5/21/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Motor Vehicle Offenses" to highlight an important new case, Commonwealth v. Hallinan, 491 Mass. 730 (2023), which holds out the prospect of a new trial for 27,000 OUI defendants convicted between June of 2011, and April 18, 2019, at least in part with Alcotest 9510 breathalyzer test results.
5/15/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Firearms Offenses" in light of the important new Supreme Judicial Court opinion, Commonwealth v. Guardado, 491 Mass. 666 (2023), that in response to the Supreme Court's Bruen decision, places the burden on the Commonwealth to prove that a defendant did not have a valid license to possess a firearm or ammunition.
4/24/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Searches Incident to Arrest" to include a discussion of the Supreme Judicial Court's recent watershed decision in Commonwealth v. Privette, 491 Mass. 501 (2023), limiting the reach of the horizontal collective knowledge doctrine in ways that Judge Stearns predicts may prove impractical.
4/11/23: Judge Stearns has revised and updated the chapters on "Larceny", "Receiving Stolen Property", and "Motor Vehicle Law". The revised chapters note a number of new developments in the law including the exemption of electric bicycles from the Chapter 90 definition of motor vehicles, and case law discussion of corporate criminal liability, what it means to operate a vehicle, testimonial opinions regarding field sobriety tests, jury unanimity, and liability for fetal death, among other topics.
3/2/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Battery" to take note of the Supreme Judicial Court's important recent decision in Commonwealth v. Ronchi, 491 Mass. 284 (2023), abandoning the common-law infidelity exception to the "reasonable provocation" rule.
1/31/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Threshold Inquiries" to incorporate a number of new cases, among them the Supreme Judicial Court's affirmance (491 Mass. 165 (2023)) of the Appeals Court's decision in Commonwealth v. Karen K., 99 Mass. App. Ct. 216 (2021), discussing a suspect's "blading" as a basis for a stop and frisk and adding important commentary on the presentation of officer testimony based on training and experience.
1/17/23: Judge Stearns has revised and updated the chapters on "Searches Incident to Arrest", "Plain View Seizures", and "Searches with Warrants" to note the relevant new developments in Massachusetts and federal law.
1/13/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapters on "Identification" and "Identification Evidence" to note new cases on photo arrays, Chapter 22E DNA testing, and courtroom identification testimony, among other topics.
1/3/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapters on "Police Misconduct" and "Civil Rights Actions", "Domestic Abuse", "Exigent Searches", and "Trespass" to note new cases and developments in the law involving, among other topics, qualified immunity, malicious prosecution, Tort Claims Act presentments, emergency police entries of the home, and civil and criminal harassment orders.
12/13/22: Judge Stearns has revised the chapters on "Assault", "Battery", and "Malicious Mischief" to incorporate recent cases from the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court.
11/4/22: Judge Stearns has revised the chapters on procedure and evidence to incorporate recent developments in the law on a number of topics including bail and detention, exculpatory evidence, polygraph testing, prior bad acts, professional conduct, joint venture, and juvenile justice, among other subjects.
The 42nd edition of the Guide is now online.
10/11/22: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Indecent Assault and Battery" to incorporate, among other cases, a number of recent decisions from the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court addressing the vexing issues of the proper use of peremptory challenges in the effort to ensure the selection of fair and representative juries. The chapter on "Motor Vehicle Offenses" has been revised taking particular note of Commonwealth v. Moreau's, 490 Mass. 387 (2022), extension of Bohigian's, 486 Mass. 209 (2020), holding that nonconsensual blood tests are inadmissible on statutory grounds in all OUI prosecutions with or without a court order.
8/19/22: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Admissions and Confessions" to note the Supreme Court's recent decision in Vega v. Tekoh holding that a Miranda violation will not support a claim for damages under the Federal Civil Rights Act, as well as new Massachusetts cases touching on, among other topics. the confession corroboration requirement, waivers by juveniles, and the use of noncustodial pre-arrest statements at trial.
8/1/22: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Firearms Offenses" to assess the substantial impact of the Supreme Court's decision in New York Rifle & Pistol Ass'n v. Bruen on Massachusetts gun licensing laws and to make some predictions of forthcoming legislative tweaks to the existing law. He also discusses the important case of Commonwealth v. Rossetti, 489 Mass. 589 (2022), and its impact on sentencing for certain gun offenses.
5/10/22: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Identification Evidence" to note a number of new cases on topics ranging from photo arrays, showups, video reenactments, photograph enhancements, and in-court identification, to the admission of expert testimony on visual identification and fingerprint matches. The chapter on "Battery" has been revised to include new cases addressing involuntary manslaughter, provocation, the use of excessive force in self-defense, defense of another, and third-party culprit evidence.
4/15/22: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Domestic Abuse" to take note of the important new case of Commonwealth v. Dufresne, 489 Mass. 195 (2022), which reaffirms the absence of an art. 12 or Sixth Amendment right to counsel in the civil phases of a Chapter 209A proceeding and rejects a separation of powers challenge to enforcement of the criminal provisions of Chapter 209A by the executive branch.
4/8/22: Judge Stearns has updated the chapter on "Search and Seizure" to take note of three important new cases: Commonwealth v. DeJesus, 489 Mass. 292 (2022), which abolishes the traditional Massachusetts two-step standing analysis in favor of the Supreme Court's single-step expectation of privacy test, Commonwealth v. Carrasquillo, 489 Mass. 107 (2022), which questions the application of the third-party records doctrine to searches of social media, and Commonwealth v. Perry, which places restrictions on the gathering of CSLI by so-called "tower dumps," as well as other recent developments.
3/10/22: Judge Stearns has revised the chapters on court procedure and multiple defendant cases to include new commentary and cases on juvenile justice, joint venture, and parent-child privileges, among other matters.
2/23/22: Judge Stearns has updated the chapters on "District Court Procedure", "Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon", and "Public Order Offenses" to incorporate new cases on topics ranging from Covid-19 measures, motive, consciousness of guilt, dangerous weapons and serious bodily injury, and "upskirting."
2/4/22: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Indecent Assault and Battery" to note new cases discussing consent, first complaint, and juror voir dire, among other topics, as well as a new Police Reform Act statute that criminalizes sexual contact between a law enforcement officer and a person in his or her custody.
1/23/22: We have now migrated to new servers. Please let us know if you have any difficulty accessing the site.
1/15/22: Judge Stearns has revised and updated the chapters on "Battery", "Burglary", and "Consent Searches", noting among other changes the impact of the Police Reform Act on the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act.
1/14/22: Maintenance Alert. The Guide will shortly be migrating to new servers. The migration may cause some brief interruption in service, but we will take every step we can to minimize any disruption. We will post here again as soon as we have a better idea of the timeframe for this maintenance work.
1/7/22: Judge Stearns has updated the chapter on "Police Misconduct" to include, among other new topics, an assessment of the Police Reform Act and its impact on the rules governing the use of force and the doctrine of qualified immunity, together with a commentary on the Final Report of the legislative commission on qualified immunity issued on January 4, 2022. The chapter on "Threshold Inquiries" has also been updated to take note of the controversial Supreme Judicial Court decision in Commonwealth v. Sweeting-Bailey, 488 Mass. 741 (2021).