Posts tagged "Clagon"

Commonwealth v. Clagon (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-074-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11283   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  REGINALD CLAGON (and six companion cases[1]).     May 8, 2013.     Controlled Substances.  Practice, Criminal, Motion to suppress.  Search and Seizure, Warrant, Affidavit.       The Commonwealth appeals from an order of a judge in the Superior Court allowing Reginald Clagon’s and Anthony Gerald’s motions to suppress evidence obtained pursuant to a search warrant.[2]  The Appeals Court affirmed the order.  Commonwealth v. Clagon, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 1141 (2012).  We granted further appellate review.  Commonwealth v. Clagon, 463 Mass. 1105 (2012).  At issue is whether the affidavit submitted in support of the search warrant established the required nexus between the alleged criminal activity and the premises to be searched.  We conclude that the affidavit in this case did so, and we reverse the allowance of the motions to suppress.     Standard of review.  “[O]ur inquiry as to the sufficiency of the search warrant application always begins and ends with the ‘four corners of the affidavit.’”  Commonwealth v. O’Day, 440 Mass. 296, 297 (2003), quoting Commonwealth v. Villela, 39 Mass. App. Ct. 426, 428 (1995).  Probable cause to believe that a suspect has committed a crime is not sufficient to justify a search of the suspect’s home; rather, the affidavit and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom “must provide a substantial basis for concluding that evidence connected to the crime will be found on the specified premises.”  Commonwealth v. Escalera, 462 Mass. 636, 642 (2012), quoting Commonwealth v. Donahue, 430 Mass. 710, 712 (2000).  Because “[i]n dealing with probable cause . . . we deal with probabilities,” Commonwealth v. Hason, 387 Mass. 169, 174 (1982), the affidavit “should be ‘read as a whole, not parsed, severed, and subjected to hypercritical analysis.’”  Commonwealth v. Anthony, 451 Mass. 59, 69 (2008), quoting Commonwealth v. Donahue, supra.  “A reviewing court gives considerable deference to the magistrate’s determination of probable cause, see Commonwealth v. Upton, 394 Mass. 363, 377 (1985), and even ‘the resolution of doubtful or marginal cases . . . should be largely determined by the preference to be accorded to warrants.’”  Commonwealth v. Anthony, supra, quoting Commonwealth v. Germain, 396 Mass. 413, 418 (1985).   Facts.  Here, the search warrant was issued based on an affidavit of Patrick Byrne, a Boston police officer with experience in drug investigations and arrests.  He attested that he was familiar with […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 8, 2013 at 10:44 pm

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