Posts tagged "1010615"

Commonwealth v. Dossantos (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-106-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-11790   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  DOUGLAS DOSSANTOS. Middlesex.     March 2, 2015. – July 1, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ. Domestic Violence Record Keeping System.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Framingham Division of the District Court Department on August 25, 2014.   A question of law was reported to the Appeals Court by Douglas W. Stoddart, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Alexandra H. Deal for the defendant. Melissa Weisgold Johnsen, Assistant District Attorney (Laura G. Montes, Assistant District Attorney, with her) for the Commonwealth.     BOTSFORD, J.  In this case, we consider a report of a District Court judge pursuant to Mass. R. Crim. P. 34, as amended, 442 Mass. 1501 (2004),[1] concerning G. L. c. 276, § 56A (§ 56A), a statute enacted in 2014 as one component of a comprehensive package of legislation entitled, “An Act relative to domestic violence.”  See St. 2014, c. 260, § 30.  Section § 56A requires that in every case in which a person is arrested and charged with a crime against the person or property, if the Commonwealth alleges that domestic abuse occurred “immediately prior to or in conjunction with” the charged crime, the Commonwealth is to file a written statement that it does so allege, the judge is to make a written ruling that the Commonwealth does so allege, and the Commonwealth’s written statement is then to be entered into the Statewide domestic violence record keeping system (DVRS).  For the reasons we discuss hereafter, we interpret § 56A to mean that before a judge makes a “written ruling that abuse is alleged in connection with the charged offense,” the judge must inquire into and be satisfied that there is an adequate factual basis for the allegations of abuse made by the Commonwealth.  In light of our construction of the statute’s terms, we do not reach the constitutional claims raised by the judge’s report and the defendant. Background.  Framingham police officers arrested the defendant, Douglas Dossantos, on August 24, 2014.  According to the police report, the defendant, who was trying to retrieve personal belongings from his wife’s house, attempted to enter the house by pushing an air conditioning unit in through a window.  When the defendant’s wife saw the defendant at the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 1, 2015 at 3:03 pm

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