Posts tagged "1006714"

Commonwealth v. Duncan (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-067-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11373   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  HEATHER M. DUNCAN.       Essex.     December 3, 2013.  ‑  April 11, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       Animal.  Constitutional Law, Search and seizure.  Search and Seizure, Emergency.  Practice, Criminal, Motion to suppress.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Lynn Division of the District Court Department on April 19, 2011.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Ellen Flatley, J., and a question of law was reported by her to the Appeals Court.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Paul C. Wagoner, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Travis J. Jacobs for the defendant. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Virginia F. Coleman for Animal Legal Defense Fund & others. Michael W. Morrissey, District Attorney, & Tracey A. Cusick, Assistant District Attorney, for the Attorney General & others. John M. Collins for Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, Inc. Carolyn C. Van Tine for Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts.   Kate M. Fitzpatrick, of New York; Jonathan R. Lovvorn, Kimberly D. Ockene, & Aaron D. Green, of the District of Columbia, Elise VanKavage, of Utah; & Michael G. Bongiorno for Humane Society of the United States & another. Stacy Wolf & Jennifer H. Chin for American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.     LENK, J.  This case presents the question whether the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and art. 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights extends to police action undertaken to render emergency assistance to animals.[1] After receiving a telephone call from the defendant’s neighbor, police entered the defendant’s front yard without a warrant and seized three dogs that had been left outside in severely inclement winter weather.  Two of the dogs appeared to be dead, and one was extremely emaciated.  The defendant was charged with three counts of animal cruelty under G. L. c. 272, § 77.  A Superior Court judge granted the defendant’s motion to suppress evidence obtained as a result of the warrantless search  but subsequently reported a question of law, pursuant to Mass. R. Crim. P. 34, as amended 442 Mass. 1501 (2004):  “Does the ‘pure emergency’ exception to the warrant requirement extend […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm

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