Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex
Argued November 3, 2015.
Complaint received and sworn to in the Cambridge Division of the District Court Department on August 11, 2011.
A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Antoinette E. McLean Leoney, J., and the case was heard by Joseph W. Jennings, III, J.
After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.
Jane Prince ( Randy S. Chapman with her) for the defendant.
Casey E. Silvia, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.
Daniel K. Gelb, for National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.
Chauncey B. Wood, Dahlia S. Fetouh, Nancy A. Dinsmore, & Benjamin R. Cox, for Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.
Present: Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.
[42 N.E.3d 1125] Cordy, J.
In January, 2013, after a bench trial, the defendant was convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the in-
fluence of alcohol (second offense) in violation of G. L. c. 90, § 24 (1) ( a ) (1). On appeal, he argues that the denial of his motion to suppress evidence obtained during a warrantless stop of his vehicle was error.
The stop, made by State police Trooper John Dwyer, was prompted by the receipt of an anonymous 911 call concerning an apparent drunk driver traveling on Memorial Drive in Cambridge. The defendant claimed that the stop was neither supported by reasonable suspicion nor made pursuant to an ongoing emergency. After a hearing, a judge denied the defendant's motion to suppress, concluding that Dwyer " had reasonable suspicion to conduct an investigatory stop." The judge reasoned that " [t]he 911 call was from an ordinary citizen -- not an informant -- who had witnessed a motor vehicle infraction, namely, a motor vehicle driving erratically on the roadway." 
The Appeals Court affirmed the denial of the defendant's motion to suppress, but on different grounds. Commonwealthv.Depiero, 87 Mass.App.Ct. 105, 106, 25 N.E.3d 896 (2015). The Appeals Court concluded that the information bore sufficient indicia of reliability because the unidentified caller's observations were made [42 N.E.3d 1126] " under the stress or excitement of a 'startling or shocking event.'" Id. at 112, quoting Commonwealthv.Depina, 456 Mass. 238, 244, 922 N.E.2d 778 (2010). Dwyer could ...