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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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In a recent case coming out of a Massachusetts court, five codefendants appealed their drug-related convictions. According to the defendants, the wiretap warrants that law enforcement agencies used in their investigation were unconstitutional, thus the evidence discovered as a result of these warrants should have been suppressed. The court considered each of the defendant’s appeals and ultimately affirmed the convictions of all five individuals.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, law enforcement officials came to a Superior Court judge in 2017 asking that judge to grant a series of eleven wiretap warrants. According to the officers, they were investigating a criminal drug distribution network, which was complex and difficult to understand in its full scope. With the warrants, the officers could uncover drug stash locations, the sources of the drug supply, and the different individuals involved in the operation.

The officers also explained to the judge that they had been investigating this particular drug operation since 2001. They had used confidential informants, undercover officers, physical surveillance, and video surveillance. Even with all of these investigatory methods in place, the officers had not been able to uncover all of the information they needed. They also were apprehensive that other traditional methods, such as trash pulls or interviews, would be valuable in finishing up their investigation.

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In a recent case coming out of a Massachusetts court, the defendant was found guilty of failing to register as a sex offender. Originally, the judge in the defendant’s case proposed a sentence of one to two years in prison; however, in response to this proposal, the higher court in Massachusetts issued an opinion stating that the mandatory minimum sentence for defendants convicted of this crime is five years in prison.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was convicted of rape in 2008. As a result, he was required to register as a sex offender in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Because he failed to meet this requirement, the defendant was charged with two counts of failure to register as a sex offender. He pleaded guilty to both counts.

The judge in the defendant’s case sentenced the defendant to two years of probation on the first count. On the second count, the judge declared that he was going to sentence the defendant to one to two years in prison. This second sentence, though, was dependent on the answer to a question that the judge had posed to a higher court in the Commonwealth. According to the judge involved in the defendant’s case, it was unclear under Massachusetts law whether or not a person convicted of failure to register as a sex offender can be sentenced to fewer than five years in prison. It was ambiguous whether the law stated that these offenders, in particular, must be sentenced to at least five years in prison, and the judge needed the higher court to clarify the rule before he could make a final decision on the defendant’s case.

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In a recent case involving investigators’ use of individuals’ cell phone data, a Massachusetts court determined that law enforcement infringed on the defendant’s privacy rights by using his cell phone provider’s data without first asking his permission. The court suppressed part of the incriminating evidence that had been presented against the defendant, reminding investigators that they have to have probable cause before attempting to obtain cell phone data when looking for suspects of a crime.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, throughout September and October of 2018, clerks at six stores in the Boston area were robbed at gunpoint by an unidentified suspect. On a separate occasion in the same area, a suspect shot and killed a store clerk during an attempted robbery. There were several commonalities between the incidents, including that the stores were convenience of gasoline stores, the perpetrator in all of the incidents had the same build, and the robber used similar tactics in each offense.

Investigators worked with the FBI to identify a suspect. They looked at data from “tower dumps,” which are data sets including an enormous amount of cell phone location information from towers in a given area. The investigators obtained two warrants: one relating to three of the robberies, the second relating to three of the other robberies. Each warrant required cell phone providers to hand over information about where their customers were located on the day and time of each robbery.

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In a recent firearm case coming out of a Massachusetts court, the defendant’s appeal of his guilty verdict was denied. The defendant argued that part of the evidence presented against him, an incriminating Snapchat video, should not have been admissible at trial. The court disagreed with the defendant’s argument and ultimately denied his appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was shopping at a convenience store when he went to the cashier to check out. Another customer got in line behind the defendant, and she later testified that she waited patiently as the defendant engaged in a long conversation with the cashier. At one point, the defendant turned toward the second customer and asked whether she had a problem. The customer noticed that the defendant’s zipper was undone and that a firearm was on display under his shorts.

The customer quickly left the market and called the police. A few hours later, officers were patrolling the area and found a person matching the customer’s description. They stopped the person, who happened to be the defendant in this case. At that point, the defendant did not have any weapons on his person.

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In a recent case coming out of a Massachusetts court, the defendant argued that officers did not have a legal reason to conduct a traffic stop of his vehicle. Because the officers had no reason to conduct the stop, the incriminating evidence that the officers found during the traffic stop should have been suppressed. Looking at the circumstances, the court agreed with the defendant and reversed his original guilty verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, two Boston police officers were on patrol one evening in an unmarked car. When they saw a double-parked vehicle, they went to investigate and found the defendant sitting in the back seat of the car. One of the two officers recognized the defendant from prior interactions, and the two individuals began conversing. The officers advised the defendant to move his car, and they then watched the defendant drive away.

The defendant passed several other parking spots, choosing not to park but instead to turn onto another street. At that point, the officers became suspicious and pulled the defendant over. One of the officers immediately saw a gun on the floor of the backseat, at which point the defendant was arrested.

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In a recent opinion having to do with fraudulent credit cards, a Massachusetts court reversed the lower court’s decision granting a defendant’s motion to suppress. The defendant was charged with several crimes, one of which was possession of counterfeit credit cards. The defendant had argued that incriminating evidence supporting this charge should be denied, and at first, the court agreed with him. When the Commonwealth appealed, however, the higher court reversed that decision and decided to deny the defendant’s motion to suppress.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, police officers received information in December 2017 from an attorney that represented a local furniture store regarding two fraudulent purchases of furniture. The lawyer explained that the day after the furniture was delivered to an apartment, the credit card company disputed the charges and the furniture store received a chargeback notice.

An additional order was placed by telephone to the same store shortly thereafter, and again the furniture store received notice of a chargeback. An employee of the store went to the delivery address to investigate, and the person answering the door said that he had to get ready for school, then never came back to the door.

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