Posts tagged "1001114"

Commonwealth v. Gentile (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-011-14)

NOTICE: All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   SJC‑11372   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  CONAN GENTILE. Worcester.     November 7, 2013.  ‑  January 14, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Search and Seizure, Arrest, Warrant, Reasonable suspicion, Consensual entry by police, Fruits of illegal search.  Constitutional Law, Search and seizure, Arrest, Reasonable suspicion.  Evidence, Result of illegal search.  Practice, Criminal, Motion to suppress.  Receiving Stolen Goods.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on August 13, 2010.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by James R. Lemire, J., and the cases were tried before Janet Kenton-Walker, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Cathryn A. Neaves for the defendant. Jane A. Sullivan, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.       GANTS, J.  The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and art. 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights require that police who enter an individual’s residence to execute an arrest warrant “have a reasonable belief that the location to be searched is the arrestee’s residence, and a reasonable belief that the arrestee is in his residence at the time the arrest warrant is executed.”  Commonwealth v. Silva, 440 Mass. 772, 778 (2004).  See Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 603 (1980) (“an arrest warrant founded on probable cause implicitly carries with it the limited authority to enter a dwelling in which the suspect lives where there is reason to believe the suspect is within”).  In Silva, supra at 776-777, we stated that the “reasonable belief” standard is “less exacting than probable cause.”  The issue presented in this case is how much less exacting.  We conclude that a “reasonable belief” requires more than was known here at the time of entry.  Therefore, the entry was unconstitutional under both the Fourth Amendment and art. 14, and the observation and subsequent seizure of the stolen property allegedly received by the defendant in this case should have been suppressed as a fruit of the illegal entry.  Because both of the defendant’s convictions for receipt of stolen property, in violation of G. L. c. 266, § 60, rest entirely on this illegally seized property, we vacate the convictions and remand the case to the Superior Court for entry of an order of dismissal. Background.  We summarize the relevant evidence in the Commonwealth’s […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 14, 2014 at 8:03 pm

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