What's New

2020

5/27/20: Judge Stearns has updated the chapters on "Battery" and "Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon" to note, among other topics, new cases on serious bodily injury and mayhem. The section on "Other Bad Acts" in the "Procedure" chapter has also been revised.

5/19/20: Judge Stearns has revised and updated the Search and Seizure chapters on "Threshold Inquiries" and "Searches with Warrants."

5/14/20: Having reluctantly concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic will be a fact of life for at least the coming months, Judge Stearns has revised the bail portions of the chapter on "Procedure" to include a new section on the Special COVID-19 Bail Considerations mandated by the Supreme Judicial Court.

5/11/20: Judge Stearns has revised the introductory chapter on "Search and Seizure" to include, among other topics, a discussion of Commonwealth v. McCarthy, 484 Mass. 493 (2020), an important new case from the Supreme Judicial Court that attempts to adapt art. 14 and the reasonable expectation of privacy test to a world of ultra-sophisticated police surveillance technology.

4/30/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Forgery" to take note of Commonwealth v. Andre, 484 Mass. 403 (2020), which among other things, requires a trial judge to instruct a jury to evaluate the foundational elements for admitting a challenged business record. The chapter on "Larceny" has been revised to take note of Commonwealth v. McGann, 484 Mass. 312 (2020), which authorizes a sentencing judge to award restitution to a third party who suffers a financial loss because of a defendant's criminal conduct.

4/27/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Indecent Assault and Battery" to note important developments in the law regarding the statute of limitations, jury empanelment, the law of consent in the context of a sexual battery, medical record contents, and the substitution of "first" complaint witnesses, among other topics.

4/13/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Firearms Offenses" to incorporate, among other developments, an important new Supreme Judicial Court case, Commonwealth v. Marrero, 484 Mass. 341 (2020), which relieves the Commonwealth of the burden of proving that a defendant in unlawful possession of a firearm knew that his gun met the statutory definition.

4/10/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Public Order Offenses" to recognize, among other developments, an important Supreme Judicial Court case, In the Matter of a Minor, 484 Mass. 295 (2020), which sets out due process requirements for a section 35 civil commitment proceeding, particularly when a juvenile is the respondent.

4/6/20: Judge Stearns has revised "A Prosecutor's Guide to Discovery" (PROCEDURE 1) to include new developments regarding the Public Records Law. The chapter on "Searches Incident to Arrest" has been revised in light of Commonwealth v. Barillas, 484 Mass. 250, an important new Supreme Judicial Court opinion discussing the seizure of cell phones incident to arrest, among other topics.

3/30/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on Police matters to incorporate developments in the law affecting civil rights, qualified immunity, inmate rights, and actions brought under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act, including the potential of class actions.

3/21/20: Judge Stearns has revised the procedural sections on bail and the use of other crimes evidence to capture recent developments in the law.

3/16/20: Judge Stearns has revised the section on district court procedures to reflect new developments in juvenile justice, particularly with respect to issues of diversionary sentences and probation revocations. The chapter on "Search Warrants" has been revised to recognize new cases dealing with computer searches and clarification of the procedures to be followed in taking an interlocutory appeal of a decision on a motion to suppress.

2/28/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Vehicle Searches" to include commentary on Commonwealth v. Goncalves-Mendez, 484 Mass. 80 (2020), which announces a new rule prospectively requiring police to offer detained drivers the option of having a passenger who can do so lawfully, take custody of his vehicle instead of having it impounded (and inventoried). The chapter on "Firearms Offenses" has been revised to include new cases commenting on knowledge that a gun is loaded, the discharge of firearms in or near a dwelling or occupied building, and statutory exemptions to the licensing requirements.

2/24/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapters on "Identification," "Assault," and "Dangerous Weapons" to incorporate the most recent developments in the law, including commentary on social media and the statutory right to seek DNA reanalysis.

2/18/20: The chapter on "Forgery and Uttering" has been revised to recognize, among other developments, Justice Lenk's astute commentary on the distinctions among forgery, uttering, and false statements in Commonwealth v. Stirlacci, 483 Mass. 775 (2020).

2/14/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapters on "Introductory Search and Seizure," "Threshold Inquiries," and "Searches with Warrants" to incorporate recent developments in the case law. Of particular significance is Justice Budd's opinion in Commonwealth v. Torres-Pagan, 484 Mass. 34 (2020), clarifying the distinction between the more stringent standards justifying a patfrisk and the more lenient officer-safety standard justifying an order to exit a stopped vehicle.

1/22/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Indecent Assault and Battery" in light of recent cases addressing, among other topics, prosecutions of child pornography and indecent assaults on children, the first complaint doctrine, jury empanelment and deliberations, and public access to court records.

1/13/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Threshold Inquiries" to recognize Justice Budd's important opinion in Commonwealth v. Matta, 483 Mass. 357 (2019), reframing the "free to leave" test for determining when a police encounter with a civilian is transformed into a seizure. He has also revised the chapter on "Admissions and Confessions" to incorporate new cases on the administering of Miranda warnings, voluntariness, and the recording of confessions, among other topics.

