201708.03
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CAN THE POLICE LOOK IN MY UNDERWEAR FOR DRUGS AFTER THEY PULL ME OVER?

In April of 2016, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided the case of Commonwealth v. Amado, in which the Court reversed a Massachusetts Appeals Court decision that affirmed a jury’s conviction of the defendant for trafficking cocaine.  The defendant’s pretrial motion to suppress the contraband was denied by the trial judge, but the SJC ruled…

201707.19
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THE DURATIONAL LIMITS ON A ROUTINE TRAFFIC STOP

In the 2017 case of Commonwealth v. Cordero, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that a police officer could not legally detain a driver in order to wait for a drug-sniffing dog to arrive on the scene, once the police officer had dealt with the motor vehicle infraction and had verified that the driver was…

201705.18
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UTTERING A FALSE CHECK REQUIRES MORE THAN WRITING BAD CHECKS

In Commonwealth v. Bonilla, the Massachusetts Appeals Court overturned a conviction of uttering a false instrument, holding that, where a defendant deposits checks into several new bank accounts, knowing that the checks are bad because there is no money in the account tied to those checks, the defendant commits a larceny when he subsequently withdraws…

201705.04
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ARE THE POLICE ALLOWED TO TOW MY CAR WHEN I’M ARRESTED?

Whether because of the lower standard applied to motor vehicle stops (often reasonable suspicion instead of probable cause), or whether due to another reason, a great number of arrests begin with a motor vehicle stop.  When the police arrest the driver of a vehicle, one issue that must be addressed immediately is what to do…

201704.28
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PRETRIAL DIVERSION UNDER THE VALOR ACT

In 2012, the Massachusetts legislature enacted the VALOR Act, which, among other things, amended the pretrial diversion procedures in the criminal courts so as to allow judges flexibility when dealing with military veterans.  Defense attorneys and prosecutors have been arguing over the correct interpretation and implementation of the statute ever since. The most common disagreement…

201704.20
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ALL I TOLD THE POLICE WAS “I DON’T KNOW.”

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 268, section 13B criminalizes “witness intimidation.”  This exceptionally broad statute prohibits a panoply of conduct, and perhaps most often comes into play when an individual grabs a cellphone from another person who is alleged to have been trying to call the police.  I have represented many clients charged with “witness intimidation”…