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Emergency Aid Exception

On April 11, 2014 Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the “emergency aid exception” to the constitutional warrant requirement extended to police action undertaken to render emergency assistance to animals.  This was a “case of first impression”, and the ruling is sure to please animal rights activists.  For a brief summary of the facts and […]

Tracking a persons movements

Recognizing that “the digital age has altered dramatically the societal landscape”, in Commonwealth v. Augustine, (decided February 18, 2014) Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court applied state constitutional principles to subject Cellular Site Location Information (CSLI) to the protections of the warrant requirement.  The case is interesting in that the Court afforded customers’ physical location(s) (as determined […]

Massachusetts Marijuana Decriminalization

Under the Massachusetts marijuana decriminalization law, G. L. c. 94C, §§ 32L-32N, which took effect on December 4, 2008, possession of one ounce or less of marijuana is a civil, but not a criminal, violation. The Massachusetts marijuana decriminalization law has certainly influenced the constitutional parameters of police investigative practice.  Two years ago in Commonwealth […]

Seventeen Year Olds No Longer Prosecuted as Adults in Massachusetts

On September 18, 2013 Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law a bill placing 17-year-olds accused of crimes under the jurisdiction of the state’s juvenile courts. Prior to this legislation, 17-year-olds in Massachusetts were prosecuted as adults, regardless of the circumstances or severity of the offense. Thirty-nine other states and the federal government use 18 as […]

The Senate passes the LBGT anti-discrimination bill

On Thursday, November 7, 2013, the U.S. Senate approved a landmark civil rights legislation that would protect gay, lesbian and transgender employees from discrimination in the workplace. The Employment Nondiscrimination Act, or ENDA, passed the Democratic-led chamber on Thursday, 64 to 32. Arizona Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake became the latest GOP members to […]