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The bus drivers in this case were not entitled to overtime payment because their employer was licensed and regulated pursuant to the common carrier statute. Plaintiff-bus drivers worked for Eastern Bus Company. Eastern Bus provided charter service, for which it must hold a license under the common carrier statute, and transportation of school students between home and school, which does not constitute charter service. The bus drivers, who performed both of these services, claimed that they were entitled to overtime payment because, among other things, the exemption to the Massachusetts overtime statute (see Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 151, 1A(11)) only applied during the hours Eastern Bus was providing charter service. The superior court concluded that Eastern Bus did not enjoy “a blanket exemption” for all employees, regardless of the particular duties they perform, that the overtime exemption did not apply, and that Plaintiffs were entitled to summary judgment on their claim for overtime wages. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that the bus drivers were not entitled to overtime payment because their employer was licensed and regulated pursuant to the common carrier statute. View "Casseus v. Eastern Bus Company, Inc." on Justia Law

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Under the children requiring assistance (CRA) statute, a child “willfully fails to attend school” if the child’s repeated failure to attend school arises from reasons portending delinquent behavior. In this case, the Millis public schools filed a habitual truancy CRA alleging that M.P. was a child requiring assistance on the grounds that she was habitually truant. M.P. failed continually to attend school due to a combination of physical and mental disabilities, including a severe bladder condition and autism. After a hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated M.P. a child requiring assistance. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter to the juvenile court for entry of an order dismissing the CRA petition, holding that the evidence in the record did not support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that M.P. “willfully fail[ed] to attend school.” View "Millis Public Schools v. M.P." on Justia Law

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Under the children requiring assistance (CRA) statute, a child “willfully fails to attend school” if the child’s repeated failure to attend school arises from reasons portending delinquent behavior. In this case, the Millis public schools filed a habitual truancy CRA alleging that M.P. was a child requiring assistance on the grounds that she was habitually truant. M.P. failed continually to attend school due to a combination of physical and mental disabilities, including a severe bladder condition and autism. After a hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated M.P. a child requiring assistance. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter to the juvenile court for entry of an order dismissing the CRA petition, holding that the evidence in the record did not support a finding beyond a reasonable doubt that M.P. “willfully fail[ed] to attend school.” View "Millis Public Schools v. M.P." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the trial judge’s denial of Defendant’s motion for a new trial on the grounds that he was denied the effective assistance of counsel during his criminal trial. Specifically, Defendant argued that his counsel provided ineffective assistance because counsel failed to furnish the judge with the expert testimony, scholarly articles, or treatises necessary to enable the judge to determine that the principles in Defendant’s proposed eyewitness identification instruction were generally accepted in the relevant scientific community. The trial judge found that counsel’s decision not to present expert testimony and other evidence was a tactical one that was not manifestly unreasonable. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed, holding that the judge neither erred nor abused his discretion in denying Defendant’s motion for a new trial. View "Commonwealth v. Gomes" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the holding in Commonwealth v. Newton N., also decided today, that where a prosecutor wishes to proceed to arraignment on a delinquency complaint supported by probable cause, a juvenile may not dismiss the complaint before arraignment on the grounds that dismissal is in the best interests of the child and in the interests of justice, also limits judicial authority to dismiss a delinquency complaint brought by a private party under Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 218, 35A, where a clerk-magistrate issued the complaint after finding probable cause. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the limitation set forth in Newton N. applies only where the prosecutor has affirmatively adopted the private party’s complaint by moving for arraignment, rather than simply appearing at the scheduled arraignment; and (2) where the prosecutor has not moved for arraignment, a judge considering a juvenile’s motion to dismiss before arraignment may consider whether the clerk-magistrate appropriately exercised sound discretion in issuing the complaint and, in so doing, may consider whether dismissal is in the best interest of the child and in the interests of justice. View "Commonwealth v. Orbin O." on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

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At issue in this appeal from the Juvenile Court’s grant of a prearrangement motion to dismiss a delinquency complaint, the Supreme Judicial Court held (1) a judge, in weighing whether the information contained within the four corners of the complaint application and attached exhibits establishes probable cause, may not consider whether a juvenile was criminally responsible for the charged offenses or whether the juvenile’s mental impairment rendered the juvenile incapable of having the requisite criminal intent; and (2) where a prosecutor proceeds to arraignment on a delinquency complaint supported by probable cause, the judge may not dismiss the complaint prior to arraignment on the grounds that dismissal of the complaint is in the best interests of the child and in the interests of justice. The Supreme Judicial Court held that, in this case, the dismissal of the delinquency complaint before arraignment was improper because the complaint was supported by probable cause and the prosecutor wished to proceed to arraignment. The court vacated the order of dismissal and remanded the matter to the Juvenile Court. View "Commonwealth v. Newton N." on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions for murder in the first degree on the theory of deliberate premeditated and armed assault with intent to murder, affirmed the denial of Defendant’s motion for postconviction relief, and declined to exercise its authority under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E to reduce or set aside the verdict of murder in the first degree. The court held (1) Defendant’s constitutional right to a public trial was not violated by the trial judge’s order limiting courtroom entry only to attendees whose names were submitted and approved; (2) there was sufficient evidence to support a finding of joint venture; (3) the prosecutor did not commit misconduct in his closing argument; and (4) the trial judge did not err in instructing the jury about cooperating witnesses. View "Commonwealth v. Fernandes" on Justia Law

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Where an individual has been released on bail pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, 58 and there is probable cause to believe the individual committed a crime while released on bail, the Commonwealth may seek to revoke bail under either Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, 58 or Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 276, 58B. The judge must then make a determination as to whether the Commonwealth satisfied the requirements of either section 58 or section 58B, under which it sought to revoke bail. Here, the judge found probable cause to believe that a juvenile had committed a crime while released on bail under section 58. The juvenile argued that the judge erred in applying the ninety-day revocation period under section 58B. Specifically, the juvenile argued that the statutes create an ambiguous bit revocation framework, and therefore, the rule of lenity requires the applicable of the sixty-day revocation period under section 58. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding (1) the bail revocation scheme is not ambiguous in its current form, and therefore, the rule of lenity does not apply; and (2) revoking bail under section 58B where an individual has been released on bail pursuant to section 58 and subsequently commits a crime while on release, does not violate due process. View "Josh J. v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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Payment for accrued, unused sick time (sick pay) does not count as “wages” under the Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, sections 148, 150. The superior court allowed Plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in this case alleging that Defendant, Plaintiff’s former employer, failed to timely compensate Plaintiff for his accrued, unused sick time under the Act. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter to the superior court, holding (1) the Act does not encompass sick pay; and (2) therefore, Defendant did not violate the Act by failing to compensate Plaintiff for his accrued, unused sick time within the time frame mandated by the Act. View "Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority" on Justia Law

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Payment for accrued, unused sick time (sick pay) does not count as “wages” under the Wage Act, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 149, sections 148, 150. The superior court allowed Plaintiff’s motion for judgment on the pleadings in this case alleging that Defendant, Plaintiff’s former employer, failed to timely compensate Plaintiff for his accrued, unused sick time under the Act. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter to the superior court, holding (1) the Act does not encompass sick pay; and (2) therefore, Defendant did not violate the Act by failing to compensate Plaintiff for his accrued, unused sick time within the time frame mandated by the Act. View "Mui v. Massachusetts Port Authority" on Justia Law