SJC

By - 4/10/15 - 10:56 am

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today state law lets take-out owners prohibit tips and, as long as they prominently alert visitors to that, keep any of the money customers insist on giving anyway.

The ruling comes in the case of employees of Dunkin' Donuts franchisee Constantine Scrivanos, who owns 66 Dunkin' shops in eastern Massachusetts and who bans tipping in about two-thirds of those.... Read more

By - 3/4/15 - 3:41 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld an Everett resident's assault and battery conviction that was based in part on a DNA test that showed the blood on his sweatshirt belonged to the man he stabbed.

Manuel Arzola sought to overturn the conviction on the grounds the DNA test was the equivalent of a police search requiring a warrant, which police in Chelsea didn't get after... Read more

By - 2/27/15 - 10:38 am

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today prosecutors cannot use most of the marijuana found in a man's minivan during a traffic stop in Quincy to prosecute him for possession with intent to distribute, because police didn't have the legal right to search the vehicle in the first place.

The ruling also applies to the man's cell phone, on which officers browsed messages they felt showed... Read more

By - 2/18/15 - 12:01 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today Dish Network and Direct TV have to continue paying an excise tax on their Massachusetts accounts.

The state's highest court ruled that even though cable providers and Verizon don't have to pay the excise tax, that's not discriminatory under the US Constitution's commerce clause because the satellite companies still come out ahead, because of the way the land-based providers... Read more

By - 2/12/15 - 10:52 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today ordered new trials for Michael Cowels and Michael Mims, convicted in 1994 of stabbing a woman to death in Chelsea the year before.

Part of the evidence against the two men was two towels with blood on them, which Suffolk County prosecutors said the pair had used to clean themselves after killing Belinda Miscioscia and dumping her body behind an... Read more

By - 1/26/15 - 11:28 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today updated the definition of "reasonable doubt" that Massachusetts judges have been reading to jurors since 1850, when it was first used in the case of a Harvard professor charged with murdering and dismembering a prominent Beacon Hill doctor.

The updating comes in a ruling on a man convicted of seven counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under... Read more

By - 12/23/14 - 11:13 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld the criminal-harassment convictions of an Andover couple for a series of "pranks" against neighbors that started with bogus Craigslist for-sale ads and culminated in a fake child-abuse complaint to the state and anonymous letters alleging sexual abuse.

William and Gail Johnson, who both received jail sentences for escalating a long-running land dispute with the neighboring couple, argued their speech... Read more

By - 12/8/14 - 11:53 am

For the third time, the Supreme Judicial Court has upheld Pedro Valentin's first-degree murder conviction, which means he will spend the rest of his life in state prison for murdering Timothy Bond, who had stolen cocaine from a guy working for Valentin's brother Simon back in 1991.

Although it was Simon who was convicted of shooting Bond in the head in the South Street housing... Read more

By - 9/8/14 - 11:29 am

UPDATE: Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly reports lead plaintiff Eve Plumb is the actress who played Jan Brady on the Brady Bunch.

The Supreme Judicial Court said today that current state law protects artists whose art gets tangled up in the bankruptcy of the studios that were trying to sell the works.

In a memo to a US Bankruptcy Court judge handling the Chapter 7 bankruptcy... Read more

By - 8/20/14 - 11:59 am

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a company that wants to operate amphibious sightseeing tours in Boston has to first get permission from the Boston police commissioner.

Nautical Tours has been trying to win permission to carry sightseers around the Hub since 2007, when it first asked the state Department of Public Utilities for a license to serve Boston.

The department said the company... Read more

By - 8/19/14 - 7:41 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court today gave Suffolk County prosecutors a choice: They can retry Mario Gonzalez of Dorchester for stabbing his girlfriend to death in 2009 or they can accept reducing his current conviction from first to second-degree murder.

A first-degree murder conviction carries a mandatory sentence of life without parole. A second-degree conviction also carries a life sentence but with the possibility of parole,... Read more

By - 8/15/14 - 1:03 pm

A man who has been in prison for more than 25 years for a brutal East Cambridge murder deserves a new trial because DNA evidence not available at his original trial shows none of the victim's blood on the purple jacket he allegedly wore while stomping him and then dumping his body behind an abandoned supermarket in 1986, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today.

The... Read more

By - 8/15/14 - 11:17 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today set out new rules by which criminal defendants whose cases are dismissed or terminated can have their records sealed - with the goal of making it easier to do so if they can prove they're unable to get a job or housing because of those records.

The state's highest court issued the new guidelines in reaction to a Dorchester man's... Read more

By - 7/11/14 - 11:03 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today tossed the 2007 drug conviction of a man initially stopped by Cambridge police for outstanding warrants because one of the arresting officers should never have gone online to find out what sort of pills the man had put in a diabetes test kit.

The state's highest court said that while police can inventory a person's belongings at booking to ensure... Read more

By - 7/9/14 - 11:33 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today tossed child-porn charges against a convicted child rapist found with photocopies of photos from National Geographic, a sociology textbook and a catalog of "travel packages, books, videos, and photographs" for nudists.

John Rex, currently serving 19 to 25 years at MCI Norfolk for raping two boys he met online, was indicted on seven counts of possession of child pornography after... Read more

By - 7/9/14 - 10:59 am

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that police with a nose for marijuana can no longer search a person or his car if the smell of unburned pot is the only evidence the person might be holding more than an ounce of the drug.

In rulings stemming from cases in Dorchester and Pittsfield, the state's highest court said the smell of burned marijuana was ... Read more

By - 6/25/14 - 2:26 pm

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that, in certain circumstances, ordering a criminal defendant to decrypt password-protected computer files is not a violation of his rights under federal and state rights against self incrimination.

The ruling comes in the case of a Marblehead lawyer charged with a $1.3-million mortgage fraud scheme. Leon Gelfgatt is charged with setting up bogus mortgage companies and then sent... Read more

By - 6/24/14 - 11:02 am

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today Attorney General Martha Coakley goofed on blocking a referendum on casinos from appearing on this fall's ballot and ordered the question put to voters.

The state's highest court said the question, which would block casinos in the state would not be a "taking" of casino applicants' property, which the AG had said was the reason to keep it off... Read more

By - 6/12/14 - 7:44 am

The Herald reports our molasses-like legislature could move like a bat out of hell - just like they did with upskirting - and do something about Supreme Judicial Court rulings this week that the state parole board can't order lifetime supervision of sex offenders.

By - 6/6/14 - 10:58 am

The Supreme Judicial Court today tossed a Fall River man's murder confession because police waited too long to start asking him about the case while he was in custody.

The ruling, which reaffirms a 1996 ruling that set a six-hour maximum for obtaining a confession after a suspect is arrested, leaves Massachusetts at odds with most other states, which let police take longer if the... Read more

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