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Commonwealth v. Powell (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-095-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us     SJC‑11362   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ERROL POWELL.[1]     Bristol.     February 6, 2014.  ‑  June 6, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Delay in commencement of prosecution.  Due Process of Law, Delay in commencement of prosecution.  Practice, Criminal, Admissions and confessions, Arraignment, Delay in commencement of prosecution, Motion to suppress.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on August 19, 2010.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by John P. Connor, Jr., J.   An application for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Botsford, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk, and the appeal was reported by her.     Roger L. Michel, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Richard B. Klibaner for the defendant.     CORDY, J.  The defendant in this case has been charged with murder in the first degree and other crimes arising out of the shooting of Jonathan Nieves, who was mistaken for a member of a rival gang, on or about February 26, 2010.  The defendant was interrogated by police following his arrest and after being held for approximately nine hours in the Fall River police station while awaiting his initial appearance in the local District Court.  During that interrogation, he made several inculpatory statements.  Those statements were subsequently suppressed as violative of the rule we established in Commonwealth v. Rosario, 422 Mass. 48, 56 (1996), which renders inadmissible custodial statements made more than six hours after arrest and before being brought to court for arraignment.  The Commonwealth asks us to revisit the Rosario rule.  Because we are of the view that the rule continues to serve as an important and practical protection of the constitutional and common-law rights of persons arrested for violations of the criminal laws, we decline to do so.  Accordingly, we affirm the allowance of the defendant’s motion to suppress. Background.  We consider the facts as set forth in the motion judge’s findings after an evidentiary hearing, at which four police officers testified, supplemented by uncontroverted facts in the record that were implicitly credited by the motion judge.  See Commonwealth v. Isaiah I., 448 Mass. 334, 337 (2007), S.C., 450 Mass. 818 (2008). On February, 26, 2010, or in […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm

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