Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Boston Authorities Target Violent Drug Gang

Like most American cities, Boston sees its fair share of gang activity, and has done so since the days of the Irish Mob in the early 19th century. By definition, gangs involve some form of organized criminal activity which often involves multiple individuals or groups working together. Unfortunately, when law enforcement targets gangs, innocent people who may associate with gang members may be implicated. In addition, simply because one gang member engaged in a particular criminal act does not necessarily impute legal culpability to other members of the gang. As a result, anyone facing criminal prosecution based on alleged gang activity should discuss his or her options with an experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

The Boston Globe is reporting that local and federal law enforcement have arrested at least 41 individuals out of 48 who have been accused of various gun and drug offenses in relation to their activities as members of the Columbia Point Dawgs. The gang is named after the Columbia Point housing development, which was razed in the 1980s. According to the report, 31 guns were confiscated and $1.5 million in cash was seized as a result of the investigation. In addition, authorities seized 11 cars and placed liens on homes that they suspect were purchased with the proceeds of illegal drug sales. Members of the gang have been accused of a variety of violent crimes throughout the years, including the recent shooting of a car in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Law enforcement sweeps can result in false arrests, violations of rights

When local and federal authorities investigate alleged criminal activity, they are required to follow certain legal rules. The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution protects people from unreasonable search and seizure – when this rule is violated, it may result in any evidence gathered as a result of the search or seizure being excluded from legal proceedings. Some instances of law enforcement activity that may violate the 4th Amendment includes:           

·         Warrantless searches of your home, vehicle, or person

·         The seizure of personal property

·         An arrest not based on probable cause

·         Searches of the content of a computer or cell phone

The legal rules regarding the suppression of evidence are not self-executing, meaning that a defendant must raise the issue to the court. In many cases, people without formal legal training do not understand how to inform their court about their argument or may not even be aware of the fact that their legal rights have been violated. As a result, is important for anyone who has been accused of a crime to have an experienced attorney review the facts of his or her case.

Contact a Boston criminal defense attorney to schedule a free case evaluation

Anyone who is under investigation or facing formal allegations of criminal misconduct should retain legal counsel as soon as possible. In many cases, the earlier an attorney becomes involved, the better the outcome for the accused. Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer Edward R. Molari is dedicated to representing the legal rights of individuals accused of a variety of criminal offenses in the Boston area. To schedule a free consultation, please call our office today at 617-942-1532 or send us an email through our online contact form available here.


Woman’s Arm Severed, Boater Arrested in Boston Harbor Boating Accident

One of the best things about living in a coastal state like Massachusetts is the accessibility to bodies of water that are appropriate for activities for activities such as swimming, watersports, and boating. For many people in the Boston area, spending a day relaxing on a boat generally involves the consumption of alcoholic beverages. While drinking and boating may be a tradition, it is important for people operating a boat to remember that Massachusetts law prohibits people from operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Specifically, the state’s boating under the influence (BUI) law prohibits boating with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 or greater. The penalties for violating this law can include significant fines, jail time, probation, and the loss of your driver’s license, so it is important for anyone accused of BUI to retain legal counsel immediately.

According to a report published by, a 33-year-old Boston man has been arrested in connection to an incident which resulted in a 19-year-old woman losing her arm. The incident occurred on Saturday, May 30th at around 7:45 when a woman fell overboard and was injured by the boat’s propeller. The boat, the “Naut Guilty,” was being operated by its owner, a criminal defense attorney who practices in OUI/DUI defense, according to his website. He was arrested under suspicion of boating under the influence. Since the incident, the owner of the boat has maintained that he was not on the boat when the motor was started, an assertion that has been corroborated by other sources.

