Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

The First Complaint Doctrine

Witness testimonies play a significant role in many court cases. They play an even bigger role in cases involving rape and other sexual assault crimes in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Massachusetts practices the first complaint doctrine.

The first complaint doctrine allows a judge to admit testimony from the first person (complaint witness) to whom a victim told or reported the incident. The testimony of the first person the victim told about the crime can help the jury learn the real facts relating to the sexual assault.

The testimony of the first complaint witness can shed light on the behavior of the victim following the alleged incident, the place or occurrence of the sexual assault, key circumstances surrounding the case, and other observations that are pertinent to the case. The recipient of the victim’s first report of a sexual assault or rape can have a great influence on the jury and the outcome of the trial. A criminal defense attorney can explain the first complaint doctrine and how it can impact your case.

The purpose of the first complaint doctrine is to determine the accuracy, credibility, and reliability of an alleged rape victim' s testimony in a court. Information gathered from a first complaint witness provides evidence for specific and limited purposes, which include:

  • Establishing the circumstances by which the alleged victim first revealed or reported the incident

  • Determining whether the testimony of the first person told about the sexual assault aligns with the alleged victim’s account of the crime.  

In 2005, the first complaint doctrine replaced the fresh complaint rule that allowed multiple persons to testify at a trial regarding what the victim had told them about the crime. However, if there had been a long time between the incident and the revelation of the sexual assault to the witness, the court would limit or exclude the witness testimony because the statements were not fresh or recent enough to be reliable.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court verdict in the case of the Commonwealth vs. King  ended the fresh complaint rule and ushered in the first complaint doctrine, which only allows the prosecution to call the first witness or person to whom the victim confided the sexual assault or rape. Under the first complaint doctrine, the length of time between the incident and its disclosure to another person does not matter. The first witness only can testify to support the victim's credibility and no other factors relating to the case. The prosecution is prohibited from calling other witnesses who were made aware of the incident at a subsequent time.

In recent appeals concerning a sexual assault, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has heard from defendants questioning whether the first complaint testimonies were admissible in court or flawed in some manner. An appellate court will determine whether the first complaint testimony created a miscarriage of justice that violates the rights of the defendant.

One case, is the Commonwealth vs. Gaudy Asenjo. The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review of this case and cited errors. In 2015, the defendant, Gaudy Asenjo was convicted by a Superior Court jury of three counts of aggravated rape of a child. According to the appeal's report, the defendants appeal was based on:

claiming that the judge erred in (1) interpreting the first complaint rule to require the disclosure of the perpetrator's identity to the first complaint witness and allowing a police officer to testify as the first complaint witness; (2) allowing the complainant to testify to multiple disclosures of the sexual assault in violation of Commonwealth v. King, 445 Mass. 217(2005), cert. denied, 546 U.S. 1216 (2006), and its progeny; and (3) precluding expert testimony in support of her defense based on battered woman syndrome. We conclude that the essential feature of first complaint evidence is the report of a sexual assault, not the identity of the perpetrator. Consequently, the admission of the police officer's testimony as first complaint evidence was error, which, after viewing the evidence as a whole was prejudicial. We conclude also that the judge erred.

This judgment of the Supreme Judicial Court reversed the defendant’s convictions for three counts of aggravated rape of a child.

If you are facing a rape or sexual assault charge, it is important to consult with a criminal defense attorney who can catch errors made by the prosecution or presiding judge so your rights are protected under the Massachusetts Law. Contact a criminal defense attorney, who understands all aspects of the first complaint doctrine and can develop a strong defense strategy that will help your case. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

Words can Kill

Words are quite powerful and they can have detrimental consequences in a courtroom, at least in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge has found a Massachusetts woman guilty of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her boyfriend via text messaging to commit suicide. The woman, Michelle Carter, was sentenced to 15 months in jail for coercing her boyfriend, Conrad Ray, to kill himself. She could have received up to 20 years in prison, but the judge showed leniency. She will be on probation for five years.

