Posts tagged "1018113"

Commonwealth v. Gray (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-181-13)

NOTICE: All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11323     COMMONWEALTH  vs.  JOHN GRAY.     October 17, 2013.     Motor Vehicle, Operating under the influence.  Practice, Criminal, Motion to suppress.  Search and Seizure, Roadblock by police.  Constitutional Law, Search and seizure, Roadblock by police.       The defendant was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI), third offense, after he was stopped, and subsequently arrested, at a sobriety checkpoint conducted by the State police in September, 2010.  He filed a motion to suppress evidence related to his arrest, arguing that the screening officer — the officer who made the initial stop of the vehicles passing through the checkpoint — failed to comply with the applicable guidelines for that specific checkpoint.  After a hearing, a judge in the District Court allowed the motion.  The Commonwealth thereafter sought leave from a single justice of this court to pursue an interlocutory appeal.  The single justice allowed the Commonwealth’s application and directed the appeal to the Appeals Court.     The Commonwealth argued before the Appeals Court that the key finding of fact that formed the basis for the judge’s decision to allow the motion was clearly erroneous.  The judge had found that the screening officer, Sergeant Paul D’Auteuil, improperly asked the defendant questions such as where he was coming from and whether he had anything to drink before Sergeant D’Auteuil had observed any articulable signs of intoxication.  Sergeant D’Auteuil clearly testified at the hearing on the motion to suppress, however, that he did not ask any questions of the defendant (or any other driver passing through the sobriety checkpoint) until after he had observed signs of possible intoxication.  There was no evidence to the contrary.  The Commonwealth also argued, before the Appeals Court, that the guidelines applicable to the checkpoint allowed Sergeant D’Auteuil to question the defendant as he did — after observing signs of intoxication — and that if the judge had not erred in finding that Sergeant D’Auteuil questioned the defendant before observing signs of intoxication, the judge would have denied the motion to suppress because what Sergeant D’Auteuil actually did complied with the applicable guidelines.   A panel of the Appeals Court agreed with the Commonwealth that the judge’s decision was based on a clearly erroneous fact and, on that basis, reversed the order allowing the motion to suppress in an unpublished […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 17, 2013 at 11:43 pm

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