201907.12
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CO-DEFENDANT’S GUILTY PLEA NOT ADMISSIBLE AT TRIAL

In Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Palermo (July 11, 2019), the Supreme Judicial Court held that a docket sheet evidencing a co-defendant’s guilty plea for assault with a dangerous weapon should not have been admitted into evidence. The defendant was convicted of simple assault and threatening to commit a crime, in connection with a multi-person skirmish….

201902.11
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THE POLICE PROMISED ME A DEAL IF I COOPERATED

You need not have personal experience with police interrogation in order to be familiar with a common tactic employed by the police. An episode or two of a reality-television “cop” show should suffice. Often, the police will suggest that it is in the suspect’s best interest to speak with them. Statements such as, “I’m trying…

201901.30
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WHAT IS THE LAW CONCERNING DRINKING ALCOHOL IN PUBLIC?

The recent case of Commonwealth v. Bones explains the interrelationship between the General Laws of Massachusetts, and the ordinances and bylaws of the various municipalities in the Commonwealth. The case involved, among other issues, the question whether an individual may be arrested for drinking in public. The pertinent facts are these, namely: the defendant was…

201805.20
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THE POLICE DIDN’T READ ME MY RIGHTS!

As a criminal defense practitioner for over a decade, I have frequently sat down to my first meeting with a client and been told that the police did not advise them of their Miranda right to remain silent. More often than not, my response is that it doesn’t matter. After disappointing my client with the…

201803.04
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CAN THE POLICE SEARCH UNDER THE HOOD OF MY CAR?

Generally, the police need probable cause to search the interior of a vehicle. Because of the inherent mobility of motor vehicles, and because of the lowered expectation of privacy that drivers have relative to their homes, a search warrant is usually not necessary. One way the police can get around the requirement of probable cause…