Offenses involving alcohol are a serious matter

Alcohol-related offenses can have a significant impact on a person’s life. In addition to the legal consequences that can be imposed by a court, the collateral consequences associated with a conviction can affect almost any aspect of a person’s life. The collateral consequences of an alcohol-related offense may include:

·         Disciplinary action taken by an employer or an educational institution

·         Sanctions imposed by any professional organizations to which you may belong

·         Damage to your reputation within your community

·         Problems at work due to being unable to drive to and from work

·         Difficulty obtaining certain state-issued licenses

By retaining an attorney who is familiar with representing people of driving under the influence (DUI), BUI or other crimes involving the use of alcohol, you can be sure that your case is resolved as favorably as possible. As a result, anyone facing any type of criminal offense should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Contact a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney today to schedule a free case evaluation

Offenses involving alcohol carry a significant social stigma, even when driving a motor vehicle is not involved. Fortunately, in many instances, an attorney can help minimize the legal and collateral consequences associated with a Massachusetts criminal offense and may even be able to have the case completely dismissed. To schedule a free case evaluation with Boston criminal defense lawyer Edward Molari, call our office today at 617-942-1532. If you would prefer to send us an email, please fill out and submit our online contact form available here.



DUI Defense Attorney Challenges DUI Roadblocks


Over the weekend of May 2 and 3, law enforcement officers increased efforts to catch individuals suspected of operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol in Bristol County. The Massachusetts State Police held roadblocks, also commonly referred to as a sobriety checkpoint, to stop cars on a public road over the course of several hours. Though the police department stated that the roadblock’s main purpose was to educate residents of Bristol County regarding OUI enforcement, their goal was certainly to arrest as many individuals as possible on suspicion of OUI. The arrested drivers would then likely face charges and a criminal case.

OUI cases that stem from a DUI roadblock must be handled by a defense attorney who understands the legal requirements for roadblock traffic stops. Roadblocks have long been a controversial way to detect drunk drivers due to the high potential for violations by police of the drivers’ constitutional rights. Arrests that are not constitutionally permissible should be challenged and charges dismissed. OUI defense lawyer Edward Molari has challenged the validity of roadblocks in and around the Boston area on behalf of his clients.

Common issues with roadblocks

The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizure, which includes police detention. Generally speaking, police must have reasonable suspicion that you have violated a law in order to conduct a traffic stop, since a stop qualifies as a detention. Roadblocks usually entail stopping vehicles without any specific suspicion that a particular motorist has committed a crime since suspicion often does not arise until the police interact with a driver.

In order for a roadblock to be valid under the law, it must generally meet the following requirements:

  • Roadblocks should be planned by supervising officers in advance with specifications for which vehicles will be stopped

  • Safety of motorists should be assured

  • Officers must not arbitrarily select vehicles to stop

  • Officers must not exercise discretion in selecting vehicles to stop

  • Officers must have reasonable suspicion to further detain a driver

  • Officers must not unreasonably inconvenience motorists

On too many occasions, even though a roadblock is planned and announced in advance, law enforcement officers take it upon themselves to decide who should be stopped in violation of the requirements. Officers also may keep a certain driver stopped for an extended period of time even in the absence of evidence that they are violating the law. When an officer makes an arrest because of impermissible roadblock tactics, an experienced defense attorney should challenge the arrest and the constitutionality of the roadblock.

Police in Massachusetts make mistakes, as evidenced by a recent reexamination of OUI cases that involved possibly defective or inaccurate breathalyzer devices. If you are arrested during a roadblock, police should be held accountable for any possible missteps they took in the course of the roadblock.

Edward Molari is a highly skilled OUI and criminal defense lawyer in Massachusetts who knows how to challenge the validity of roadblocks and OUI arrests. Anyone arrested for OUI should contact our office at 617-942-1532 as soon as possible to find out how we can help you.




Woman Facing OUI Case after Hitting Pedestrian in Winthrop

As the vast majority of people are aware, Massachusetts law prohibits driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Massachusetts, the offense associated with drunk driving is known as “Operating Under the Influence,” or OUI. Massachusetts law enforcement agencies and prosecutors aggressively enforce these laws, and courts often impose significant penalties on offenders, particularly if they have been caught driving drunk in the past.

