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Why you may be able to vacate an Old OUI conviction in Massachusetts?  For the past two years, over 30 DelSignore Law clients have been involved in the breath test litigation in Concord District Court.  It was a 6:00 meeting with myself and a group of Massachusetts OUI lawyers where we discussed the upcoming litigation regarding the breath test source code.  At DelSignore Law, we initially joined approximately 30 clients to the litigation who took breath tests.  As the breath test litigation took additional time, more clients were joined to this statewide litigation.

The litigation took about two years, as every aspect of the machine was tested by the defense.  Judge Brennan ultimately ruled that the breath test had a reliable source code, that it was specific enough for alcohol and that the partition ratio was scientifically reliable.  He essentially rejected all of the defenses scientific attacks on the machine.  However, he made a major ruling that resulted in two years of breath tests being excluded from evidence.  Those were tests prior to September 14, 2014.  In his original ruling, the results were only presumptively excluded meaning that the Commonwealth could seek to introduce them. Ultimately, the breath tests were excluded in all of our cases that were part of the litigation as the Commonwealth was never able to meet this burden in court to admit the test results.


 The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the dismissal of an OUI charge by a Superior Court judge after the officer did not issue a citation until 9 days after and the defendant did not receive notice until five or six months later.  

     The defendant in Commonwealth v. O’Leary was indicted on an OUI subsequent offense, meaning that it was greater than a Fourth offense.  His case involved a common situation that Massachusetts OUI Lawyers encounter.  He got into a one car accident and was taken to the hospital.  When the officer got to the hospital it appeared as though O’leary was intoxicated.  He admitted to a couple of beers, had bloodshot and glassy eyes as well as slurred speech.  

The officer informed the defendant that he would receive a summons in the mails for OUI.  The officer had to seek approval of the report and did not issue the summons until nine days later.  This was an important fact that came out at the motion hearing as the motion judge found no good reason for the nine day delay.  

With an increase in OUI drugs arrests in Massachusetts, Massachusetts OUI Lawyers can expect to see an increase in OUI drugs arrests.  In serious case, there is likely to be forensic testing of blood for drugs.  In OUI alcohol cases, typically a suspect will be asked to take a breath test.  In case involving, injuries to the operator believe to be under the influence, forensic testing of the blood may be requested in cases involving serious bodily injury or death.  Recently, I attended a seminar called Serious Science sponsored by the National College of DUI Defense.  This seminar featured a first hand view of the Science with a visit to the University of Texas Lab at its Arlington campus.  This was an excellent event run by a Andrew Mischlove, Joe St. Louis and Virginia Landry, lawyers I have known for many years. They were assisted by two other outstanding lawyers who work with the Gerry Spence Trial College Kimberly Benjamin from Missouri and Franciso Durate from Washington State.  

Gas Chromatography separates the elements of a compound for analysis by a forensic scientist.  What happens is the machine takes an element and transforms it into the gas phase for analysis.  The machine then determines what type of substance is being analyzed by the retention time. As part of our work in the lab, we created standards; these standards are used so that there is a known solution that is put into the machine that comes out at a specific time.  The unknown standard is then compared to the known standard that are prepared in the laboratory.

Liquid Chromatography is also another type of separation analysis where the compounds are turned into a liquid instead of a gas.  Liquid Chromatography allows for greater depth of analysis as some compounds cannot be transformed into a gas phase; the use of liquid chromatography is the most accurate way to detect drugs in the blood steam.

Does Double Jeopardy bar prosecution for the Same crime in Federal and State Court?  A series of petition for certiorari before the United States Supreme Court ask the Court to address whether the Double Jeopardy Clause bars either the State or Federal Government from prosecuting a person for the same crime when the other entity has already convicted the individual.

The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment states that no person shall be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy life or limb.  The Clause does not distinguish between State versus federal government.  The United States Supreme Court has interpreted this clause as not barring prosecution in State and federal court on the theory that each is a separate sovereign entity.  The three petition for Certiorari all ask the Court to revisit this doctrine.

In support of the petition in Gamble v. United States, the defense argues that at the time of the court decision in it was very rare to have both federal and state prosecutions, but with the expansion of federal law, dual prosecutions have become more common. The dual sovereign doctrine was formed in cases from the 1800s and was reaffirmed in a case called Bartkus v. Illinois, 359 u.S. 121 (1959).  The defense points to the concurring opinion of Justice Ginsburg and Justice Thomas in Puerto Rico v. Sanchez Ville, 136 S.Ct. 1863 (2016) suggesting that the doctrine should be revisited as reason for the Court to grant certiorari.