1/6/20: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Domestic Abuse" in light of important new cases discussing limitations on the scope of Chapter 258E orders, the elements of civil and criminal proceedings under Chapter 209A and Chapter 258E, proper service, and the right of appeal.

2019

12/27/19: The chapter on "Motor Vehicle Offenses" has been revised to incorporate new cases addressing the definition of a public way, as well as the prosecution of operating under the influence offenses, including an analysis of Commonwealth v. Dennis, 96 Mass. App. Ct. 528 (2019), an Appeals Court decision discussing the different federal and state standards governing the drawing of blood for testing purposes. The "Firearms" chapter now incorporates the definitional standards governing the issuance of extreme risk protection orders, as well as two significant cases (among others), Commonwealth v. Paul, 96 Mass. App. Ct. 263 (2019), which discusses the out-of-state resident licensing exemption, and Worman v. Healey, a First Circuit decision rejecting a Second Amendment challenge to the Massachusetts ban on certain specified assault weapons and large capacity feeding devices. The chapter on "Assaults on Police; Police Misconduct" has been revised to note Commonwealth v. Adams, 482 Mass. 514 (2019), a Supreme Judicial Court decision reviving the common-law offense of interfering with a police officer, as well as case developments impacting fee-shifting in civil rights cases, the doctrine of qualified immunity, and inmate rights under RLUIPA and the PLRA.

11/29/19: The chapters on identification law and procedure have been revised to note the impact of Commonwealth v. German, 483 Mass. 553 (2019), on showup identifications, as well as developments involving expert testimony, social media, and the DNA Innocence Act, among other topics.

11/1/19: The chapter on "Drug Crimes" has been revised to reflect, among other recent developments, the impact of Commonwealth v. Carrillo, 483 Mass. 269 (2019), on the prosecution of drug distribution overdose deaths and Commonwealth v. Matta, 483 Mass. 357 (2019), which fleshes out the drug free park zone provision of Chapter 94C, section 32J. The chapter on "Battery" has also been revised in light of the Carrillo decision.

10/8/19: The chapters on Malicious Mischief, Forgery, Breaking and Entering, Criminal Trespass, Larceny, and Receiving Stolen Property have now been fully revised and updated by Judge Stearns.

10/3/19: The chapters on Court Procedure have been revised to capture recent developments in the law affecting bail, pretrial diversion, and juvenile prosecutions, among other topics.

9/27/19: The chapters on "Battery" and "Indecent Assault and Battery" have been fully revised and updated.

9/3/19: All eight chapters on the law of Searches and Seizures have been revised to incorporate new cases on matters ranging from standing to the odor of marijuana and the plain smell doctrine and much more.

9/3/19: The chapter on "Admissions and Confessions" has been revised to include recent developments, including cases discussing non-testimonial evidence, custodial interrogation, and the attenuation doctrine. The chapter on "Simple and Aggravated Assault" has been revised to take note, among other topics, of the recognition in Adams, of the viability of the ancient common-law crime of interfering with or hindering a police officer in the performance of his or her duties, as well as Justice Kafker's important Buttimer opinion, which brings much-needed clarity to the concept of apparent ability as it applies in the broader assault context of a defendant's knowledge and intent, the victim's fear or apprehension, and the brandishing by the defendant of a dangerous weapon. The chapter on "Domestic Abuse" has been revised to incorporate important new cases fleshing out the elements of criminal harassment and the burdens of proof that apply when a court considers the extension, modification, or termination of a Chapter 209A order.

8/21/19: The chapter on Public Order Offenses has been revised to update subscribers on refinements in the law governing section 35 alcohol and substance abuse commitment orders, the recognition of a (new) common-law crime of interfering with a police officer in his or her performance of a lawful duty, a new model jury instruction on deriving support from prostitution, and most important, Justice Kafker's effort to make sense out of the new legislation intended to give juveniles a "second chance" when faced with a first misdemeanor delinquency adjudication.

8/18/19: The chapter on "Motor Vehicle Law" has been revised to update subscribers on, among other developments in the law, the Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer, motor vehicle citations, and the offenses of operating to endanger and operating under the influence of marijuana or other narcotic drugs.

8/15/19: The chapter on "Searches with Warrants" has been revised to reflect new developments in the law regarding searches of smart phones and computers, uses of informant information, staleness, and appeals of adverse suppression decisions, among other topics.

8/13/19: The chapters on Procedure have been updated to reflect developments in the law on topics as diverse as gang affiliation evidence used to prove motive, public records access, the right of confrontation, and juvenile sentencing.

8/11/19: The chapter on "Identification Evidence" has been substantially revised by Judge Stearns to incorporate recent developments in the the law regarding social media authentication, post-conviction DNA testing, photo identifications, opinion testimony, and the forfeiture doctrine, among other topics.

8/7/19: The "Firearms Offenses" chapter has been updated to incorporate important new cases discussing firearms licensing and the Armed Career Criminal Act, among other topics.

5/29/19: The chapters on District Court Procedure have been revised to incorporate new developments in the bail laws, the law of accomplice liability, and juvenile offender sentencing.

5/12/19: The chapters on Assault, Larceny, and Receiving Stolen Property have been revised and updated.

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