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  News from the Courts  - A Legal Blog

 SJC Recognizes Ability to Pay as Bail Factor

September 1, 2017  -  by Liam Scully

Far too often defendants are held for months or years on bails that they can't make just because they are poor while the same defendant, if he or she just had access to resources, would be free until trial. In Stack v. Boyle, the U.S. Supreme Court stated: "This traditional right to freedom before conviction permits the unhampered preparation of a defense, and serves to prevent the infliction of punishment prior to conviction. . . . Unless this right to bail before trial is preserved, the presumption of innocence, secured only after centuries of struggle, would lose its meaning". Read More

 How Far Can The Police Go In Searching A Car After It Runs A Stop Light?

June 23, 2016  -  by Liam Scully

It's always troubling when a civil motor vehicle stop turns into a full blown search and seizure leading to a criminal prosecution. These cases are litigated every day in District Courts across Massachusetts with mixed results, often turning on subtle details. As a lawyer, its crucial to recognize the significant of these details ahead of time in order to win motions to suppress evidence on behalf of clietns. A good example is the case of Commonwealth v. Meneide (Appeals Court No. 2015-P-0124) – (June 1, 2016) where the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the judge's allowance of the defendant's motion to suppress a gun found by the police in his car, but denied the motion in regard to a quantity of marijuana found in the defendant's pockets. Read More

 Get Your Breathalyzer Test Thrown Out of Court!

April 29, 2016  -  by Liam Scully

I believe that someday the breath testing devices will be completely discredited as unreliable. But for now we are still fighting these results on a case by case basis. But there are more successful challenges being made every day. The most significant one recently is an out of state case, but still has implications here in Massachusetts. This past week, a Vermont judge ruled that a drunken-driving breath test taken more than two hours after police stop a driver is too inexact to be considered evidence in court. The judge threw out delayed breath test evidence in 25 drunken-driving cases in a decision that is expected to be appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court.... Read More

 Massachusetts Continues to Narrowly Apply Bruton

January 31, 2016  -  by Liam Scully

In Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123 (1968), the United States Supreme Court held that a defendant's confrontation clause rights are violated when a non-testifying codefendant's confession naming the defendant as a participant in the crime is introduced at their joint trial, even if the jury is instructed to consider the confession only against the defendant. However, as a practical matter the courts of Masssachusetts continue to narrowly apply Bruton to the disadvantage of many defendants. The Appeals Court continued that trend when it decided Commonwealth v. Mitchell (Appeals Court No. 2012-P-0719) (January 28, 2016)... Read More

 Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Law Voids Search Warrant

May 5, 2015  -  by Liam Scully

With its recent decision the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court confirmed that the appearance of breaking the law is not cause enough to warrant a search of an individual or their property. In Commonwealth vs. Josiah H. Canning the defendant was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Police received a warrant to search his house in May of 2013 where they found what they expected to find: marijuana plants and the equipment to grow them. The officers had good reason to believe that the defendant was growing marijuana in his house, mostly because he was. There was just one problem, a few months before the medical marijuana law went into effect in Massachusetts... Read More

 Massachusetts Breathalyzer Reliability in Question

April 24, 2015  -  by Liam Scully

Are breathalyzer results reliable?  Should they be used as evidence in a DUI case?  For years some lawyers have questioned the use of such evidence, comparing it to a polygraph, or lie detector test, saying that they are known to work improperly and give misreads. Now there comes word that State Prosecutors were informed in mid-March by the Office of Alcohol Testing there was an issue with tests given to several identified defendants. The problem seems to stem from some machines not being properly calibrated.  The Massachusetts State Police is conducing an investigation, and in the wake of that several counties have suspended using the results of breathalyzer tests for the time being. Although people are saying that the number of cases involved is small, at this time there is not telling how many tests were incorrect... Read More

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS SCULLY & LAGOS serves clients in Boston, Massachusetts, and across the state, including the cities and towns of: Amesbury, Andover, Avon, Belmont, Beverly, Boxford, Braintree, Brookline, Burlington, Cambridge, Canton, Carlisle, Cohasset, Concord, Danvers, Dedham, Dorchester, Dover, Framingham, Franklin, Gloucester, Haverhill, Holbrook, Ipswich, Lexington, Lincoln, Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Marlborough, Marshfield, Medfield, Medway, Melrose, Methuen, Middleton, Millis, Natick, Needham, Newburyport, Newton, Norwood, Peabody, Plymouth, Quincy, Randolph, Rockport, Salem, Saugus, Scituate, Sharon, Sherborn, Stoughton, Sudbury, Swampscott, Topsfield, Walpole, Wayland, Wellesley, Weston, Weymouth, Winchester and Cape Cod.

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