Posts tagged "1116815"

Commonwealth v. Ortiz (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-168-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-927                                        Appeals Court COMMONWEALTH  vs.  JUAN ELADIO ORTIZ.     No. 14-P-927. Suffolk.     June 1, 2015. – October 26, 2015.   Present:  Sullivan, Maldonado, & Massing, JJ. Controlled Substances.  Practice, Criminal, Motion to suppress. Search and Seizure, Motor vehicle, Inventory, Container. Constitutional Law, Search and seizure.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on March 27, 2013.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Kenneth W. Salinger, J., and a motion for reconsideration was considered by him.   An application for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Margot Botsford, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk, and the appeal was reported by her to the Appeals Court.     David D. McGowan, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Eduardo Antonio Masferrer for the defendant.     MALDONADO, J.  The Commonwealth brings this interlocutory appeal challenging the suppression, after an evidentiary hearing, of cocaine and of any postarrest statements.  The Commonwealth contends that because a State trooper lawfully stopped and arrested the defendant for failing to signal before switching lanes and for driving with a suspended Massachusetts license, the trooper’s postarrest warrantless inventory search of the contents of the defendant’s vehicle, specifically a backpack that was in the vehicle, was proper and, therefore, it was error for the judge to allow the motion to suppress.  The motion judge concluded that the trooper undertook the inventory search, after stopping and arresting the defendant, as a pretext to conduct a search for investigative purposes.  We affirm the judge’s well-reasoned order of suppression. Facts.  We summarize the judge’s findings.  See Commonwealth v. Isaiah I., 448 Mass. 334, 337 (2007); Commonwealth v. Jones-Pannell, 472 Mass. 429, 431 (2015).  The defendant, Juan Eladio Ortiz, became the subject of surveillance in a Drug Enforcement Agency task force (DEA) investigation into cocaine trafficking.  In the course of their investigation, the DEA agents discovered that the defendant’s Massachusetts driver’s license and right to operate a motor vehicle in Massachusetts had been suspended, rendering the defendant subject to arrest at any point when he drove a motor vehicle in Massachusetts. The agents waited until the morning of February 28, 2013, when — according to an undisclosed source — the defendant would be transporting a kilogram of cocaine, to set in motion a plan for the defendant’s […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 26, 2015 at 7:09 pm

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