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Raymond Jacoub
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Attorney serving Berkshire and Columbia Counties, Licensed in MA and NY, specializing in criminal defense, litigation and immigration. DWI/OUI/DUI defense.
Attorney serving Berkshire and Columbia Counties, Licensed in MA and NY, specializing in criminal defense, litigation and immigration. DWI/OUI/DUI defense.

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The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling yesterday in which the state court held that the Second Amendment does not apply to stun guns, sending it back down for further proceedings. Justices Alito and Thomas wanted SCOTUS to go further by not asking for further hearing and just reversing the state court decision. Either way, it throws into doubt many state prosecutions like the one in Massachusetts. Caetano v. Massachusetts. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/15pdf/14-10078_aplc.pdf. For the SJC decision: http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/470/470mass774.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/03/21/supreme-court-zaps-massachusetts-stun-gun-opinion/

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2015-04-21
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Attorney serving Western Massachusetts and Columbia County, NY, specializing in criminal defense.

Minimum-Mandatory Sentencing Update – Drug Laws – Massachusetts

Following Massachusetts’ enactment of legislation on August 2, 2012 of new laws designed to redress harsh minimum-mandatory sentencing on drug offenses by reducing sentences on subsequent-offense and trafficking charges and by decreasing the definition of a school zone from 1,000 feet to 300 feet, the issue remained as to whether the new changes would apply to those defendants whose dates offense preceded the new legislation.  Finally, the Supreme Judicial Court has weighed in on the issue of whether the lesser sentences apply retroactively in a strongly worded decision in Commonwealth v. Galvin, SJC 11369.

Because the new crime bill provided that those inmates who had already been sentenced under the old statutory scheme could parole early, as though the new scheme applied to them, then the legislative intent of the new law clearly was to have all those who had pending cases, even those whose offenses pre-dated the new law, benefit from the new sentencing structure.  Justice Grant, in a unanimous opinion, wrote: “It would be anomalous, if not absurd, in this context to conclude that the Legislature intended to provide reductions for everyone except the limited class of persons who committed offenses before the amendments but were not convicted and sentenced until after the amendments’ effective date.”

 

School Zones & Retroactivity?

As for the issue of whether the newly defined school zone applies retroactively, the Supreme Judicial Court has not yet decided.  The SJC, however, has solicited amicus briefs on the issue and is expected to hear arguments in October 2013.  The Paired cases are SJC-11456 Commonwealth vs. Noel Pagan and SJC-11457, Commonwealth vs. Zachary Bradley.  The issue is whether the 2012 amendment to G. L. c. 94C, s. 32J, that reduced the so-called “school zone” from 1,000 feet to 300 feet applies retroactively to offenses committed before the effective date of the amendment, for which charges were pending at the time of the amendment.
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