A 38-year-old woman arrested in Winthrop recently may soon be on the receiving end of these legal consequences. According to a report published by WCVB 5, a woman was arrested after driving erratically and striking a pedestrian in the area of Main and Revere streets.  The story indicates that police responded to a call from an eyewitness who described a minivan driving erratically and eventually hitting a pedestrian, who ended up pinned underneath a military vehicle when the minivan the woman was driving hit a tree. When police requested the driver’s license, she allegedly pulled a small bottle of vodka out of her purse and attempted to drink from it. Authorities indicate that she had a 6-year-old girl and a 6-month-old boy in the car with her. Additionally, she apparently has prior drunk driving citations on her driving record from 2008 and 2010, in North Carolina and California, respectively.

Drunk driving can result in serious legal consequences

People who are convicted of drunk driving in Massachusetts can face significant legal consequences. This is especially true if there are aggravating circumstances involved, such as an injury-causing accident or the presence of young children in the car that was being driven by the allegedly drunk driver.  As both of these issues were present in the case described above, it is likely that the driver of the vehicle is looking at some extremely harsh penalties. Some of these consequences may include the following:

·         Probation

·         Significant fines

·         The installation of an ignition interlock device

·         Mandatory drug or alcohol counseling

·         Jail time

In addition, people who have convictions for OUI on their record may face significant collateral consequences as well. Collateral consequences are those that are not directly imposed by the court as a result of your conviction. For example, a person with a OUI conviction on their record may have difficulty obtaining certain types of employment or state-issued professional licenses. In some cases, these collateral consequences may have a more significant impact on a person’s life than the direct consequences imposed by the court. As a result, it is imperative that anyone accused of drunk driving in Massachusetts discuss their situation with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Contact a Boston criminal defense attorney today to schedule a free consultation

Anyone who is facing allegations of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs should consult with an attorney immediately. The potential consequences of a OUI conviction in Massachusetts could affect you for years, so it is imperative to mount the strongest legal defense you can. To schedule a free consultation with Boston criminal defense lawyer Edward Molari, please call our office today at 617-942-1532 or send us an email through our online contact form available here.



Massachusetts Court Declines to Extend 2nd Amendment Protections to Stun Guns

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (SJC) recently decided a case in which it upheld a state law prohibiting the possession of electronic weapons in most circumstances. The case, known as Commonwealth v. Caetano, involved a woman who was suspected of shoplifting who was found in possession of stun gun which she indicated that she had in order to protect herself from a violent person. Upon being accused of violating the law prohibiting the possession of stun guns, her attorney argued at the trial court level that the statute is in violation of the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms. The trial court disagreed, and Caetano appealed to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.

In its analysis, the SJC determined that a stun gun is not within the class of arms that fall under 2nd Amendment protections. In making its determination, the SJC relied heavily on established United States Supreme Court precedent that established limitations on the right to bear arms. For example, case law has established that 2nd Amendment protections only reach the types of arms that were in common use at the time the Amendment was adopted and does not operate to invalidate laws that prohibit the possession of dangerous and unusual weapons. The Court concluded in its opinion that stun guns were in fact “dangerous,” “unusual,” and not in use at the time of the enactment of the 2nd Amendment and upheld the law.

Weapons violations can have significant penalties

The law prohibiting the possession of stun guns is one of myriad Massachusetts laws that apply to firearms and other weapons. Individuals who are found to be in violation of state laws that prohibit or regulate the use or possession of firearms or other weapons can often be subject to significant legal consequences. These may include the following:


  • Probation
  • Significant fines
  • Limitations on your right to possess firearms
  • Jail time


In addition, the existence of a conviction for a weapons-related offense can have significant collateral consequences as well. In some cases, it may make it difficult to obtain employment or lease an apartment. As a result, it is important for people accused of offenses related to the possession of weapons to mount the strongest legal defense possible. Fortunately, in many cases, a lawyer familiar with defending individuals accused of these types of offenses can mitigate the immediate and potential long-term consequences of accusations of criminal misconduct.

