Heard November 6, 2017.
action commenced in the Southeast Division of the Housing
Court Department on January 25, 2016.
case was heard by Anne Kenney Chaplin, J.
F. Camara for the defendant.
Caitlin P. Milone for the plaintiff.
Present: Sullivan, Blake, & Singh, JJ.
months into Keith G. Mello's occupancy of a one-bedroom
apartment at the Caffrey Towers development (premises or
apartment), the Brockton Housing Authority (BHA) filed an
action pursuant to G. L. c. 139, § 19, to void his
tenancy. Following a trial, a judge of the Southeastern
Housing Court ruled that Mello "engaged in conduct, and
allowed his guests to engage in conduct, which constitutes
the keeping of controlled substances in the premises."
She entered a judgment voiding the lease and permanently
enjoining Mello from entering any portion of Caffrey Towers,
a Federally subsidized housing development for the elderly
and the disabled. See New Bedford Hous. Authy.
v. Olan, 435 Mass. 364, 369 (2001) (Plan).
Mello appeals from the final judgment. We affirm.
summarize the facts as found by the judge. Dennis Sheedy, a
BHA asset manager, observed Mello's guests arriving at
Caffrey Towers in an impaired state, and unwilling (or
unable) to cooperate with security. On December 1, 2015,
Anthony Giardini, a Brockton police officer who served as the
community liaison to the BHA conducted an investigation into
complaints in or about the premises. As he approached
Mello's apartment, he heard loud voices coming from
inside and smelled the odor of "some sort of
entering the apartment, Officer Giardini saw three people,
including Mello, sitting in a room. There was smoke that
smelled like marijuana and crack cocaine. He observed drug
paraphernalia in plain view, including a flat mirror
"lined horizontally, " lying on a room partition, a
debit card, and the remains of what could be a filter for a
crack pipe. He also saw two daggers, one of which was next to
the mirror within reach of Mello, who was in "an
intoxicated state." Officer Giardini concluded that
those present in the apartment had been smoking crack cocaine
and marijuana and that the complaints he had been receiving
December 21, 2015, Officer Giardini returned to the apartment
to find paramedics, police, and two unconscious people. He
concluded that the two had used heroin based on their
responses to the administration of Narcan to reverse an
opioid overdose, their physical appearance, and the syringes
in their backpacks. Mello was present in the apartment, which
was in the same general condition; the horizontal mirror was
still there. In Giardini's opinion, the apartment was
fashioned in such a way as to be used to consume narcotics.
Giardini subsequently filed criminal complaints against
Mello, charging him with disturbing the peace, maintaining a
disorderly house, and knowingly being present where heroin
was kept. The charges were pending during the § 19
proceedings, which began with the complaint on January 26,
2016, and concluded on February 18, 2016, with the issuance
of the judge's findings and rulings. Although the judge
granted a brief continuance when Mello expressed his desire
to testify, Mello did not testify in the § 19 proceeding
because it progressed quickly and the criminal charges