January 8, 2016.
Complaints received and sworn to in the New Bedford Division
of the District Court Department on March 19, 2013.
motions to suppress evidence were heard by Kathryn E.
application for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal
was allowed by Duffly, J., in the Supreme Judicial
Court for the county of Suffolk, and the appeal was reported
by her to the Appeals Court. The Supreme Judicial Court on
its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals
Cho, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.
Levin, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for Jemaul R.
DeMayo for Mitchell T. Violet.
Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, &
N.E.3d 396] Gants, C.J.
interlocutory appeal in these companion cases requires us to
examine whether it was reasonable for the police to impound a
vehicle lawfully parked in a department store lot and conduct
an inventory search of the vehicle after the authorized
driver of the vehicle was arrested for shoplifting. We
conclude that where the driver had offered the police an
impoundment that was lawful and practical under the
circumstances, it was unreasonable and thus unconstitutional
to impound the vehicle and conduct an inventory search. We
therefore affirm the motion judge's allowance of the
defendants' motions to suppress the fruits of the
defendants, Mitchell T. Violet and Jemaul R. Oliveira, were
charged with shoplifting by concealing merchandise, in
violation of G. L. c. 266, § 30A, and unlawfully
carrying a firearm, in violation of G. L. c. 269, § 10 (
a ). Both moved to suppress the firearm
located during the inventory search of the vehicle that they
used to travel to the department store. We summarize the
facts found by the motion judge following the evidentiary
hearing, supplemented where necessary with undisputed
testimony that was implicitly credited by the judge.