Monthly Archives: September 2017

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    Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Testing

Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Testing

Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana and Field Sobriety Testing
A Review of Commonwealth v. Thomas J. Gerhardt
In the recent decision,  the Supreme Judicial Court made a decision regarding the Admissibility of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in cases involving a police officer’s suspicion of a driver that is operating under the influence of marijuana.   The decision reached by Review of Commonwealth v. Thomas J. Gerhardt answers the following questions. Commonwealth v. Gerhardt, SJC-11967, slip op. at 9 (Mass. Sep. 19, 2017).
May a police officer testify to the administration and results of standard field sobriety tests in prosecutions for Operating Under the Influence (OUI) Marijuana, as they do in OUI Alcohol prosecutions?
Short Answer:  No

Officers may only testify to the administration of “road side assessments”
Lack of scientific agreement on the results of the standardized field sobriety test for impairment does not make them irrelevant, though the relevance threshold is very low. at 13.
There is no doubt that an officer can testify to his or her observations, such as the driver’s appearance, demeanor, odors that are relevant to impairment.
Field Sobriety Tests CANNOT BE TREATED AS SCIENTIFIC TESTS that establish impairment as a result of marijuana consumption. The test should neither be treated as a definitive test of impairment nor should it be excluded from the entirety by the finder of facts. at 15.
A Police Officer need not be qualified as an expert. Tests can be admitted without satisfying the Daubert-Lanigan requirements.
The Officer cannot suggest that the defendant was under the influence of marijuana due to their performance on the field sobriety tests and cannot say the defendant PASSED or FAILED. at 16.
Must be made clear under all circumstances to the fact […]

Civil Commitment: A Way to Address America’s Opioid Crisis?

Civil Commitment: A Way to Address America’s Opioid Crisis?
Right now more people in America are dying of drug overdoses than car accident and gun related deaths combined. In the last 15 years more than half a million people across the country have died from drug overdoses. More than two-thirds of those are opioid related deaths. Across the country many states are utilizing, creating, or expanding statutes, to permit courts to involuntarily commit someone with a drug or alcohol addiction.

At Cohen Cleary, we are proud to announce that Attorney Kellie Sanders will be serving as a panelist and moderator for a Webinar through the American Bar Association, where she will be discussing the current opioid crisis, the status of involuntary commitment laws across the country, along with other treatment models that are being used to address the growing drug related crisis in America.

Attorney Sanders has extensive experience representing individuals who are the subject of involuntary commitment petitions in Massachusetts. She has represented nearly 100 people in these commitment hearings. In addition to her expertise representing clients in these hearings, she is also a published Author on this subject, “Nature and Utilization of Civil Commitment for Substance Abuse in the United States.”

For more information, or if you’d like to attend “Civil Commitment: A Way to Address America’s Opioid Crisis?” on 10/5/2017 please visit https://shop.americanbar.org/ebus/ABAEventsCalendar/EventDetails.aspx?productId=280856769&sc_cid=CE1710CCO-FMP to register.

Format:
Webinar

Date:
October 5, 2017

Time:
1:00 PM – 2:30 PM ET

Credits:

1.50 General CLE Credit Hours

Panelist(s):

Kellie Sanders

Mary Catherine Roper

Zarah Levin-Fragasso

Sponsor(s):

Center for Professional Development

Center on Children and the Law

Commission On Disability Rights

Commission on Lawyer Assistance Programs

Criminal Justice Section

Division for Public Services

Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division

Health Law Section

Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants

Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Section of State and Local Government Law

Senior Lawyers Division

Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division

Youth at […]

By |September 19th, 2017|Top News|0 Comments|