The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today Suffolk County prosecutors can't use a gun as evidence against a man charged with illegal gun possession because the Boston police officers who found the weapon after stopping the car he was in for speeding failed to provide enough evidence the car was going too fast. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today the state can force the owner of an old gas station in Athol to clean up the mess left over from a 1994 gasoline spill despite a state law that exempts "petroleum" spills from rigorous cleanups. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court today ordered a new trial for Oswalt Millien of Woburn, saying his original lawyer screwed up by not finding a medical witness to counter prosecution claims that the only way his six-month-old daughter got serious brain injuries in 2009 was by him shaking her violently.
Millien was convicted and sentenced to four to five years in prison.
It's not that Millien's lawyer didn't know of experts who could back up Millien's argument that the infant hit her head on the floor when she fell off a couch, but that Millien's father, who was paying him, couldn't afford the cost of hiring one. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that a lawyer fired from a downtown firm will get to make her case to a jury that she was terminated because of her gender. A lower-court judge had dismissed Kamee Verdrager's lawsuit against Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, but the state's highest court today reinstated the gender-discrimination parts of the case. Read more.
In a ruling that could, among other things, force Massachusetts to devise automobile emissions standards even tougher than California's, the Supreme Judicial Court today ordered the state to do better at reducing overall greenhouse emissions. Read more.
WBUR reports. The court has seven justices.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that prosecutors can use photos found on the phone of Hyde Park man against him when he comes to trial on gun charges related to a 2011 gun battle outside his apartment.
That the decision came in a 4-3 vote, however, highlights the court's struggles to adapt search-and-seizure laws and decisions that date to the age of quill pens to the current digital world. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today the state can keep children away from a would-be foster couple who believe corporal punishment is part of their religious duty - even if they agree to limit the spanking to their natural children and not spank any foster children.
Gregory and Melanie Magazu of Fitchburg, who have two children of their own, sought to become foster and "pre-adoptive" parents in 2012, but were denied permission by the state Department of Children and Families because they said their Christian beliefs sometimes compelled them to spank their own children. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld a Belmont man's OUI conviction that came about due to an anonymous 911 about a swerving car on Memorial Drive by a state trooper who didn't actually see the swerving.
But in upholding John DePiero's conviction for a 2011 arrest, the state's highest court broke with the US Supreme Court, which ruled in 2014 that anonymous 911 calls are inherently legitimate as tips that can lead to a traffic stop these days because false 911 calls can be tracked. The SJC ruled that, in Massachusetts at least, unless 911 callers are first informed their calls can be tracked, an anonymous caller with malice on his mind might still make that false report if he was unaware he could be tracked. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court next month hears arguments on a case involving a Somerville landlord - and pastor at a local church - convicted of pushing a Muslim tenant down the stairs, several weeks after the landlord had screamed at the woman and her kids about how Muslims were wicked and would burn in hell. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that school districts cannot withhold the financial details of individualized education programs for special-education students placed in specialized private schools - but that they can strike any information in those records that might identify specific students and their learning disabilities, such as their names, ages and the schools they attend. Read more.
A man convicted of a 2001 murder in a Dorchester crack house will get to make the case why a woman's statement that casts doubt on the testimony of the only witness against him should be enough for a new trial, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court spent considerable time considering a Facebook photo of Michael Walters holding a gun and another Facebook post in which he vowed, "Make no mistake of my will to succeed in bringing you two idiots [his ex and her current boyfriend] to justice" and concluded Walters may not have actually been threatening to shoot them, so he shouldn't have been convicted of stalking.
However, the court also upheld his convictions for criminal harassment, criminal violation of a domestic restraining order and perjury. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld a nearly $3-million wrongful-death against Dr. Ivan Liang, who gave a 23-year-old man with a sort throat, a cough and pain on breathing a pain reliever and then sent him home - where he was found dead the next day of viral myocarditis.
In its ruling, the state's highest court also ruled it's one thing for hypochondriacs to use Google searches on their symptoms to confirm their worst fears. It's quite another for lawyers to use the results of these searches to question doctors in medical-malpractice suits, the court said.
If a retired Army officer wants to continue suing the state because Barack Obama was on the 2012 presidential ballot, he's going to have to pay court fees on his own, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court today tossed a Lynn ordinance that barred serious sex offenders from roughly 95% of all residences in the city.
The state's highest court ruled that the 2011 Lynn ordinance, which barred Level 2 and 3 offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools and parks, was illegal because the legislature gave the state exclusive control over the monitoring of sex offenders after their release from prison or treatment. The ruling could also affect similar ordinances in some 40 Massachusetts communities. Read more.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that police and prosecutors proved they had a good reason to take a look at the location data for Shabazz Augustine's cell phone for the period in 2004 when his girlfriend went missing, then her car went up in flames, then her body was found floating in the Charles, wrapped in plastic bags, with weights chained to it. Read more.
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