What's New

2024

2/6/24: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Admissions and Confessions" to include a number of new cases, including a valedictory opinion by Justice Lowy, Commonwealth v. Hart, 493 Mass. 130 (2023), which Judge Stearns predicts will become much cited for its comments on interrogation tactics.

2023

11/14/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "District Court Procedure" to note among other significant developments the Supreme Judicial Court's rescission of its final Covid-19 Emergency Order. The chapter "Procedure 2" (including "Multiple Defendants" and "Juvenile Proceedings") has been revised to note new cases on attorney conflict of interest, other crimes evidence, accomplice liability, the Bruton rule, joint venture, and youthful offender sentencing, among other topics.

9/29/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Search and Seizure" to expand on a number of topics including wiretapping, automatic standing, and the uncertain future of the third-party records doctrine. The chapter on "Threshold Inquiries" has also been revised to reflect new case developments, particularly in the area of racial profiling.

9/2/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapters on "Identification Standards" and "Identification Evidence" to incorporate recent case developments, including the important new opinion, Commonwealth v. Brum, 492 Mass. 581 (2023), with its expansive (and prosecution friendly) interpretation of the Daye Rule.

8/14/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapters on "Assault" and "Domestic Abuse" to capture recent developments in the case law.

6/6/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Threshold Inquiries" to highlight an important new case, Commonwealth v. Robinson-Van Rader, 492 Mass. 1 (2023), with its discussion of the less stringent test to be applied to claims of selective enforcement (racial profiling) based on equal protection principles. The chapters on "Searches of Vehicles" and "Forgery and Uttering" have also been updated.

5/31/23: Judge Stearns has revised the chapter on "Indecent Assault and Battery" to note new cases discussing the Rape Shield Statute, consent, the disclosure of privileged records, and the important new Supreme Judicial Court case, Commonwealth v. J.F., 491 Mass. 824 (2023), refining the rules governing the sealing of the records of discontinued prosecutions.

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.

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