201801.07
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THREATENING TO COMMIT A CRIME

In Commonwealth v. Goodness, decided in December of 2017, the Massachusetts Appeals Court provided guidance about the common law crime of threatening. Pursuant to the Criminal Model Jury Instructions, the Commonwealth must prove four things in prosecuting a charge of threatening to commit a crime. Those four things are as follows, namely: First: That the…

201712.27
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THE USE OF PROFILING TESTIMONY IN DRUG DISTRIBUTION CASES

In October of 2017, in Com. v. Smith, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the conviction of a defendant for possession of a Class B substance (crack cocaine) with intent to distribute, rejecting the defendant’s argument that a police officer was improperly allowed at trial to offer “profiling” testimony on the characteristics of a drug dealer…

201712.01
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OPERATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF MARIJUANA

Now that marijuana has been legalized in Massachusetts for those over 21, I am seeing more and more people being charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.  Questions I am frequently asked include: “how can they prove I was under the influence of marijuana?” and “what type of evidence will…

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…