facts sufficient to warrant a guilty finding on a complaint for misdemeanor motor vehicle homicide, G.L. c. 24G (b). Over the Commonwealth's objection, the judge continued the case without a finding. The Commonwealth filed a G.L. c. 211, § 3 appeal, arguing that a disposition of a continuation without a finding is expressly precluded by 24G(a) which reads, " [p]rosecutions commenced under this section shall neither be continued without a finding nor placed on file." The court agreed, ruling the word " section" refers to all of G.L. c. 90, §24G, encompassing both misdemeanor and felony motor vehicle homicides, and a disposition of a continuation without a finding is expressly prohibited on either offense.