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. Moore

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

March 22, 2018

COMMONWEALTH
v.
ERIC MOORE.

          Heard: December 5, 2017.

          Complaint received and sworn to in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department on March 23, 2015. A motion to dismiss was heard by Myong Joun, J.

          Helle Sachse, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.

          Bruce W. Carroll for the defendant.

          Present: Trainor, Meade, & Wolohojian, JJ.

          TRAINOR, J.

         The defendant, Eric Moore, was charged with, among other things, using a motor vehicle without authority (use without authority), in violation of G. L. c. 90, § 24(2) (a.). At the arraignment hearing, the defendant orally moved to dismiss the charge of use without authority; the judge allowed the defendant's motion prior to arraignment and proceeded to arraign the defendant on the remaining charges. The Commonwealth filed this timely appeal, arguing that the judge erred in dismissing the use without authority charge for two reasons: first, a complaint against an adult defendant, unlike one against a juvenile, cannot be dismissed prior to arraignment; and second, the complaint was supported by probable cause that the defendant used the motor vehicle without authority. For the reasons set forth infra, we reverse the dismissal of the charge of use without authority.

         Background.

         On March 23, 2015, the defendant was driving a rental car and was pulled over for failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. When the police officers asked the defendant for his license and registration, the defendant responded that he did not have a license in his possession. Upon a criminal justice information system query, the officers learned that the defendant's out-of-State license was suspended. The officers then contacted the rental company and obtained a copy of the rental agreement for the vehicle, which provided that Nicole Hosier of Pittsfield was the only individual authorized to operate the rental car. The officers subsequently arrested the defendant for, among other things, use without authority, and towed the rental car.

         At the defendant's arraignment hearing, defense counsel requested to be heard prior to the arraignment. Defense counsel asked the judge to dismiss the use without authority charge because the facts do "not constitute . . . use without authority." The judge agreed, stating:

"[W]here there's a rental company, there's a lessee for that car. If somebody else is driving, I understand the civil issue between the rental company and whoever was driving, and maybe there's a civil issue with the person who actually rented the car, but under the criminal statute, where you're charging the person with use without authority simply based on the fact that the person who's driving, his name is not on the lease agreement, I don't believe that that's what the statute was intended for."

         The judge dismissed the use without authority charge prior to arraigning the defendant on that charge. The Commonwealth filed the instant appeal. However, due to the pending release of the Supreme Judicial Court decision in Commonwealth v. Campbell, 475 Mass. 611 (2016), the appellate proceedings for this case were stayed. We now address the Commonwealth's appeal.

         Discussion.

         This case requires us to decide whether a judge can allow an adult defendant's motion to dismiss a criminal charge prior to arraignment on that charge, after a clerk-magistrate's finding of probable cause. Initially, this question involves an analysis and an application of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure and the relevant case law, but ultimately it also requires an analysis of a judge's authority pursuant to art. 30 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.[1] ...


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.