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Commonwealth v. Rodriguez

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Middlesex

May 28, 2019

COMMONWEALTH
v.
ALEXANDER RODRIGUEZ.

          Heard: February 7, 2019.

         A motion to reconsider sentencing was heard by Thomas P. Billings, J., and a question of law was reported by him to the Appeals Court.

         The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.

          Steven J. Rappaport for the defendant.

          Howard P. Blatchford, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.

          Present: Gants, C.J., Lenk, Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.

          LENK, J.

         The defendant pleaded guilty to possession of a large capacity feeding device, in violation of G. L. c. 269, § 10 (m), as well as carrying a firearm without a license and related offenses. As relevant here, the defendant was sentenced, over the Commonwealth's objection, to a term of from one to two and one-half years' imprisonment following his conviction under G. L. c. 269, § 10 (m). In a motion for reconsideration, the Commonwealth sought a sentence of at least two and one-half years. The judge then reported the following question to the Appeals Court:

"May a defendant who has been convicted of possession of a large capacity feeding device, in violation of [G. L. c. 269, § 10 (m)], lawfully be sentenced to State [p]rison for not less than one year nor more than two and one-half years?" See Mass. R. Crim. P. 34, as amended, 442 Mass. 1501 (2004). We transferred the case to this court on our own motion, and now answer the reported question, "Yes."

         1. Background.

         a. Facts.

         The indictments arose from an incident in June 2015, in which the defendant brandished a gun at another driver and then drove off before police arrived. Sergeant Marisol Nobrega of the Lowell police department responded to a report of the incident. Based on a general description of the man and the vehicle involved, she located and arrested the defendant. Under a floor mat in the defendant's vehicle, police found a firearm with one round in the chamber and a large capacity (twelve-shot) feeding device attached. The defendant did not have a license to possess a firearm in Massachusetts.

         b. Prior proceedings.

         In December 2015, the defendant was indicted on charges of possession of a large capacity feeding device, G L c 269, § 10 (m) (count 1); possession of a firearm without a license, G L c 269, § 10 (a) (count 2); possession of a loaded firearm, G L c 269, § 10 (n) (count 3); and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card (FID), G L c 269, § 10 (h) (count 4) Following his guilty pleas, he was sentenced to a term of from one to two and one-half years in State prison on count 1; eighteen months in a house of correction on count 2, concurrent ...


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