Online Edition


SJC in Canty Addresses Police Officer Testimony at OUI Trials

by May 12, 2014
Police officer testimony during OUI (operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol) trials in Massachusetts often reads like a script from an all too familiar play, with indicators of alcohol intoxication largely the same across police reports and police officer testimony. Police reports are almost certain to include phrases such as, “odor of alcohol on the [driver’s] breath” and “eyes were bloodshot.”

Providing Context: New Hampshire Supreme Court Allows Recording of Officer’s “Motive to Lie” Statement into Evidence

by April 20, 2014
Ernest Willis was convicted of various sexual assault offenses that occurred in 1997. He appealed those convictions in State v. Willis, by arguing that the court erred in admitting certain portions of a police interrogation recording into evidence. The conviction arose from Willis’s interactions with a fifteen-year-old girl who attended his church.

Back It Up: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Holds First Amendment and Common-Law Rights of Access to Criminal Trial Do Not Extend to Backup Room Recording

by February 18, 2014
In Commonwealth v. Winfield, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), in a matter of first impression, held that the First Amendment right of access to a criminal trial—as applied to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment—and the common-law right of access to judicial records did not extend to a backup room recording that was not the official record of the trial.