Contact a Boston criminal defense attorney today to schedule a free consultation

Anyone facing a criminal case in Massachusetts should retain competent legal counsel as soon as possible. Often, the assistance of an experienced Boston criminal defense attorney can have a significant impact on the outcome of a case and may be able to mitigate the serious legal consequences you are likely facing. Attorney Edward Molari is committed to protecting the legal rights of individuals accused of crimes and handles a wide variety of criminal matters in the Boston area. To schedule a free initial consultation with Mr. Molari, please call our office today at 617-942-1532.

Changes for Eyewitness Identification in MA (Part One)

Eyewitness identification has long been a source of controversy in criminal cases due to the potential for witness error due to many factors. Such factors may include: witness memory, suggestiveness of the identification situation, distance and lighting at the time of observation, cross-ethnic or cross-racial identification challenges, focus on a weapon, and more. These factors are extremely important to take into consideration since The Innocence Project reports that misidentification by witnesses is the primary cause of wrongful conviction in the United States, and was a substantial factor in 72 percent of convictions that the Project has successfully overturned through DNA evidence. As you can see, eyewitness identification evidence is often unreliable and should always be carefully examined by a defense attorney and excluded whenever possible.

Types of Eyewitness Identification Evidence

Regardless of the questionability of the results, several different types of witness identification are regularly used as evidence in criminal trials. These include the following:

  • Picture identification -- Police present a witness with several photographs, either sequentially or all at once, of different individuals, one of whom is the suspect.

  • Lineup -- A witness is brought into the police station to anonymously view a group of individuals that includes the suspect and several decoys that should look similar in size and appearance to the suspect.

  • Showup -- Police bring a witness to view only the suspect without any decoys. Showups usually occur right after apprehension of the suspect and often at the scene of the crime, and evidence resulting from showups is often disfavored because of the inherent suggestiveness of the situation. For this reason, courts in Massachusetts should only admit showup identification evidence with good reason.

Not only are witness identifications often unreliable, but they are also often obtained in ways that violate a suspect’s constitutional rights. Such methods include those that are highly suggestive as to the identity of the suspect or denying the suspect representation of an attorney at a lineup. In such situations, a defense attorney can have any evidence related to the witness identification excluded from trial.

In-Court Identifications

Another type of identification used at criminal trial is the in-court identification, in which an individual on the witness stand is asked whether the person they observed committing the crime is present in the room. As you can imagine, this type of identification can significantly influence a jury even though it may not be accurate. Accuracy of in-court identifications in front of a jury has also been long called into question, and courts have regularly ruled on the requirements necessary for in-court to be admissible. For example, the in-court identification has to be based on some type of independent source.

It is extraordinarily important for a qualified criminal defense attorney to stay apprised of court rulings and changes in law regarding facets of criminal cases such as eyewitness identification. Part two of this article will explain new changes in eyewitness identification law recently issued by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC).

If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, please contact the law office of experienced Boston criminal defense attorney Edward R. Molari for help today.



Changes for Eyewitness Identification in MA (Part Two)

Previously on this blog, we discussed the various types of eyewitness identification evidence that may be presented in a criminal trial, as well as why the accuracy of this type of evidence should often be questioned and excluded from a criminal trial. Because eyewitness identification so commonly leads to wrongful conviction, the courts review the legitimacy of such evidence and reevaluate the standards that dictate when identification evidence should be admitted or excluded. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SLC) recently issued a ruling in Commonwealth v. Crayton changing the law in our state regarding the admissibility of in-court witness identification, and the following is a brief overview of these new developments.

Background of the case

In this case, the defendant, Walter Crayton, faced charges of child pornography. Two middle school students had been at the public library and saw a man viewing images of naked or almost naked children on a library computer. They reported the man to a library employee and described him as “short, white, and bald, with a little beard and eyeglasses.” Though the employee did not personally see the man on the computer, he called the police the next time he saw a person fitting the description given by the students and the police subsequently arrested the defendant.

The two students were never asked by law enforcement to identify the defendant in a lineup or picture identification after the first and only time they saw him at the library. Two years later, however, at trial, the prosecutor put each of the students on the stand and asked them to identify the man from the library. Both students pointed out the defendant and the defendant was later convicted of child pornography.

