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Commonwealth v. Kaeppeler (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-206-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11855   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  DAVID J. KAEPPELER.       Barnstable.     September 9, 2015. – December 30, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, & Hines, JJ.     Search and Seizure, Emergency, Consent, Plain view.  Practice, Criminal, Instructions to jury, Request for jury instructions.     Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on April 15, 2011.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Gary A. Nickerson, J., and the cases were tried before him.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Robert L. Sheketoff for the defendant. Julia K. Holler, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     HINES, J.  After a jury trial in the Superior Court, the defendant, David J. Kaeppeler, was convicted of rape, G. L. c. 265, § 22 (b); drugging for sexual intercourse, G. L. c. 272, § 3; and drugging to confine, G. L. c. 265, § 26B.[1]  The convictions were based on events that occurred during a party at the defendant’s home in the early morning hours of May 21, 2010.  Two of the guests became seriously ill after ingesting tequila supplied by the defendant.  After learning that the defendant might also be ill, the police entered the defendant’s home to perform a well-being check under the “emergency aid” exception to the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and art. 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.  While there, the police seized two tequila bottles, one of which was later found to contain 1, 4-Butanediol, which when ingested is converted into gamma-hydroxy butyric acid (GHB), a so-called “date rape” drug. In this appeal, the defendant challenges the denial of a motion to suppress the two tequila bottles seized during the well-being check.  We conclude that the police had objectively reasonable grounds to believe that the defendant may have been injured or in need of immediate medical assistance but that the seizure of the evidence was unreasonable for two reasons:  (1) the seizure occurred after the defendant departed for the hospital in an ambulance and while the police remained in his home without his consent; and (2) the police retained the evidence for investigative purposes without verifying its relevance to the emergency justifying their entry into the defendant’s home.  Therefore, the motion to suppress should have been allowed.  The […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm

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