In a recent case before an appeals court in Massachusetts, the defendant argued his motion to suppress incriminating evidence should have been granted by the lower court. According to the defendant, the officer that found a firearm on his person unlawfully searched him, and thus the evidence should not have been considered admissible by the trial court. On appeal, the higher court looked at the case law and ultimately determined that the officer was within his rights when he conducted the search, and that thus the firearm was admissible after all.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, police officers were executing a valid search warrant at the home of the defendant’s brother-in-law one evening in September 2018. The officers were investigating the brother-in-law for possession of illegal drugs and firearms, and they did not realize that the defendant also lived at the residence as they conducted their search. The brother-in-law was present for the officers searched his home, and he willingly cooperated throughout the process.

Midway through the officers’ search, the defendant opened the locked front door and walked into the home. One of the officers immediately approached the defendant and grabbed his wrists, afraid that he would be a threat to the rest of the search. While the officer was putting the defendant in handcuffs, he felt an object around the defendant’s waistband and found a firearm.

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The evolving methods of digital communication that Massachusetts residents are using in all aspects of their lives present challenges to lawmakers who want to ensure that state laws criminalize digital harassment and intimidation, as well as the distribution of pornographic materials. Dating in the digital age often includes electronic communications, “sexting,” and the exchange of intimate photos and videos among dating partners and others. While creating and sharing intimate photos and videos is a legally protected and acceptable practice among consenting adults, the rise of “revenge porn” presents a challenge to lawmakers.

Revenge porn includes the distribution by one party of intimate pictures, videos, and other communications which include the other party without their consent. Commonly, revenge porn distribution becomes an issue after a couple has broken up, when a party possessing intimate or embarrassing files involving the other party releases (or threatens to release) the material in an effort to hurt their former partner, or even to coerce them into taking some action.

Forty-eight states in the U.S. have laws on the books specifically criminalizing revenge porn. Massachusetts and South Carolina do not have such laws. Former Governor Charlie Baker made it a priority for the Massachusetts legislature to outlaw revenge porn in the previous legislative session, and the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed such a bill in May of last year. The State Senate, however, was unable to pass a bill to get to the governor’s desk before the session closed last month.

Earlier this month, an appeals court in Massachusetts considered whether a defendant in an assault case should be entitled to a new trial. Originally, the defendant was charged with and convicted of assault and battery on a person over the age of fourteen. Once the defendant appealed, the higher court reconsidered the conviction and decided that the defendant was eligible for a new trial.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant first threatened and then physically harmed the victim in this case in April 2016. The day after the assault occurred, the victim recounted what happened to her friend. Two months later, she decided to report the assault to a detective. The detective investigated the incident, found the defendant, and eventually arrested him on charges of assault and battery.

The case went to trial, and a jury found the defendant guilty as charged. Promptly, the defendant appealed his conviction, asking the higher court to grant him a new trial.

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In a recent case involving assault and battery by a dangerous weapon, the defendant appealed his guilty conviction before the Appeals Court of Massachusetts. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial judge allowed impermissible testimony from police officers to be submitted at trial, and this testimony made the jury unfairly biased against him. Looking at the record of the case, the higher court ultimately denied the defendant’s appeal and affirmed the original conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was arrested with one other individual in an alleyway behind a local gym. Apparently, the defendant pulled out a knife while he and the second individual were threatening a third person. The defendant cut the victim’s face, and the victim sustained minor injuries from the incident. Soon after the assault, a police officer came to the scene to arrest both the defendant and the second individual.

The defendant was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. His case went to trial, where a jury found him guilty as charged. Promptly after the verdict, the defendant appealed.

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Earlier this month, a defendant in Massachusetts asked a court of appeals to overturn his conviction for possession of a class B substance with intent to distribute. On appeal, the defendant argued that his previous attorney had not properly advised him of the immigration consequences that he would face if he entered a guilty plea. If he had known these consequences, said the defendant, he would not have pled guilty in the first place. The court of appeals reviewed the defendant’s argument and ultimately agreed with him, reversing the lower court’s verdict as a result.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant came to the United States from Guatemala as a child. Because the defendant’s parents had neglected him in Guatemala, the defendant applied for a special immigration status called “Special Immigration Juvenile” status, which allows immigrants whose parents have mistreated them to gain status in the States.

While the defendant was awaiting a decision from the judge on his Special Immigration Juvenile status case, he was charged with drug possession after an officer found him with crack cocaine. The defendant received a court-appointed attorney to help him navigate the criminal case, and that attorney failed to mention to the defendant that if he pled guilty to the crime, he would no longer be eligible for the Special Immigration Juvenile status he had been working so hard to get.

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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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