December 1, 2015
Complaint received and sworn to in the Charlestown Division
of the Boston Municipal Court Department on December 11,
case was heard by Lawrence E. McCormick, J.
Judgment reversed. Finding set aside.
T. Rose for the defendant.
Priscilla Guerrero ( Cailin M. Campbell, Assistant District
Attorney, with her) for the Commonwealth.
Rubin, Maldonado, & Massing, JJ.
N.E.3d 585] Massing, J.
defendant, Titus T. Royal, appeals from his conviction, after
a bench trial in the Charlestown Division of the Boston
Municipal Court Department, of driving with a suspended
license in violation of G. L. c. 90, § 23. He claims
that the Commonwealth relied on inadmissible hearsay evidence
to prove the element of license suspension, that the
Commonwealth failed to prove that the registry of motor
vehicles (registry) mailed him
notice of its intent to suspend his license, and that the
evidence was insufficient to sustain his conviction. Because
the Commonwealth's evidence of license suspension -- an
officer's testimony that he " ran ... the
[defendant's driver's] license number through the
Registry of Motor Vehicles" and it " came with a
status of suspended" -- was inadmissible hearsay, we
reverse the conviction.
morning of November 4, 2013, State Trooper Jeffrey Morrill,
who was the only witness to testify at trial, stopped the
vehicle the defendant was driving for having an expired
registration decal. Using the laptop computer in his cruiser,
Morrill " activated C[J]IS"  and checked the
vehicle's registration and the defendant's
driver's license using the registry database. Over the
defendant's objection that the testimony was hearsay,
Morrill stated, " The registration came back as status
expired, non-renewable. And the Massachusetts license came
with a status of suspended."
addition, the Commonwealth introduced in evidence four
certified registry documents. These included two notices of
the registry's intent to suspend the defendant's
license, both dated August 5, 2013, addressed to the
defendant. The first notice informed the defendant that on
the basis of " 3 Surchargeable Events," the
registry would suspend his license on November 3, 2013,
unless he timely completed a driver retraining
program. The second [46 N.E.3d 586] notice
informed him that his license would be suspended on September
4, 2013, if he failed to pay $300 owed for delinquent
citations and fines.
notice was accompanied by a corresponding registry document
entitled " USPS Mailing Confirmation." Each mailing
confirmation record included the printed statement, "
CREATED BY RMV ON: 08/05/2013" -- the same date as the
notices. The confirmation associated with the first notice
further indicated, " RECEIVED BY USPS: 08/06/2013 21:03,
AT POST OFFICE: 02205." The second mailing confirmation
similarly indicated that it was " received" by
" USPS" on " 08/07/2013 19:59" at the
same post office.
four documents were certified by the registrar of motor
vehicles (registrar) under G. L. c. 90, § 22, as being
" true copy(s) of the driving history and notice(s) of
suspension/revocation as appearing in the registrar's
records." The registrar further attested, " I
hereby certify that on 01/09/14 his/her license or ...