Posts tagged "1102018"

Commonwealth v. Rodriguez (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-020-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   16-P-1569                                       Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  JUAN CARLOS RODRIGUEZ.     No. 16-P-1569.   Suffolk.     November 3, 2017. – February 20, 2018.   Present:  Wolohojian, Massing, & Wendlandt, JJ.     Controlled Substances.  Evidence, Field Drug Test, Scientific test, Indictment.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on August 5, 2009.   The case was tried before Linda E. Giles, J.     Edward Crane for the defendant. Cailin M. Campbell, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     MASSING, J.  In yet another case affected by the wrongdoing of former State chemist Annie Dookhan, see generally Commonwealth v. Scott, 467 Mass. 336 (2013); Bridgeman v. District Attorney for the Suffolk Dist., 476 Mass. 298 (2017) (Bridgeman), we must reverse a defendant’s conviction of trafficking in heroin.  See G. L. c. 94C, § 32E(c).  In an effort to cure the taint from Dookhan’s association with the case as primary chemist, a police officer testified that he performed a field test of the substance seized from the defendant, which proved that the substance was heroin.  The testimony was admitted, over the defendant’s objection, without establishing the scientific reliability of the field test.  We conclude that the admission of this evidence was prejudicial error and that the defendant is entitled to a new trial. Background.  We recite the basic facts as the jury could have found them, reserving other facts for later discussion.  On April 27, 2009, officers of the Boston police department’s drug control unit went to the housing development where the defendant, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, lived to execute three search warrants:  one for the defendant’s apartment, one for his motor vehicle, and one for his person.  Once inside the defendant’s apartment, the officers used a key recovered from the defendant’s motor vehicle to open a locked bedroom door.  In the bedroom’s closet, the police found a total of $ 13,270, a digital scale, and a small pouch that contained nine individually wrapped packages, or “fingers,”[1] of a substance that resembled sidewalk chalk.  A search of the defendant’s person yielded two similar packages. Officer Robert England took the eleven packages to the police station and conducted a field test using a NarcoPouch 924 test kit manufactured by Safariland.  The NarcoPouch 924 test kit is a small, sealed rubber pouch that contains three glass vials filled with chemical solutions.  England unsealed […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 21, 2018 at 3:01 pm

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