Posts tagged "1003215"

Commonwealth v. Sheridan (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-032-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11543   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MATTHEW J. SHERIDAN.       Norfolk.     November 6, 2014. – February 27, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Controlled Substances.  Constitutional Law, Search and seizure, Probable cause.  Search and Seizure, Motor vehicle, Threshold police inquiry, Probable cause, Inevitable discovery, Plain view, Search incident to lawful arrest.  Threshold Police Inquiry.  Probable Cause.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Quincy Division of the District Court Department on June 21, 2011.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Robert P. Ziemian, J.   An application for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Gants, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk, and the appeal was reported by him to the Appeals Court.  The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Paul R. Rudof, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant. Pamela Alford, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     LENK, J.  In the early morning hours of June 21, 2011, police officers stopped the defendant, Matthew J. Sheridan, for driving a minivan with an unilluminated headlight.  During the stop, the officers saw in the vehicle a portion of what an officer identified as “about a [one]-ounce bag” of marijuana, protruding from under a rumpled T-shirt lying on the floor between the vehicle’s two front seats.  The officers ordered the defendant out of the vehicle, handcuffed him, and conducted a search of the minivan.  Lifting the T-shirt, an officer found, in addition to the bag previously partially seen, another one-ounce bag of marijuana, and a third, smaller bag of marijuana.  The defendant was arrested and taken to the police station.  After he was booked on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, officers seized and searched his cellular telephone, finding several text messages that they identified as consistent with sales of marijuana. The defendant moved to suppress the marijuana seized from his vehicle and the text messages found on his telephone.  In Massachusetts, “possession of one ounce or less of marihuana [is] only . . . a civil offense,” punishable by a “civil penalty of one hundred dollars and forfeiture of the marihuana.”  G. L. c. 94C, § 32L.  Because it is not a crime, police observation of one ounce or less of marijuana is […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 27, 2015 at 5:53 pm

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