Carter does not have to be on probation until all of her appeals have been exhausted. Moreover, she will continue on her pretrial release until a decision at the appellate level is made. However, if her appeals fail, she will be ordered to serve her jail sentence and probation. Is this too easy and lenient for the crime or did she, in fact, commit a crime at all? These are the questions that are swirling around legal conversations of criminal defense attorneys and legal experts about the verdict and sentence.

The prosecution in this case based their theory on the fact that words can kill. Carter literally killed her boyfriend with her own words. Some legal experts say the notion that words can kill is quite debatable and controversial since criminal law usually punishes actions, not words. Others feel the conviction goes beyond the boundaries of criminal law and violates an individual's freedom of speech that is not only protected by the Massachusetts Constitution but also the U.S. Constitution.

This verdict can set a new legal precedent by which one's words, and just not their actions can cause death or murder. Does Massachusetts need to create a specific law that criminalizes those who urge or coerce others to commit suicide?

At present, there are no laws in the Commonwealth that make it a crime to encourage or persuade another person to commit suicide. This is why some legal experts say there should not have been a sentencing or charge against Carter in this particular case.

The defense had claimed the defendant was not in a healthy mental state at the time she persuaded her boyfriend to commit suicide. They said she was a troubled teen with a history of depression and was being treated with Celexa that may have side effects that include irrational thinking and behavior. Perhaps their defenses made the judge more lenient in his final decision regarding the fate of Michelle Carter.

Whenever you are facing a criminal offense, you need to find a criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and create defenses to lessen the charges against you. Contact a criminal defense attorney who can develop a strategy that will help your case. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney,Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Temporary Suspension of Breath Tests Results

 

Individuals charged with OUI/DUI offenses in the Massachusetts area may not have to worry about their breath test results for a while. Attorneys representing drunk-drivers are accusing the Commonwealth of covering up evidence that breath test results used in thousands of DUI cases in Massachusetts were not accurate. The Office of Alcohol Testing, the agency that oversees the accuracy of these tests, filed a motion recently that stated the Office of Alcohol Testing did not turn over documents that would have revealed that the machines had malfunctioned and resulted in inaccurate results numerous times over the span of two years.

The cover up was not a single act but several intentional acts to prevent a public revelation of the inaccuracies in the machines. These alleged improper actions may cause District Attorneys to suspend the use of Breathalyzer tests results until the controversy is solved.

 

In 2015, concerns developed regarding the accuracy of the Draeger 9510 breath test machines that were utilized across the Commonwealth. Massachusetts introduced the breath test machine in 2011. At the time, many experts said the Draeger 9510 was not designed to accommodate the state's regulations and would not give accurate results.

 

The state maintains that only a limited number of breath tests performed since 2011 by law enforcement on accused drunk drivers were inaccurate, and that the inaccuracy stemmed from police error. In a review of the machines, the state claims the devices were, in fact, operating properly. However, the lawyers representing the defendants said the state records they obtained about the devices could have been faulty, resulting in mistakes that can influence the outcome of OUI/DUI cases in the state.

 

If you have been charged with an OUI/DUI in Massachusetts, you need to hire a criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the controversy surrounding breath tests in Massachusetts and your legal rights. Your attorney can help you make the right decisions regarding your case with the least negative impact on your life. A first-time OUI/DUI conviction may result in fines between $500 and $5000 dollars and the loss of your driver’s license for a year. In some cases, you could serve jail time. If you are driving with a minor under the age of 14 while impaired or intoxicated with alcohol, you may be charged with child endangerment. If you are convicted of child endangerment, you will lose your license for a year and pay fines between $1,000 and $5,000. Furthermore, you could spend 90 days to two and a half years in prison.  

