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Commonwealth v. Thompson (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-184-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11623   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  WALTER THOMPSON.       November 10, 2014.   Controlled Substances.  “School Zone” Statute.  Statute, Amendment, Retroactive application.     After a jury trial, Walter Thompson was convicted of distributing cocaine and doing so in a school zone.  While his appeal was pending in the Appeals Court, the school zone statute, G. L. c. 94C, § 32J, was amended to reduce the radius of the school zone from 1,000 feet to 300 feet.  St. 2012, c. 192, § 30.  In an unpublished decision, a panel of the Appeals Court ruled that this amendment did not have retroactive effect, rejected Thompson’s other claims of error, and affirmed the convictions.  Commonwealth v. Thompson, 83 Mass. App. Ct. 1135 (2013).  We granted Thompson’s application for further appellate review.  467 Mass. 1101 (2014).  We now affirm the convictions, on somewhat different grounds.   Evidence.  We review the evidence presented at trial in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth.  Commonwealth v. Latimore, 378 Mass. 671, 677-678 (1979).  On July 31, 2008, at approximately 10 P.M., Cambridge police Detectives Kevin Branley and Ed Liberacki were conducting patrols in Cambridge.  From their parked, unmarked vehicle, they observed (Branley using binoculars) Michael Benoit and Lori Quigley sitting on a curb in the parking lot of a convenience store on the corner of Prospect Street and Broadway.  Both detectives were experienced in detecting street-level narcotics sales and were familiar with this parking lot from previous narcotics investigations.  Benoit and Quigley were counting change in their open hands and looking furtively in all directions.  Quigley stood and made a call at a pay telephone attached to the side of the convenience store.  After about twenty seconds, she hung up the telephone and returned to the curb, where she and Benoit continued looking up and down the streets.  Quigley paced as she did so.  After about ten minutes, Thompson approached on bicycle on Broadway from the direction of Harvard Square.  He rode through the parking lot and, without stopping, exchanged a few words with Quigley.  Thompson, with Quigley following him at a hurried pace, continued on Prospect Street and stopped at a nearby house.  As Quigley approached him, they looked back and forth at each other and all around in all directions.  Quigley extended her hands toward Thompson, with one palm open and facing up, and the other in […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 10, 2014 at 10:07 pm

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