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Commonwealth v. Charley

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

March 24, 2017

COMMONWEALTH
v.
JARRIS CHARLEY.

          Heard: February 14, 2017.

         Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on March 2, 2015. A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Kenneth W. Salinger, 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 appeal was reported by her to the Appeals Court.

          Zachary Hillman, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.

          Anne Rousseve, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant.

          Present: Green, Meade, & Agnes, JJ.

          GREEN, J.

         After hearing a police radio dispatch report of a robbery and shooting at a nearby convenience store, Boston police Officer Monica Quinonez observed the defendant walking toward her from the general direction of the convenience store, sweating profusely on a cool November evening. The defendant's build and clothing fit the general description included in the dispatch. Suspecting that the defendant may have been involved in the convenience store incident, Quinonez watched the defendant's movements for a few minutes, then went to the convenience store to view surveillance video of the robbery and shooting. Her observations of the video corroborated her suspicion that the defendant had committed the crime; as a result, several police units were dispatched to the address where Quinonez had last seen the defendant. When police officers approached that address, just under an hour after the robbery and shooting, the defendant came down from the front porch to meet them. Informed that there had been "an incident up the street, " the defendant said, "I had nothing to do with the shooting." The officers took him into custody and transported him to the police station, where he was interviewed. After developing additional inculpatory evidence, the police placed him under arrest. A judge of the Superior Court allowed the defendant's motion to suppress evidence[1] obtained after the police took him into custody, and the Commonwealth appealed.[2] We reverse.

         Background.

         We summarize the subsidiary findings of fact entered by the motion judge, which we accept absent clear error, reserving for independent review his ultimate findings and his conclusions of law. See Commonwealth v. Anderson, 461 Mass. 616, 619 (2012).

         On November 4, 2014, at 7:29 P.M., Boston police received a 911 call reporting an armed robbery, in which one person was shot, at a convenience store in the Dorchester section of Boston, known as Savin Hill. Based on information furnished in the call, the police dispatcher broadcast a report of a robbery and shooting at that location, in which the suspect was a black male wearing a dark colored hoodie with some kind of print or pattern on it, and blue jeans. In response to the dispatch, a number of officers responded to the convenience store within one-half hour.

         Surveillance video at the convenience store showed that the robber was masked and had the hood of his sweatshirt up, so that little of his face was visible. Details of the robber's clothing, and of his "slim build, " observed on the surveillance video were included in police broadcasts from and after approximately 7:50 P.M.

         Boston police Officer Monica Quinonez was working that evening on a police detail at a construction site approximately four blocks away from the convenience store. At approximately 8:00 P.M., Quinonez noticed the defendant walking toward her from the general direction of the convenience store. The defendant was wearing a blue zip-up hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, consistent with the clothing described in the initial broadcast dispatch.[3] The defendant and Quinonez made eye contact, and Quinonez noticed that the defendant was sweating profusely, even though it was a cool November evening. Recognizing the defendant's resemblance to the general characteristics included in the broadcast dispatch, Quinonez watched the defendant's movements as he got into the front passenger seat of a Toyota sedan, and as he shortly thereafter emerged from the Toyota and went into an apartment building.

         Quinonez then walked briskly to the convenience store where the robbery and shooting had occurred, arriving there at approximately 8:15 P.M. Quinonez asked to see the store surveillance video to see whether the robber looked like the man she had just seen (the defendant). After viewing the video and recognizing the similarity of the robber to the defendant, Quinonez told Boston police Sergeant Detective Keith Webb that she had just seen a man who looked like the robber.[4] In response, three officers, including Officer Jason Ezekiel, a member of the youth violence strike ...


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