Changes in the law

On appeal, the SJC ruled that, if no identification took place pre-trial, any subsequent in-court identification will be treated like a showup. As discussed in Part One of this blog, a showup occurs when a witness is brought to the scene of the crime or location where the suspect was apprehended and asked to identify the suspect. A showup is inherently suggestive since the suspect is alone, with no decoys, and is usually in handcuffs. For this reason, courts have ruled that evidence of a showup identification is only admitted when there is “good reason” to use that type of identification method instead of a more reliable method.

The SJC noted that in-court identifications may be just as suggestive, if not more so, than showups since the witness may assume that the prosecutor and police have completed sufficient investigation to believe that the defendant is the correct perpetrator. For this reason, if there was no pre-trial identification on which to base an in-court ID, the in-court identification should be treated as a showup and should only be admitted when there is “good reason” demonstrated to use this type of evidence.

Contact an experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer for assistance

If you are facing any type of criminal charges, you always want to make sure you are represented by an attorney who has a thorough understanding of Massachusetts criminal laws, including any new changes or developments issued by the courts or legislature. Please do not hesitate to call the law office of Edward R. Molari at (617) 942-1532 to discuss how we can help you today.

Super Bowl Sunday DUIs Can Have Serious Consequences

According to NBC, the 2015 Super Bowl drew a record-setting 114.4 million viewers this year. With the New England Patriots playing in (and winning) the game this year, it is a safe presumption that the rate of viewership in Boston was particularly high. For many football fans, watching the Super Bowl involves doing so with others at Super Bowl parties hosted in private homes, as well at various sports bars around the city. Generally, these celebrations involve food and drinks, including alcohol. In fact, for some fans, Super Bowl Sunday is an unofficial holiday that involves an all-day celebration, starting the moment they wake up. As a result, many football fans have the potential to overindulge in both food and alcohol on Super Bowl Sunday, sometimes to the point of intoxication. Law enforcement is aware of this fact, and actively looks for people who have had an excessive amount to drink and pose a danger to themselves and others on the road by driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

A DUI conviction in Massachusetts can have serious consequences, even for a first time offense. As a result anyone who was arrested for DUI this Super Bowl Sunday or at any other time should discuss her or his options with an experienced Boston criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a consultation with Massachusetts attorney Edward R. Molari, call our office today at (617) 942-1532.

Mayor and Police Chief Commissioner Encourage Responsible Drinking

Recognizing the potential issues that the Super Bowl may create in the city, Mayor Walsh, joined by Police Commissioner William Evans and others, issued a press release prior to the February 1st game calling on Boston residents to, “celebrate in a respectful and responsible manner.” In addition, the statement indicated that the Boston Police Department would have additional officers on duty focusing specifically for DUI enforcement and encouraged fans to use public transportation.

Massachusetts DUIs can have Serious Consequences

Undoubtedly, there were drivers on Super Bowl Sunday who failed to heed the Mayor’s advice and chose to drive after having consumed alcohol. In some cases, these drivers may have earnestly believed that their blood alcohol content was not over the legal limit when they chose to drive. In others, a driver may have simply chosen to take a chance by getting behind the wheel. Finally, sometimes, law enforcement erroneously believes that a person is intoxicated when she or he is not. Regardless of the circumstances under which a person is accused of driving under the influence, she or he can face serious legal consequences in the event of a conviction. Some of these include:

·         Significant fines

·         Probation

·         The mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device

·         Drug and alcohol counseling

·         Jail time

As a result, it is important for anyone facing a Massachusetts DUI charge to retain an experienced attorney as soon as possible. There are many potential defenses that an attorney may be able to raise in your case, some of which could potentially have the entire case dismissed. At the law office of Edward R. Molari, we are committed to achieving the best possible result for every individual client and will make sure your rights are properly protected at every stage of your case. To schedule a free consultation with Mr. Molari, call our office today at (617) 942-1532.



What are Potential Defenses in a Massachusetts Criminal Case?