If you are facing an OUI/DUI conviction or want to know how the temporary suspension of the use of breath test results will affect your pending OUI/DUI case in Massachusetts, consult a criminal defense attorney. An OUI/DUI conviction can have devastating effects on your professional and personal life. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

 

Are You Required to Help Someone in Trouble?

If someone else is in danger, do you have a legal duty to help them? In an emergency, we hope most folks would do the right thing. However, what is the right thing to do? The answer is varied and different for every circumstance.

The question has been debated this week as the nation watched five teens videotape a man drowning in a pond. They watched and laughed as the man died without trying to help or calling 911. The videotape was saddening and disturbing at the same time. Have we raised our children not to treat others as they would wish to be treated?

After viewing the video, Florida authorities said the five teens did not break the law. In the state of Florida, there is not a law that requires one to render help to someone else in distress. However, what would be the verdict if this same incident happened in the Commonwealth? There are many laws in Massachusetts that protect those rendering aid from liability. While there is not a law requiring a bystander to provide assistance to a distressed individual, the Commonwealth does have a "duty to aid" law that requires a witness to report an emergency situation.

Massachusetts Law: Chapter 268, section 40 states “Whoever knows that another person is a victim of aggravated rape, rape, murder, manslaughter or armed robbery and is at the scene of said crime shall, to the extent that said person can do so without danger or peril to himself or others, report said crime to an appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonably practicable.”

In the Commonwealth, you should call 911 or report the incident to law enforcement officials immediately. If not, you could be charged with breaking this law, and you could be fined between $500 and $2500 for not reporting the incident.

Good Samaritan Laws protects individuals who voluntarily help other people in distress. These laws are created to encourage people to get involved and be their brother's keeper during times of peril. When you witness an emergency situation by which someone is hurt, you should remember these laws will protect you and allow you to be a Good Samaritan and come to the rescue of a victim in need. These laws allow heroes to emerge in a crisis and perform heroic deeds under stressful situations.

When you are in the Massachusetts if you do not wish to be a hero by helping a distressed victim, you can at least be a good citizen. Always report the incident to the proper authorities. You will not only have a good conscience but also may keep yourself from having to pay a hefty fine for your refusal to report.

If you are charged with refusing to report an incident involving a person in distress, contact a reliable criminal defense attorney. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact attorney Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Road Rage is Dangerous

Every now and then tempers will boil when you are onthe road behind another driver who is driving too slowly when you are running late for work or an important appointment. It happens to everyone. Most of us keep those frustrations to ourselves and get to our destinations safely, but often late. However, some people will turn those frustrations into extreme aggression. They will lash out at the other driver and find themselves experiencing road rage, which can lead to an arrest, or worse. If you are accused of road rage, you should contact a reliable criminal defense attorney.

What is Road Rage?

Road rage can be defined as any moving traffic violation by a motorist that endangers other drivers or individuals. Road rage is an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon toward another motorist.

In some instances, road rage may cause the perpetrator to be charged with an additional crime, such as speeding, endangerment, unsafe driving, or reckless driving. In Massachusetts, if you hold a junior operator's license and you are caught speeding in competition with another motorist, you may be convicted of drag racing. Then, you will be required to complete a court program against road rage.

According to an article in Safemotorist.com, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association and Auto Vantage auto club have compiled statistics that show road rage causes several problems on today's highways, which include:

  • 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.

  • 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.

  • Males under the age of 19 are the most likely to exhibit road rage.

  • Half of drivers who are on the receiving end of an aggressive behavior, such as horn honking, a rude gesture, or tailgating admit to responding with aggressive behavior themselves.

  • Over a seven-year period, 218 murders and 12,610 injuries were attributed to road rage.

How to Avoid Being a Victim of Road Rage

There are certain things a motorist can do to avoid being a victim of road rage:

  • Follow the laws of the highway

  • Do not block lanes

  • Maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you

  • Use proper signaling when changing lanes

  • Avoid offensive hand gestures or verbal comments

  • Use your horn only when necessary

Legal Help for Road Rage Accusations

If you are charged with road rage, the consequences can be serious. One could face additional charges such as assault, battery, criminal threats, or hit and run. You could not only lose your driver's license, but you could spend time in jail or prison. Contact a criminal defense attorney who can develop a strategy that will help your case.

Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact attorney Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Carjacking is a Serious Crime

Carjacking in a crime that has been on the rise in recent years. Motorists need to learn how to protect themselves, and individuals accused of carjacking need to find a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Carjacking is an offense that involves the theft of another person's vehicle, often using force, violence, or a deadly weapon (firearm or knife). Most often the driver is forced out of the car, and at other times the driver may be forced to stay in or drive the car. Either way, it can be a dangerous and stressful experience to endure. Carjackers could be fleeing a crime scene, involved in a drug deal, gang activity, or other harmful situation. According to a  U.S. State Department Report, common places for carjacking include:

  • High Crime Areas

  • Lesser traveled roads (rural areas)

  • Intersections where you must stop

  • Isolated areas in parking lots

  • Residential driveways and gates

  • Traffic jams or congested areas

Punishment and Penalties for Carjacking

Carjacking a s serious offense that often includes other crimes, such as robbery, assault, theft, or weapons offenses. In most incidents, carjacking can result in felony charges. Felony charges are the most serious types of crimes. One may spend years in prison, and the penalties will be even harsher with longer sentences when the following acts take place during a carjacking crime:

  • Stealing an emergency or police vehicle

  • Utilizing an illegal or dangerous firearm

  • Resulting in bodily injury or death of an individual

  • Committing  a repeat carjacking offense (second or more)

Carjacking Laws in Massachusetts

Carjacking in Massachusetts is punishable under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 21A. Section 21A states:

"Whoever, with intent to steal a motor vehicle, assaults, confines, maims or puts any person in fear for the purpose of stealing a motor vehicle shall, whether he succeeds or fails in the perpetration of stealing the motor vehicle be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than fifteen years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years and a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than fifteen thousand dollars; provided, however, that any person who commits any offense described herein while being armed with a dangerous weapon shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than twenty years or in a jail or house of correction for not less than one year nor more than two and one-half years and a fine of not less than five nor more than fifteen thousand dollars. Whoever commits any offense described in this section while armed with a firearm, rifle, shotgun, machine gun or assault weapon, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not less than 7 years."

Proving a Carjacking Case

To prove a defendant is guilty of carjacking in the Commonwealth the prosecution must prove the defendant committed the following:

  • The defendant intended to steal a motor vehicle from another person

  • The defendant assaulted, confined, maimed or put a person in fear while stealing a motor vehicle

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are accused or charged with a carjacking offense, the consequences can be as severe. You need to find a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney, who will create a defense to prove your innocence. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact attorney Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

National Internet Safety Month

June is National Internet Safety Month, and the month brings awareness of the need for online safety and how we can protect everyone, especially children, from the dangers of the Internet. The Internet is a modern technological advancement that impacts our lives in many positive ways, but it also can be a useful tool for criminal activities. The Internet creates many hazards and risks that can threaten the safety of families and children.

Millions of children under the age of 18 are utilizing the Internet each day, and many are exposed to a variety of risks that may include:

  • Threats or harassment

  • Cyberbullying

  • Sexual exploitation and solicitation

  • Exposure to sexual content or messaging

National Internet Safety Month is designed to educate parents about the importance of teaching their children about being safe and responsible users online and how to safeguard themselves against perpetrators of internet crimes.

Kids will spend more time online during the summer months while school is out. This time will give more children the opportunity to be exposed to harmful material and dangers online. Here are some tips parents can share with their children regarding how to be safe and responsible online users:

  • Be Careful of Sharing Information: Be smart about who they socialize with and what they send. Sharing provocative or risqué information online can damage your reputation and threaten your future because people may use the information against you. Be careful not to share personal information online.

