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Commonwealth v. Perkins (and 19 companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-111-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11160   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  FABIAN PERKINS (and nineteen companion cases[1]).     Worcester.     February 7, 2013.  ‑  June 14, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.     Search and Seizure, Arrest, Automobile, Expectation of privacy, Plain view, Probable cause, Search incident to lawful arrest.  Constitutional Law, Search and seizure.  Probable Cause.  Practice, Criminal, Suppression of evidence by prosecutor.  Firearms.  Motor Vehicle, Firearms.  Controlled Substances.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on June 25, 2008.   Pretrial motions to suppress evidence were heard by Tina S. Page, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Stephen J. Carley, Assistant District Attorney (Michelle R. King, Assistant District Attorney, with him) for the Commonwealth. Vincent F. Ricciardi, Jr., for Fabian Perkins. Brad P. Bennion for Tareek Hendricks. J. Gregory Batten for Elijah Cherry.     LENK, J.  Late on a May evening in 2008, a Worcester police officer pulled over an automobile for a traffic offense.  Once the automobile came to a stop, defendants Tareek Hendricks and Elijah Cherry, both passengers in the vehicle, left the automobile and walked toward an adjacent apartment building.  The officer ordered them to return to the automobile, but they disregarded the order and hastily left the scene.  Defendant Fabian Perkins, the driver of the automobile, was found to possess a learner’s permit but not a valid driver’s license.  He was arrested for driving without a valid license.  Subsequently, the arresting officer, and another officer who had arrived at the scene, searched the automobile and found a firearm, marijuana, and a substance believed to be “crack” cocaine.  Each of the defendants was charged with various drug and firearm offenses. Prior to trial, the defendants moved to suppress the evidence seized from the automobile.  After an evidentiary hearing, a Superior Court judge allowed the defendants’ motions to suppress, ruling that the warrantless search of the automobile was not justified under any exception to the warrant requirement.  The Commonwealth’s motion to reconsider was denied.  The Commonwealth appealed, and we transferred the case to this court on our own motion.   Because there was no error in the judge’s finding that the firearm was not in plain view, because the search cannot be justified as a search incident to […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 15, 2013 at 1:34 am

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