Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Commonwealth v. Castillo

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

July 25, 2016

COMMONWEALTH
v.
DOMINGO CASTILLO.

          Heard: Date January 20, 2016

         Complaint received and sworn to in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department on July 25, 2013. A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Debra Shopteese, J.

         An application for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Geraldine S. Hines, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk, and the case was reported by her to the Appeals Court.

          Cailin M. Campbell, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.

          Bradford R. Stanton for the defendant.

          Present: Trainor, Agnes, & Massing, JJ.

          TRAINOR, J.

         The Commonwealth appeals from the allowance of a motion to suppress evidence in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court. The Commonwealth argues that three of the judge's factual findings are clearly erroneous because they were not supported by the evidence presented at the suppression hearing. The Commonwealth also argues that the judge erred in allowing the motion to suppress because the police officer had probable cause to believe that the defendant had sold heroin to another individual. We vacate and remand.

         Background.

         "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." Commonwealth v. Oliveira, 474 Mass. 10, 11 (2016) .[1]

         Officer Shawn Grant[2] testified that on the afternoon of July 24, 2013, he saw two individuals, later identified as Cesar Caban and James Niemczyk, on Washington Street in the Roxbury section of Boston walking back and forth while talking on cellular telephones (cell phones). Officer Grant alerted other officers in the area of the behavior and parked his unmarked police vehicle on the same side of Washington Street as the two individuals. After about fifteen minutes, Officer Grant saw the defendant cross Washington Street walking toward Caban and Niemczyk, who were now standing near a tree, and place an item into a residential mailbox[3] not more than twenty-five feet from the tree. The defendant then walked to the tree and took money which Caban had wedged into the branches. Caban then walked to and reached into the mailbox and removed an item from inside. Officer Grant reported what he had witnessed to the nearby officers. Based on his training and experience, he believed he had witnessed a drug transaction.

         Officer Grant followed the defendant to where he entered the passenger side of a parked automobile while other officers observed Caban and Niemczyk. Officer Grant heard over the radio that the other officers had stopped Caban and had found one plastic bag containing heroin on him. After Officer Grant heard this, he stopped the automobile with the defendant in it and placed the defendant under arrest for distribution of a class A substance (heroin, in violation of G. L. c. 94C, § 32 [a.]) . During a search incident to arrest of the defendant, Officer Grant found two cell phones on him and a total of $680 -- $630 in one pocket, and fifty dollars in the other.

         Discussion.

         a. Judge's findings.

         When reviewing a motion to suppress, "we adopt the motion judge's factual findings absent clear error." Commonwealthv.Isaiah I., 450 Mass. 818, 821 (2008), citing Commonwealthv.Catanzaro, 441 Mass. 46, 50 (2004). "We take the facts from the judge's findings following a hearing on the motion to suppress, adding those that are not in dispute, and eliminating those that, from our reading of the transcript, are clearly erroneous." Commonwealthv.Wedderburn, 36 Mass.App.Ct. 558, 558-559 (1994) . "A finding is clearly erroneous when 'although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.'" Green v. Blue Cross & ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.