Posts tagged "1111415"

Commonwealth v. Sousa (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-114-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-492                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MANUEL W. SOUSA.     No. 14-P-492. Middlesex.     February 4, 2015. – August 14, 2015.   Present:  Katzmann, Meade, & Rubin, JJ. Controlled Substances.  Motor Vehicle, Operating under the influence, Operation.  Statute, Construction.     Complaint received and sworn to in the Malden Division of the District Court Department on September 19, 2011.   The case was heard by Dominic J. Paratore, J.     Christopher L. Maclachlan for the defendant. Melissa Weisgold Johnsen, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     KATZMANN, J.  After a bench trial, a District Court judge found the defendant guilty of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.  On appeal, the defendant argues insufficient evidence for both convictions.  We reverse the conviction of operating while under the influence of drugs, concluding that that the Commonwealth presented insufficient evidence that the defendant was under the influence of a prohibited substance, as defined under the relevant statute, G. L. c. 94C, § 1.  We affirm the conviction of negligent operation. Facts.  Under the familiar standard, see Commonwealth v. Latimore, 378 Mass. 671, 676-677 (1979), the judge could have found the following.  On September 18, 2011, the defendant, Manuel Sousa, was driving a motor vehicle down a public street in the city of Malden.  A bystander observed his vehicle roll past a stop sign without stopping and then stop suddenly in the middle of an intersection.  The defendant, who appeared to be asleep or “passed out,” was leaning back in the driver’s seat.  The bystander approached the vehicle, and the defendant sat up, placed a device to his mouth, and then sped off.  The bystander then called the police and, while waiting for someone to arrive, observed the vehicle continuing to start and stop while traveling on a side street.  When police Officer Philip Halloran arrived, he approached the vehicle, which was parked in the middle of a two-way street and had its engine running.  Officer Halloran could see that the defendant was reclined in his seat behind the steering wheel.  He saw the defendant reach down and place an aerosol canister to his mouth and spray.  Officer Halloran ordered the defendant to turn off the engine and to get out of the vehicle.  The defendant did not acknowledge the command and instead placed the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 15, 2015 at 8:21 am

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