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Commonwealth v. Diggs; Commonwealth v. Soto (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-112-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12008 SJC-12009   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MARCEL A. DIGGS.   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  DAMIANE K. SOTO.       Suffolk.     April 7, 2016. – July 29, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.[1]       Bail.  Arrest.  Statute, Construction.       Civil actions commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on November 9 and 17, 2015.   The cases were reported by Spina, J.     Edward Crane for the defendants. Jamie Michael Charles, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Timothy J. Cruz, District Attorney, & Robert C. Thompson, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     DUFFLY, J.  The defendants, Marcel A. Diggs and Damiane K. Soto, challenge orders for pretrial detention imposed by District Court judges after hearings at which the judges concluded that each defendant was dangerous within the meaning of G. L. c. 276, § 58A (dangerousness statute).  Under that statute, a person “held under arrest” on charges of one of an enumerated list of offenses may be subject to “a hearing to determine whether conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community.”  G. L. c. 276, § 58A (4).  The defendants argue that neither of them was “held under arrest” within the meaning of G. L. c. 276, § 58A (4), when they appeared in court to be arraigned, and therefore that they could not lawfully be subjected to a pretrial detention hearing.  The defendants each filed petitions for extraordinary relief pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, in the county court.  The single justice ordered the matters joined and reserved and reported them to the full court. We conclude that where a criminal defendant has been arrested or is subject to an outstanding arrest warrant for an enumerated offense, the defendant may be subject to pretrial detention under G. L. c. 276, § 58A (4), even if the defendant is not held in custody following the arrest, so long as the dangerousness hearing takes place “immediately upon the person’s first appearance before the court.”[2]  Id.  Accordingly, we affirm the orders of pretrial detention. Background.  1.  Damiane Soto.  Soto was arrested on charges of assaulting and threatening his pregnant girl friend, in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 13A, and G. L. c. 275, § 2.[3]  After he was booked at the Marlborough police station, Soto posted bail, which had been set at $ 1,000.  Two […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 1, 2016 at 3:56 am

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