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Commonwealth v. Ramos (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-112-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   14-P-1469                                       Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  GOVANNY RAMOS. No. 14-P-1469. Suffolk.     March 16, 2015. – August 14, 2015.   Present:  Katzmann, Milkey, & Agnes, JJ.   Search and Seizure, Motor vehicle, Reasonable suspicion.  Constitutional Law, Search and seizure, Reasonable suspicion.  Registrar of Motor Vehicles, Records.  Practice, Criminal, Motion to suppress, Record.  Motor Vehicle, Receiving stolen motor vehicle.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Chelsea Division of the District Court Department on October 17, 2013.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by D. Dunbar Livingston, J.   An application for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Robert J. Cordy, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk, and the appeal was reported by him to the Appeals Court.     Cailin M. Campbell, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Megan Ruebsamen for the defendant.   KATZMANN, J.  This appeal by the Commonwealth poses the questions whether police officers may reasonably rely on information from the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) database concerning reports of stolen vehicles and whether a District Court judge erred in employing the Aguilar–Spinelli test in allowing the defendant’s motion to suppress.  Aguilar v. Texas, 378 U.S. 108 (1964).  Spinelli v. United States, 393 U.S. 410 (1969).  See Commonwealth v. Lopes, 455 Mass. 147, 155-156 (2009) (Lopes).  We reverse. Background.  After an evidentiary hearing, a District Court judge found the following.  On October 17, 2013, State Trooper Edmund Hartwell was assigned alone and in uniform to a cruiser patrol.  That morning, Hartwell was parked on Everett Avenue, opposite Chelsea High School, observing traffic.  While parked, Hartwell saw a red sport utility vehicle (SUV) go past.  Hartwell noticed that the driver, who was later identified as the defendant, Govanny Ramos, was not wearing a seatbelt and appeared to have his hands in his lap.  Hartwell “ran” the registration of the SUV using his mobile data terminal (MDT) to query the RMV database.  The vehicle “came back stolen.”  The description of the motor vehicle in the RMV database matched the SUV Hartwell observed.  Hartwell followed the SUV and contacted the dispatch center at the State police headquarters in Danvers to get confirmation that the SUV was stolen.  The dispatch center confirmed that the SUV with the particular registration plate and description was reported as stolen. Hartwell followed the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 15, 2015 at 1:12 am

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