Posts tagged "1016015"

Commonwealth v. Rodriguez (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-160-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11814   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ELIVETTE RODRIGUEZ.       Bristol.     March 5, 2015. – September 22, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Marijuana.  Threshold Police Inquiry.  Search and Seizure, Threshold police inquiry, Reasonable suspicion.  Constitutional Law, Investigatory stop, Reasonable suspicion.       Complaint received and sworn to in the New Bedford Division of the District Court Department on April 27, 2012.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Joseph I. Macy, J.   An application for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Gants, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk, and the appeal was reported by him to the Appeals Court.  The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     John L. Calcagni, III, for the defendant. Corey T. Mastin, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     BOTSFORD, J.  This case, in which the defendant appeals from the denial of her motion to suppress, centers on a motor vehicle stop based on a police officer’s detection of an odor of burnt marijuana coming from the vehicle.  It requires us to evaluate further the impact of G. L. c. 94C, §§ 32L-32N, inserted by St. 2008, c. 387, §§ 2-4, which decriminalized possession of one ounce or less of marijuana.  For the reasons discussed hereafter, we conclude that at least in a stop such as this one, where there was at best reasonable suspicion to believe that a civil marijuana infraction was occurring, but not probable cause, the stop was impermissible.  Accordingly, the order denying the defendant’s motion to suppress must be reversed. 1.  Background.  To provide context, we summarize the evidence presented at the hearing on the defendant’s motion to suppress.[1]  On the evening of April 26, 2012, Detective Daniel Amaral of the New Bedford police department was driving an unmarked police cruiser assisting a narcotics surveillance team of police officers when he came upon a motor vehicle that he had stopped once before.  During the earlier stop, Amaral had arrested the woman who normally drove that vehicle for heroin possession.  He knew that the surveillance team was interested in the vehicle because of its connection to the earlier drug-related arrest.  Accordingly, he followed the vehicle and thereafter received instruction from the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 22, 2015 at 7:27 pm

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