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Massachusetts Appellate Court Decides Stop and Frisk Case 

The controversial police method of stop and frisk had been heavily debated since its inception. However, some courts have held stop and frisks to be legal so long as there is a reasonable justification. The Massachusetts Appellate Court looked at this issue in Commonwealth v. Privette

What happened in the Privette case?

Can a person be convicted of homicide despite having no weapon, no intention, and no reason to kill a co-conspirator? The United States Supreme Court may decide this in the case of City of Hayward v. Jessie Lee Jetmore Stoddard-Nunez

On March 2nd, 2017, Jessie Stoddard-Nunez and his younger brother Shawn were at a party at their apartment. Their friend, Pakman, also attended the gathering. While at the party, Shawn and Pakman consumed alcohol. As the men drank, they became intoxicated and violent. Packman physically fought with Stoddard-Nunez, punching and restraining him. Eventually, Pakman and Shawn left the apartment and drove away despite both being intoxicated. 

Office Troche was on patrol at the time with a ride-along passenger. Troche noticed Pakman’s Honda Civic driving erratically, as Pakman ran a stop sign, red light, and was swerving lanes. Troche began to follow Pakman’s vehicle. Pakman then parked the car in a parking lot and Troche blocked him into the parking lot with his vehicle. 

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Decides Body Camera Case 

In the aftermath of the 2014 Michael Brown shooting by a law enforcement offer, police departments all across the country began to require officers to wear body cameras while on duty. Body cameras were meant to protect citizens from police misconduct. But, what if body camera footage is used against you in court? The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided today Commonwealth v. Yusuf the question of whether body camera footage capturing the inside of someone’s home requires a warrant. 

What happened in the Yusuf case?

Escalators are unique machines as they are in constant use but are rarely under supervision. Courts have considered under what circumstances manufacturers, installers, owners, or maintainers of escalators can be liable for injuries resulting from an escalator.

Common Carriers

In the United States, a common carrier is a person or other commercial enterprise that transports passengers for a fee and establishes that their service is open to the general public. Some common examples of a common carrier are railroads, airlines, and taxi services. Common carriers are held to a slightly higher standard of care than individuals, they are required to provide their passengers with the utmost duty of care. For example, common carriers are liable for injuries suffered by passengers as a result of a carrier’s negligence but do not ensure passenger safety. Companies and drivers are not responsible for injuries that happen because of causes that are out of their control.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Decides Juror Discrimination Case 

During jury selection, attorneys are allowed to object to a proposed juror without giving a reason for the objection. This is called a peremptory challenge. However, attorneys throughout history have used peremptory challenges to strike jurors based on racial stereotypes. In the 1986 case of Batson v. Kentucky, the United States Supreme Court held that a prosecutor cannot use peremptory challenges to exclude jurors solely on the basis of race. 

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held Commonwealth v. Carter that it was an abuse of discretion for the trial judge not to require the prosecution to provide a race-neutral reason for its challenge of at least one Black juror. 

Occasionally, an upcharge of prices for a service is an honest mistake or a misunderstanding. However, when a worker overcharges a person on purpose, this can be considered larceny. In Commonwealth v. Watterson the Massachusetts Appeals Court examined a case where a defendant targeted and overcharged elderly customers for his services. 

Defendant Watterson provided services as an oil burner technician, plumber, and drain specialist. The State alleged that he targeted and stole from various elderly and unsuspecting customers. The judge found him guilty of one count of larceny by false pretenses and one count of larceny from an elderly person. Defendant challenged the sufficiently of the evidence. 

What happened in the Watterson case? 

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Decides Admissibility of Cell Site Location Information

Cell site location information (CSLI) is a highly controversial form of evidence used in courts across the country. CSLI allows cell phone companies to give your location information to law enforcement if you are a suspect in a crime. CSLI raises many privacy and seizure issues, including an issue surrounding the right to privacy. Is CSLI too intrusive, or is it a technology that will lower rates of violent crime?

In Commonwealth v. Louis, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court released a holding that may be detrimental to future cyber-privacy rights.

A sex abuse and Fourth Amendment case is currently pending before the United States Supreme Court. In the case of Ohio v. Deuble, undercover officers viewed a defendant texting on his phone and observed the notifications on the phone to use as cause to arrest the defendant.

This case asks two questions; the first question being whether probable cause existed under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to detain a person suspected of soliciting sexual activity from an undercover officer posing as a minor through social medial where the person’s identity is corroborated through the person’s actions.

In this case, the Respondent never actually “met” the “teenage girl” he was sexting with online. But, the Respondent agreed to meet the law enforcement officer posing as a minor for sexual activity and was the only person observed at the agreed meeting location using his cell phone as the law enforcement officer posing as the minor sent communications to the suspect through a social media application.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Decides Miranda Rights Case, Can a Person Re-Invoke Their Right to Have an Attorney Present?

Many of us know from film and television that we have the right to remain silent after being arrested. This is one part of our Miranda rights. But what happens when we revoke those rights and then attempt to re-invoke them? The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court examined this issue in Commonwealth v. Edward Gonzalez.

What happened in the Gonzalez case?

Many cities across the country use unreliable measures to justify racially motivated, unconstitutional, stops and searches disguised as a traffic stop. In Commonwealth v. Bailey-Sweeting, the Supreme Judicial Court has the opportunity to make one of these incidents right.

Despite the Black population of New Bedford making up just 7% of the city’s population, Black people accounted for 46% of those subjected to police field incidents since 2020. New Bedford has cracked down on suspected gang activity in recent years, and the racial disparities appear here as well. Nearly 1 in 10 Black males living in New Bedford are labeled as verified gang members by the city.

What happened in the Bailey-Sweeting case?

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