Posts tagged "1000117"

Commonwealth v. Peterson (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-001-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12097   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MARCUS G. PETERSON.       Suffolk.     October 5, 2016. – January 3, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Controlled Substances.  “School Zone” Statute.  Practice, Criminal, Dismissal.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Central Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department on June 23, 2014.   A motion to dismiss was heard by Eleanor C. Sinnott, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Matthew T. Sears, Assistant District Attorney (Amanda Read Cascione, Assistant District Attorney, with him) for the Commonwealth. Scott Lauer, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant.     GAZIANO, J.  General Laws c. 94C, § 32J, the so-called school zone statute, punishes individuals who commit certain enumerated drug offenses within 300 feet of a school or one hundred feet of a public park or playground.  In 1992, we determined that the school zone statute does not violate a defendant’s due process rights, but cautioned that “[t]here may be extraordinary circumstances shown in some cases which would make it unfair to find guilt under § 32J.”  Commonwealth v. Alvarez, 413 Mass. 224, 228, 230 n.5 (1992).  This case tests the bounds of school zone statute liability.  The issue presented is whether the statute applies to a defendant who is located momentarily within one hundred feet of a public park solely because he is a passenger in a motor vehicle that is driven on a public roadway past the park and, fortuitously, stops at a red light.  We conclude that application of G. L. c. 94C, § 32J, to the defendant, in the particular facts and circumstances of this case, would be overreaching.  The park zone charge, therefore, must be dismissed. Background.  The following facts are drawn from the police report; they are uncontested for purposes of this interlocutory appeal.  On May 12, 2014, at approximately 5:45 P.M., three police officers assigned to the Boston police department’s youth violence strike force were on patrol in the Dorchester section of Boston in a police cruiser.  Driving down Ceylon Street, they observed a white Chevrolet Cruze automobile in front of them, stopped at a red light at the intersection of Ceylon Street and Columbia Road.  Immediately adjacent to Ceylon Street, at that intersection, is a public park called […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 3, 2017 at 3:32 pm

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