  • Be Considerate of Others: Treat people as you would want to be treated yourself. Do not get involved in cyberbullying and other inappropriate behaviors that can harm other people.

  • Be Wise about Meeting and Greeting: Do not meet in person with strangers from the Internet.. Also, get to know people you meet online before attempting to meet with them. Once you have gotten to know them, if you do decide to meet in person, bring a friend along and always meet in a public setting, such as a restaurant or community event.

Indications of Risk Online

According to the FBI, here are some signs that may indicate your child may be at risk online:

  • Your child spends large amounts of time online, especially at night.

  • Your child has pornography on his or her computer.

  • Your child receives calls from people you do not know.

  • Your child makes phone calls to phone numbers you do not know.

  • Your child uses a variety of email accounts or user IDs.

  • Your child hides his or her internet activities.

  • Your child receives mail, packages, or presents from someone you do not know.

Internet Crimes and Punishment

Kids can be victims or perpetrators of internet crimes. Internet crimes such as sexting, cyberbullying, inappropriate sexual encounters, and other online violations happen every day. Individuals found guilty of internet crimes may face harsh punishment.

If you or your child have been charged with committing an internet crime, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and life-changing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney, Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

Public Order Crimes

Crimes against public order uproot social norms or customs. They are contrary to what a normal or civilized society views as appropriate behavior. Public order crimes do not conform to the societal morals and values of a community. When one commits these types of crimes, they usually are not contributing to the good of society and often lead to the detriment of those involved. These crimes go against societal standards of right and wrong and can hinder or disrupt a society's way of life. If you are charged with a public order crime, you need to speak with a criminal defense attorney immediately.

Types of Public Order Crimes

A person can be charged with public order crimes if the behavior is harmful to the public at large. Some of the offensive behavior that falls under crimes against public order may include:

  • Prostitution: Selling sexual acts or favors in exchange for compensation.

  • Paraphilia: Abnormal sexual or deviant sex acts in public view.

  • Open drunkenness: Publically displaying intoxication or drunken behavior.

  • Drug Offenses: Selling, using, or distributing drugs in public.

  • Disorderly conduct: Rowdy and rude public behavior.

  • Underage sex: Minors engaging in sexual activities.

  • Disturbing the Peace: Disrupting a formal gathering or event.

  • Pornography: Publicly viewing pornographic pictures and messaging.

  • Inappropriate settings for sexual expression: Engaging in sexual acts in a public park, bus, or other public settings.

Punishment for Public Order Crimes

Punishment for crimes against public order varies according to the crime committed and the circumstances surrounding the incident. If the public order offense was minor, one may receive a misdemeanor charge or citation. Individuals convicted of lesser public order crimes may have to pay a fine, serve a short stint in a county jail, or perform community service.

More serious crimes may result in felony charges. Offenders will have to pay higher fines and serve longer time in jail. One who continues to commit serious crimes of this nature may have to face stiffer penalties and consequences.

Defenses for Public Order Crimes

When charged with crimes against public order, your criminal defense attorney can build a credible defense for your bizarre actions. These defenses may state that one was under mental duress, intoxicated or exemplifying self-defense during the time of the incident or arrest. Your attorney will know how to present these defenses in a way that will enhance your case and not hurt it.

Legal Help for Public Order Crimes

Public order crimes can become serious offenses when they are not properly addressed with legal counsel and expertise. They may tarnish your public record and image for life. Public order convictions may keep you from employment or housing opportunities, too.

If you are charged with a public order crime you need to contact a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating, costly, and embarrassing. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney, Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case.  Contact Attorney Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

 

Mail Theft is a Serious Offense

 

You may not be the only one waiting for your mailman to deliver your mail each day. Mail thieves are looking out for the mailman and waiting to steal your mail, too. The United States Postal service handles millions of pieces of mail each day. This high volume of mail gives thieves the opportunity to steal millions of pieces of mail each day, too. Mail theft is a serious offense. If you have been charged with mail theft, you should contact a criminal defense attorney.

