Don Johnson (not of Miami Vice fame), like some people, are on the registry not because of actual guilt but because they accepted a plea years ago to avoid the risk of trial and because they thought it would put an unpleasant experience behind them, not knowing a registry scheme would eventually be enacted that would make their lives hell.

Don plead guilty to a sexual assault in 1994 (his sentence was one year vs. potential life if he had gone to trial), before the enactment of the registry and he’s since been struggling with registration requirements, being imprisoned for technical registration violations. While in prison, Don sought to take advantage of a 2012 law that provided, “A person may file a motion for forensic or scientific analysis under this chapter if that person: (1) has been convicted of a criminal offense in a court of the commonwealth; (2) is incarcerated in a state prison, house of correction, is on parole or probation or whose liberty has been otherwise restrained as the result of a conviction; and (3) asserts factual innocence of the crime for which the person has been convicted.”

The District Attorney argued that Don wasn’t entitled to a DNA test because he was not in prison for the sexual offense, but for failing to register as a sex offender. The Massachusetts supreme court held otherwise!


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