Being accused of a crime is a frightening and humiliating experience and can significantly impact almost every aspect of your life. The potential consequences of a criminal conviction can include probation, fines, restitution, and even jail time. In addition, the collateral consequences of a criminal record can affect you for years, potentially keeping your from securing employment or obtain certain professional licenses. Fortunately, there are a number of ways that a Boston criminal defense attorney can help mitigate or even completely avoid any penalties or other issues that may arise from criminal accusations. In many cases, the early intervention of an attorney can help ensure that your legal rights are protected and can prevent a the filing of a formal case.

Criminal Defenses

A skilled criminal defense attorney is familiar with a variety legal defenses that may be available in your case. Because every case is different, it is important for people who are accused of a crime to have the circumstances of their arrest and any attendant investigation thoroughly reviewed by an experienced lawyer. Possible defenses available include the following:

Alibi - An alibi defense involves introducing evidence that the accused was somewhere else at the time was committed, making impossible for him or her to be guilty;

Self-Defense - Self-defense is a defense that is available to certain defendants who are accused of violent crimes. It involves introducing evidence that indicates that the violence used by the defendant was used in an attempt to defend him or herself from another person's violent attack;

4th Amendment Violations - The 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits law enforcement and other state actors from conducting unreasonable searches and seizures. Warrantless searches and seizures are presumed to be unreasonable under the law, provided that they do not fall within one of the various exceptions to the rule. In many cases, a 4th Amendment violation will result in the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence from any court proceedings, often substantially weakening the state's case;

Reasonable Doubt - In our system of criminal justice, the state must establish every element of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest burden of proof imposed in the American legal system, and can be very difficult to meet. A skilled defense lawyer can often introduce additional evidence or impeach the credibility of the prosecution's witnesses or evidence to the extent that it creates doubt in the mind of the jury, necessitating an acquittal;

Contact a Boston Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Anyone facing a criminal case in the Boston area should talk to an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with criminal defense lawyer Edward R. Molari, call our office today at (617) 942-1532.


What is the Standardized Field Sobriety Test in Massachusetts?

When a law enforcement officer suspects that a driver has been drinking or is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, there are a variety techniques for gathering evidence in support of their assertion. These techniques can include objective measures of the level of intoxicants in person's bloodstream, which can be determined by employing chemical testing of a person's blood, breath, or urine. Before these techniques are employed, however, an officer generally makes a determination as to a person's sobriety based on more subjective observations, including a driver's appearance and behavior.

In an attempt to standardize the way that law enforcement determines whether a driver is intoxicated, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Southern California Research Institute developed a series of tests known collectively as the Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST). The SFST is made up of three tests which are designed to help law enforcement determine whether a driver is intoxicated. The three tests that make up the SFST are explained below.

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus - The horizontal gaze nystagmus test involves observing involuntary twitching of the eye muscles that occur when the eyes move from left to right. Research indicates that this twitching occurs at lesser angles in people who are intoxicated. In order to administer the test, the officer asks the subject to track an object as he or she moves it across the subject's field of vision and observes the movement of the subject's eyes.

The One-Leg Stand - The one leg stand test is administered by asking the driver to stand with one foot raised off of the ground while he or she counts aloud by thousands. The officer administering the test looks for both cognitive and physical signs of impairment, such as incorrect counting or issues with balance.

The Walk-and-Turn - In the walk-and-turn test, the officer administering the test directs the subject to walk nine paces, heel-to-toe, along a straight line, then turn around and return the same way. During the test, the officer looks for signs of impairment, including using arms to maintain balance, starting the test before the instructions are finished, taking the wrong number of steps, and not touching heel-to-toe.

The SFST is Not Always Accurate

Even if a law enforcement officer determines that you are intoxicated based on your performance on the SFST, there are several ways that an experienced defense attorney can challenge the validity of that determination. For example, a defense lawyer may introduce evidence that the officer was not properly trained in administering the test or introduce video evidence that contradicts the officer's version of events. In most cases, the assistance of an attorney can result in a much better outcome in DUI cases, potentially avoiding certain serious legal consequences.

Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Criminal defense lawyer Edward Molari is dedicated to helping people facing criminal accusations. Call our office today at (617) 942-1532.