Nearly everybody spends time with family members during the holiday season, and in some families, too much time together can result in relatives getting into arguments and fighting. If things get out of control, a fight might escalate from mere words to a physical altercation. When family members get into physical altercations, it can result in domestic assault and battery charges. Continue reading
On the November ballot, Massachusetts voters had the opportunity to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in limited quantities. The voters have spoken, and starting December 15, 2016, it will be legal in Massachusetts for individuals who are over the age of 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana under House Bill 1.561. It will also be legal for residents to grow small amounts of marijuana in their private homes. Users can transport not more than 10 ounces of marijuana, and not more than 10 pounds of marijuana products (i.e., treats, confections, or other consumables). Continue reading
In November the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court struggled with the question of how about best to handle the aftermath of the Dookhan drug testing lab scandal, according to the Boston Globe. Annie Dookhan worked as a chemist in a Massachusetts drug testing lab where she produced test results that were used in over 24,000 criminal cases as evidence against defendants accused and convicted of drug crimes. The problem is that because Ms. Dookhan mishandled at least some of the drug samples for a fact, and falsified her test results data, countless criminal defendants may have been convicted on bad evidence. Continue reading
In a move that strengthens individuals’ right to privacy, the state’s highest court ruled that state law enforcement must have particularized evidence that a cellphone is tied to a criminal act in order to be able to seize the cellphone. While the court acknowledged that there is a common sense notion that cellphones are often used by criminals to communicate with other criminals about their criminal activities, or that cellphones could be used for other tasks, like taking pictures that could also be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding, the mere fact that there is only a commonsense notion of these uses of a cell phone is not sufficient override an individual privacy rights. This decision makes it harder for police to seize cellphones.
In recent years there has been an immense effort to combat the availability of an opioid drug, such as fentanyl, in Massachusetts, which was brought about by an increased rate of opioid-induced death. Fentanyl, a Class B controlled substance under Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 94C, Section 31, is used to cut other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, and is extremely addictive. The use of fentanyl skyrocketed because it has the effect of enhancing the potency of other drugs that it is mixed with, but this is also what makes fentanyl so incredibly dangerous. Continue reading
In a rather interesting news report in the Cape Cod Times, a young man is accused of breaking into a home located in Martha’s Vineyard where he allegedly painted the resident’s dog with purple paint and stole some items from the home. The accused man stands charged with more than a half dozen crimes, including breaking and entering with the intent to commit a felony, cruelty to animals, and possession of several controlled substances.
Back in May of this year, it was suspected that a 62-year-old woman was kidnapped from her assisted living facility in Newton. The woman, identified as June Doe, a pseudonym, went missing in the middle of the afternoon after living at the facility for only two months. All that was found of Ms. Doe at the facility was her empty wheelchair. Ms. Doe disappeared shortly after being visited by a long-time friend, according to a news report by Boston.com. Police were concerned about the safety and well being of Ms. Doe since she had recently suffered a stroke, leaving her with diminished capacity, and because she was on important medication. Ms. Doe was found two days after being taken, when she was admitted to a Boston hospital. Continue reading
Police made a traffic stop on Interstate 84 in mid-August and found considerably more than they bargained for. According to a recent report by Boston.com, the driver, Jeannie Ortiz, age 41, and passenger Domingo Ortiz, age 51, were found in possession of 85 grams of cocaine. The couple was charged with trafficking cocaine and conspiracy to violate state drug laws. Continue reading
Many people in Massachusetts fail to recognize that driving under the influence of drugs or drugged driving is just as bad as driving under the influence of alcohol, and both are illegal. Drugged driving is rapidly becoming a more frequent occurrence that driving under the influence of alcohol. According to a recent article by Fox25 News, there has been a 42% uptick in drugged driving over the past five years, compared to a 26% uptick in drunk driving cases over the same time period, based on data collected by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.