Archive | News

RSS feed for this section

Breath Test Use OK’d

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that whatever problems existed with certain breath test machines have apparently been “fixed”, and it appears that “business as usual” will resume.  More detailed information on what exactly what the problem(s) were is going to continue to surface, however, and that could lead to more effective challenges to the […]

Breath Test Update

    Issues with chemical breath testing state wide have created a “buzz” (no pun intended) among the criminal defense bar here in Western Massachusetts. Too early to tell what, if any, effect it may have on future OUI prosecutions, but our local paper is following the story closely. http://www.gazettenet.com/home/16678214-95/though-no-sign-of-problematic-breathalyzer-readings-in-hampshire-and-franklin-counties-northwestern-

Supreme Court Restricts Police

The Supreme Court handed down an important Fourth Amendment decision yesterday in Rodriguez v. United States, prohibiting police from extending the duration of a traffic stop without reasonable suspicion, even for a very small amount of time, for reasons unrelated to vehicle and driver safety. It’s reassuring that the “Roberts” Court, known for its conservative […]

The Breath Test Dilemma

  One aspect of Massachusetts criminal law that can sometimes affect the lives of decent, otherwise law-abiding citizens pertains to “operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor” (OUI).  A question criminal defense attorneys are asked all the time is: “If I ever get busted for OUI (‘drunk driving’) should I take a breath test?” First […]

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 […]