The Massachusetts SJC will soon release a decision that could have a major impact on how addiction and drug offenses are treated in Court.  The case of Commonwealth v. Julie Eldred involves a very common situation that occurs in the district courts.  The defendant agreed to a plea on the charge of Larceny over $ 250.00; as part of that plea, the defendant was to remain drug free with random screens.  The defendant received a CWOF or continuance without a finding which is technically not a criminal conviction in Massachusetts.

The defendant tested positive for fentanyl; the judge in the Concord District Court detained the defendant until she could find a bed in an in-patient treatment, pending a final violation hearing.  At the final violation hearing, the defense filed a motion to change the condition of probation to remove drug free, arguing the the defendant because of her addiction could not comply with that condition.  The district court judge reported the question to the appeals courts, and the SJC accepted the case for direct appellate review.

The defense argued that the court cannot impose conditions designed for someone to fail.  This reasoning is derived from the case of Commonwealth v. Henry, 475 Mass. 117 (2016) where the SJC held that the court must address someone’s ability to pay before ordering restitution as a condition of probation.  

Celebrity rap-superstar Nelly is fighting back after allegedly sexually assaulting a Seattle woman on his tour bus back in October of 2017 and sexually assaulting two women in England, beginning in 2016. Nelly recently filed a countersuit, denying all allegations of sexual assault and rape, and requested that the amended complaint filed against him be dismissed by the judge.

According to the filed complaint, the woman, in this case, is alleging that Nelly raped her on his tour bus in Seattle outside of a Walmart, where he was stopped last year amid his world tour. The amended complaint also includes claims from two other women, that Nelly sexually assaulted them after performances in England in June of 2016 and in December of 2017.

6e149373b26e0cb1b9688d57ad5e2518-300x225In Seattle, the women allegedly called 911 in the parking lot of the Walmart following the assault; she told police that she went to Nelly’s bedroom with him on the tour bus, where he masturbated in front of her and forced himself on her while she was under the influence of alcohol.

In McCoy v. Lousiana, the United States Supreme Court will address the issue of who has the authority to control the decision to admit guilt, the lawyer or the client.  Can the Lawyer for strategy reasons, concede guilt to avoid the death penalty?  This was the issue facing a criminal defense lawyer who despite his client’s wishes conceded guilty to spare his client the death penalty.  The strategy failed.  His client appealed to the United States Supreme Court arguing that a lawyer cannot concede guilty over his clear objection.

The defendant wanted to maintain his innocence, but the lawyer disagreed and required the defendant plead guilty in order to avoid the death penalty.  The issue raised by this case is that even if it is a good strategy to concede guilt, can the lawyer make that decision over the client’s objection.

In a criminal case, there are certain decisions that the client has absolute control over:

A Florida pre-teen was found dead in her home in Glades, Florida on January 10. The alleged culprits in the case, two middle-schoolers, are facing cyberstalking charges after one of their classmates, Gabriella Green, took her own life after being harassed on the internet through various social media platforms.

Cyberbullying, as defined by the United State Government, is bullying that takes place using electronic technology.  Essentially, the term “cyberbullying” describes the act of harassing, threatening or intimidating another individual via electronic means such as by use of cell phones, computers, tablets, and social media platforms.

Cyberbullying is illegal in Florida as well as in states across the country and can result in criminal charges. Generally speaking, cyberbullying is a crime most prominent among young adults, teenagers, and preteens. It is a crime of the generation; social media platforms are becoming increasingly popular “weapons” for teenagers to bully one another.

A judge in Iowa recently dismissed “Bachelor” Chris Soules constitutional challenge to an Iowa law, which requires any surviving driver involved in a fatal accident to remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives. Soules’ argument comes as he is trying to avoid prison, after fatally rear-ending a neighbors tractor; Soules was ultimately charged with leaving the scene of a fatal car crash, a class D felony charge, for his role in the April accident that resulted in the death of his neighbor. If convicted of the crime, Soules could face up to 5 years in an Iowa State prison.

The law in which Soules is seeking to challenge states specifically that “a surviving drier shall promptly report the accident . . . and should immediately return to the scene of the fatal accident or inform law enforcement where he or she can be located following the accident”. Prosecutors in the case are making their arguments clear that Soules completed neither of the above-mentioned requirements. He left the scene following the accident and did not attempt to make his whereabouts known to authorities.

Soules attorneys worked to highlight many of the steps Soules took following the incident to help his neighbor; he called 911 following the accident and identified himself as being involved in the accident, administered CPR to the suffering victim, and remained at the scene until the ambulance arrived. The major issue surrounding the case is that Soules was driven home before law enforcement arrived.

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