Commonwealth v. Pearson, 21-P-922

CourtAppeals Court of Massachusetts
Docket Number21-P-922
Decision Date17 June 2022



No. 21-P-922

Appeals Court of Massachusetts

June 17, 2022

Summary decisions issued by the Appeals Court pursuant to M.A.C. Rule 23.0, as appearing in 97 Mass.App.Ct. 1017 (2020) (formerly known as rule 1:28, as amended by 73 Mass.App.Ct. 1001 [2009]), are primarily directed to the parties and, therefore, may not fully address the facts of the case or the panel's decisional rationale. Moreover, such decisions are not circulated to the entire court and, therefore, represent only the views of the panel that decided the case. A summary decision pursuant to rule 23.0 or rule 1:28 issued after February 25, 2008, may be cited for its persuasive value but, because of the limitations noted above, not as binding precedent. See Chace v. Curran, 71 Mass.App.Ct. 258, 260 n.4 (2008).


This case is again on appeal after a hearing in the Superior Court following remand by the Supreme Judicial Court. See Commonwealth v. Pearson, 486 Mass. 809, 816 (2021). The Supreme Judicial Court directed the remand judge to determine whether the independent source exception to the exclusionary rule required denial of the defendant's motion to suppress. Id. The judge held that it did. As the defendant does not claim that the judge erred in his decision on remand, we affirm.

The underlying facts are presented in detail in the opinion of the Supreme Judicial Court. See Pearson, 486 Mass. at 810-811. Briefly, the defendant was prosecuted in Norfolk and Middlesex Counties for offenses related to a series of residential burglaries. In both cases, the defendant sought to suppress evidence obtained during the execution of a search


warrant. He argued that the affidavit supporting the search warrant application relied on observations that police had made during an unlawful entry into the defendant's residence. A Superior Court judge sitting in Norfolk County agreed, in part. The judge found that police had arrested the defendant in his residence before an arrest warrant had properly issued, and thus the entry was unlawful. However, the judge also found -- after excising from the affidavit what police had observed during the unlawful entry -- that the search warrant was nevertheless supported by probable cause.[1] A Superior Court judge sitting in Middlesex County then relied on that order to deny the defendant's motion to suppress in the subsequent proceeding. A jury convicted the defendant of all the offenses charged in the Middlesex County case.

This court affirmed the defendant's Middlesex County convictions, holding, inter alia, that the challenged evidence was admissible under the independent source doctrine. See Commonwealth v. Pearson, 96 Mass.App.Ct. 299, 303-306 (2019) . The Supreme Judicial Court granted further appellate review and held that the independent source exception to the exclusionary


rule requires the Commonwealth...

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