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Earlier this month, a court of appeals in Massachusetts reviewed the Commonwealth’s appeal of a lower court’s order in a firearms case. Originally, the lower court had granted a defendant’s motion to suppress, agreeing with the defendant that police officers had illegally retrieved a firearm from his person when investigating potentially suspicious activity. On appeal, however, the higher court reversed this ruling and decided that the officers were within their rights when they secured the firearm.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, police officers were on patrol one evening when they saw a pickup truck driving on the wrong side of the road and turning without using a signal. The officers activated their vehicle’s siren and conducted a traffic stop. As they approached, the officers noticed that there were three individuals in the truck; the passenger in the back of the truck ended up being the defendant in this case.

During the interaction between the officers and the passengers, the defendant began acting nervously. He turned his torso away from the officer and began reaching with one arm toward his leg. The officer ordered the defendant to put his hands on the headrest, but the defendant instead reached again toward his leg. The officer then ordered the defendant out of the truck, conducted a pat frisk, and found a firearm on his person. The defendant was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.

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Recently, a court of appeals in Massachusetts had to decide whether it agreed with a criminal defendant’s argument that he had been deprived of effective assistance of counsel during his trial. Originally, the defendant was charged with assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen. A trial court found him guilty, and he promptly appealed the verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, investigators in this case became suspicious that the defendant had been improperly communicating with and potentially abusing minors. The victim had written in her diary about incidents of sexual abuse from her dad, who later became the defendant in this case. To figure out if the allegations against the defendant were accurate, investigators retrieved a search warrant from the court and went to look in the defendant’s apartment. While looking around, the investigators found a cell phone with several photos of the child in the nude.

The defendant was charged with several crimes, including assault and battery of a child, posing a child in the nude, and attempting to pose a child in the nude. He was later convicted at trial.

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In a recent Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts written opinion regarding a Massachusetts Medicare false claim and larceny case, the court upheld the trial court conviction of the defendant for four counts of violating the Medicaid false claims statute, and one count of larceny over $250 by false pretenses, holding that the trial court was correct in its decisions. The Supreme Judicial Court concluded that due to a variety of reasons, the five claims made by the defendant are not compelling, and subsequently, affirmed the trial court decision.

Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, on April 8, 2014, the defendant signed a provider contract agreeing to “comply with all federal and state laws, regulations, and rules.” In 2015, the defendant overruled the assessment of a registered nurse regarding the care of two patients, directing that the two patients receive more hours than the registered nurse had determined was necessary for their care. These directions would become the basis for the larceny and Medicare false claim charges registered against the defendant.

Additionally, the defendant falsely instructed one of her employees to cover up illegal practices regarding overcharging, telling her to label them “clerical errors” and “inadvertent” even though they were intentional. Another employee involved in the defendant’s billing process raised the alarm, pointing out that home health aides working for the defendant did not have the required training certifications. When she brought this to the attention of the defendant, she was told to continue billing for the services regardless of certification level. Finally, facing an external audit, the defendant engaged in fraudulent practices, attempting to fool auditors by having files faxed to the office to convince outside observers that the files were received from external doctors when they were in fact sent by the defendant back to herself.

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In a recent opinion coming out of an appellate court in Massachusetts, the court ruled that attaching a GPS monitoring device to a criminal defendant, even during that defendant’s probation, is inherently unconstitutional. In this case, the Commonwealth argued that it needed to attach a GPS to a defendant that had been convicted of rape, citing public safety reasons in its argument. The court rejected this reasoning and decided the GPS device was too invasive of the defendant’s right to privacy to be constitutionally sound.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant and the victim in this case had been friends for several years. One night, the victim needed a place to stay and ended up sleeping on the defendant’s floor. When she awoke, the defendant informed her that he had raped her while she slept.

The victim reported the rape, and the defendant was charged. He at first claimed that the sexual intercourse was consensual, but he later went to trial and was found guilty of rape. After four years in prison, the defendant remained on parole, and this case revolved around the specific conditions of his parole.

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Recently, the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts ruled on a defendant’s appeal involving an attempted robbery and homicide. On appeal, the defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to find him guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Disagreeing with the defendant, the court affirmed the original conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant and his accomplice got into a taxicab around 1:00am in August 2018. The two passengers took a short ride in the taxi, then when they arrived at their destination, the taxi driver informed them that the ride would cost five dollars. The defendant and his accomplice first asked for change for a fifty-dollar bill, then appeared to shuffle their hands in their pockets as if they were looking for money.

Suddenly, the accomplice reached over the driver’s seat and wrapped both arms around the driver’s neck in a chokehold. The accomplice and the defendant both told the driver to hand over his money. At the same time, the defendant pulled out a three-inch tactical-style knife and pressed the blade against the driver’s body. The defendant and his accomplice exchanged words with each other such as, “just stab him” and “kill him.”

