Criminal Law Archives
Search of a Van is invalid despite observing marijuana
A van pulled over because of an unilluminated headlight could not be entered and searched by the police based on marijuana the officers saw inside the van, the Supreme Judicial Court has ruled.
After an officer saw “about a [one]-ounce bag” … Read More »
Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Chief Judge seeks to reform drug cases
The new Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judical Court recently spoke on the “state of the judiciary”. One of his most important goals for the future is to call for the end to mandatory minimum sentences for low … Read More »
Expunging or sealing your record
The Supreme Judicial Court in the case of Commonwealth v. Alves, decided on August 27, 2014 dealt with the issue of expunging or sealing a criminal record. The single question before the court was whether the proper remedy for a clerical error that results in … Read More »
Mass Supreme Judicial Court eases standard for sealing of criminal record
By: Tom Egan August 15, 2014
The Supreme Judicial Court has decided to make it easier to get a criminal record sealed.
In 2010, the Legislature enacted extensive reforms to the criminal offender record information (CORI) scheme, extending access … Read More »
Why Innocent People Plead Guilty Federal judge says thousands are in prison after taking deals
by Gilien Silsby
April 18, 2014 After serving as a criminal defense attorney, federal prosecutor and now United States District judge, the Hon. Jed Rakoff knows what works — and what doesn’t — in the … Read More »
A Misdemeanor Conviction Is Not a Big Deal, Right? Think Again
Only about 10% of all federal convictions in 2010 were misdemeanors, but research shows the majority of people who find themselves in state criminal courts are facing charges for minor crimes like possession of marijuana or driving with a … Read More »
Eyewitness testimony is no longer a gold standard
The American legal system offers few moments as dramatic as an eyewitness to a crime pointing his finger across a crowded courtroom at a defendant. The problem is that decades of studies show eyewitness testimony is right only about half the time … Read More »
Presumption of Innocence
This case happens every day in courtrooms all over the country. Judges and lawyers are desperate to seat juries, while potential jurors are desperate to avoid jury duty or to put their stamp upon the proceedings. As a result, the business of selecting jurors occurs with a … Read More »
Sentencing in Drug Crimes Is Subject to Many Factors
After years of controversy about mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines, the federal government appears ready to take a stance. The cost of overcrowded prisons and a sense of fairness likely compelled U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to call for sentencing reform.
Massachusetts’ … Read More »