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Massachusetts Appellate Court Denies Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Based on Allegedly Illegal Stop-and-Frisk

Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Massachusetts robbery case discussing when a police officer can stop someone against their will and search them. The court ultimately determined that the officer who stopped the defendant possessed the requisite reasonable suspicion to conduct a stop-and-frisk, and thus the defendant’s motion to suppress was denied.

The Facts of the Case

Four students of Northeastern University were allegedly robbed at gunpoint. The students gave police a description of their alleged assailants. Specifically, the description given by one of the victims was that they were robbed by three men. The man with the gun was reported to be a Black man with a black hoodie and blue jeans, the second man was a heavyset Hispanic man wearing a black hoodie and a Colorado Rockies hat, and the third man was either Black or Hispanic, but the victim could not recall the man’s clothing.

Police responded to the scene, and, within a minute or so, police noticed three men walking out of a nearby home matching the description given by the victim. As the police officer approached the men, they hurriedly went back into the house. The police officer walked up to the house and knocked on the door. The mother of one of the men answered and let the officer inside.

Once inside, the officer called back up, and the officers determined that the three men matched the description. The men were arrested, and the victim was brought to the location. The victim then identified two of the three men. The defendant, a heavyset Hispanic male wearing a black hoodie and a Colorado Rockies hat, was then charged with the robbery.

In a pre-trial motion to suppress, the defendant argued that evidence of the identification should be suppressed because it followed an illegal stop-and-frisk of the defendant. The defendant claimed that the police officer had no reasonable suspicion to stop the defendant as he was leaving the home, and then to enter the home in search of the suspects.

The court, however, disagreed, finding that the officer did possess a reasonable suspicion that the men were involved in the recent robbery. The court pointed out that the description of the alleged perpetrator’s clothing was specific enough to give rise to a reasonable suspicion. Additionally, the court explained that the temporal and physical proximity to the scene of the robbery favored the officer’s decision to stop the defendant. As a result, the appellate court held that the lower court was proper to deny the defendant’s motion to dismiss.

Have You Been Arrested for a Boston Robbery?

If you have recently been arrested and charged with a crime in the Boston area, you should contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy to discuss how he can help you defend against the charges. Attorney Murphy is a dedicated Boston robbery defense attorney and has had decades of experience handling all types of cases, including robberies, assaults, gun crimes, and drug crimes. To learn more about how Attorney Murphy can help you, call 617-367-0450 to schedule a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Massachusetts Court Determines Defendant’s Statement Was Involuntary in Light of Improper Police Assurances, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published April 11, 2018

Massachusetts Court Grants Motion to Suppress Based on Officer’s Prolonged Traffic Stop, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published April 24, 2018