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.