Reasons for Stealing Mail

Mail theft happens when an individual steals mail that does not belong to him or her. These unscrupulous persons steal mail for a variety of reasons that may include:

  • Credit Card Applications

  • Checks or Money orders

  • Banks Statements

  • Prescription drugs

  • Personal Identifying Information

How Thieves Steal Mail

Thieves steal from postal collection boxes, apartment mailbox panels, or neighborhood delivery and collection boxes at residences. Thieves often pry open mailboxes inside the lobby of post offices and multiple-slot postal lock boxes in neighborhoods. Thieves may break into a postal delivery truck to counterfeit postal-box keys or steal mail that has not been delivered.

Protecting Yourself from Mail Theft

The United States Postal Service recommends that people make it more difficult for thieves to steal their mail and offer the following suggestions:

  • Do not send cash through the mail

  • Immediately remove delivered mail from your mailbox

  • Ask a neighbor to pick up your mail when you are on vacation

  • Request the post office to hold your mail when you are away for a long time

  • Deposit mail in a mail slot at your local post office

  • Start a community watch program in your neighborhood

Punishment for Mail Theft

Because the United States Postal Service is a federal agency, mail theft is considered a federal crime. According to the United States Code 18 Section 1708, federal mail theft is a felony. Being charged with stealing mail could land you in federal prison for up to five years and cause you to pay a fine up to $250,000. If you have been charged with mail theft, you should contact a criminal defense attorney who can create a solid defense.

In addition, you could face other charges depending on the nature of the theft. If personal identifying information was stolen and utilized, the perpetrator could face an identity theft conviction. Personal identifying information may include the following:

  • Credit Card Account Information

  • Social Security Numbers

  • Tax Identification Numbers

  • Driver's license numbers

  • Bank Account Information

  • Date of Birth

  • Addresses and Telephone Numbers

  • Employee or School ID Numbers

  • Passport Identification Information

Legal Help for Mail Theft Accusations

If you are charged with mail theft, you need to contact a criminal defense attorney. The consequences can be devastating and costly. Plus, you could face federal prison time for your actions. Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Edward Molari can provide you with legal advice that may help reduce the punishment or lessen the charge. He cares about your situation and provides personalized legal services in every case. Contact Attorney Edward Molari at 617-942-1532 for a free consultation.

Serious Firearm Charges Hinge on Illegal Search

According to the Boston Police twitter feed:

  • At about 3:43 pm on Tuesday, June 20, 2017, members of the Youth Violence Strike Force . . . observed a black motor vehicle operating . . . make several illegal turns . . . . [O]fficers stopped the car [and] . . . recognized two of the occupants from previous interactions. Fearing the presence of weapons, officers instructed all occupants to exit the car. As the rear occupant was exiting the vehicle, officers observed a firearm on the floor near his feet.

From the recovery of this one firearm the police generate six charges and two arrests, none of which should be allowed to stand up in court. 

Why did the police ask the driver and passenger to exit the vehicle?  Because they "recognized two of the occupants from previous interactions." 

Under Article XIV of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, exit orders during routine, lawful stops for ordinary traffic violations must be justified by reasonable articulable suspicion that the officer's safety, or the safety of others, is in danger.  In 1997 the Supreme Judicial Court held that "a routine traffic stop must end on the production of a valid license and registration unless the police have grounds for inferring that 'either the operator or his passengers were involved in the commission of a crime . . . or engaged in other suspicious conduct.'”

The only evidence the police had here was that the driver failed to signal a few turns.  That's not reasonable suspicion as to anything criminal, and for certain not a reason to tell the occupants to exit the vehicle.  Plain and simple, the officers' order that the vehicle's occupants get out was illegal, the firearm should be suppressed, and the defendants should be sent home.

 

 

 

Pages