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Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued an opinion in a case involving manslaughter as well as assault and battery. In the decision, the court addressed something called the dangerousness statute, which is a law in Massachusetts that allows the Commonwealth to hold a criminal defendant without bail if that defendant is charged with at least one crime that the statute explicitly lists. On appeal, the defendant argued that he should not have been held without bail because his crime is not listed in the dangerousness statute. Agreeing with the defendant, the court rejected the Commonwealth’s argument and affirmed the defendant’s petition.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was driving an SUV when he collided with the back of a moving car. He then proceeded to sideswipe several parked cars on one side of the road. Despite these collisions, the defendant kept on driving, ultimately striking a pedestrian in the process. After hitting the pedestrian, the defendant’s SUV rear-ended another car and rolled onto its side, continuing to hit other vehicles as it rolled. There were twelve vehicles involved in the collisions, and the pedestrian ended up dying in the hospital due to her injuries.

Police officers determined that the defendant had suffered an opiate overdose immediately before the collision. The defendant also admitted that he had consumed two shots of whiskey and a few different prescription drugs preceding the crash.

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In a recent Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts written opinion regarding a Massachusetts drunk driving case, the court reversed the decision of the trial court convicting the defendant of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol (OUI) and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, holding that the trial court erred in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress. The Supreme Judicial Court concluded that blood drawn from the defendant at the hospital after a crash that was then obtained by law enforcement by warrant and tested was inadmissible as the defendant did not provide his consent to have his blood tested.

Facts of the Case

According to the court’s opinion, the driver of a pickup truck lost control and collided with a tree off the side of the road, suffering extensive front-end damage. No other cars were involved in the collision. When the police arrived, the defendant was seated in the driver’s seat and admitted to being the operator of the vehicle. The officer noticed that the defendant was unsteady on his feet and showed other signs of intoxication, including slurring his speech, glassy eyes, and the strong odor of alcohol emanating from the defendant’s person.

The defendant was transported to a nearby hospital, where the officer gave hospital personnel a “preservation of evidence letter” seeking to preserve any blood drawn during medical treatment. Police then obtained a search warrant for the defendant’s blood. The blood was seized, transported, and tested at a crime lab for blood alcohol content. The defendant was charged with an OUI in violation of §24(1)(a)(1) and negligent operation of a motor vehicle in violation of § 24 (2) (a). The police never attempted or obtained the defendant’s consent to test his blood.

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In a recent case coming out of a Massachusetts court, defendants appealed their convictions of armed home invasion, armed and masked robbery, as well as unlawfully carrying a firearm. On appeal, the defendants made several arguments, one of which was that the judge failed to provide crucial instructions to the jury during trial. Because of this error, the court vacated one of the defendant’s judgments of conviction of home invasion. The rest of the convictions were affirmed.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendants were charged after a home invasion in January 2014. Two men wearing facemasks entered the victim’s home around 9:00pm, carrying a handgun, a crowbar, zip ties, and duct tape. They dragged the victim to a safe and forced him to open it, proceeding to take $50,000 in cash and jewelry.

The men fled from the scene and got into a vehicle. A third person, one of the defendants in this case, drove the car away immediately. Through investigations into the men, officers found evidence such as jewelry, coins, and large amounts of cash in each of their possessions. The officers also found a handgun in one of the defendant’s basements. The defendants were tried together and were found guilty of armed home invasion as well as three counts each of armed and masked robbery.

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In a recent firearm case coming out of a Massachusetts court, the Commonwealth appealed a lower court’s decision in favor of a defendant who had been charged with two firearm offenses. Reviewing the Commonwealth’s appeal, the court of appeals agreed with the lower court and sided with the defendant, concluding that the officers that found the firearm on the defendant’s person did not have the right to pat him down in the first place. Given this conclusion, the lower court’s decision in favor of the defendant was affirmed.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was stopped one evening after three police officers saw him make two abrupt turns in his vehicle. The officers activated their cruiser’s blue lights, and the defendant stopped his car. Once the officers approached the defendant in the driver’s seat, the defendant and one of the officers realized they were already familiar with each other. The officer had stopped the defendant five times over the course of several years, once arresting the defendant for possession of a firearm.

In a recent case coming out of a Massachusetts court, the defendant lost his appeal challenging convictions of two counts of rape. The defendant’s argument centered around the jury selection process prior to his trial; according to the defendant, several of the jurors were too biased to be fair and impartial deciders in his case. The court of appeals disagreed and affirmed the defendant’s original convictions.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with rape after his DNA was found to match with semen that had been recovered from a victim in 2009. Between 2009 and this identification, the victim had not known who had assaulted her, but after the discovery, the defendant was located and brought forward for trial.

Before the trial began, the court conducted a standard process in which it allowed each attorney to object to potential jury members that they thought would be unfit to decide the case. On the second day of this jury selection, the judge asked prospective jurors two questions: (1) whether they thought false accusations of sexual assault were rare or infrequent, and (2) whether someone who comes forward claiming sexual assault must be telling the truth, if she has put herself through the process of indicating a sexual assault occurred.

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