Case Results – 1997
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May 7, 1997
Commonwealth v. M.M.
Brockton Superior Court
UNLAWFUL DISTRIBUTION OF COCAINE: NOT GUILTY
DISTRIBUTION OF COCAINE IN SCHOOL ZONE: NOT GUILTY
An undercover State Trooper approached the Defendant in front of 96 West Elm Street in Brockton at approximately 11:18 p.m. The Trooper asked the Defendant if he was “pumping” (e.g., selling cocaine) and the Defendant answered in the affirmative. Defendant instructed the Trooper to drive around the block because there were police in the area. The undercover Trooper and another undercover officer circled the block and returned to 96 West Elm Street. Defendant approached the passenger side of the undercover Trooper’s vehicle and sold him a $20 hit of cocaine with a second undercover officer in the vehicle. The Defendant was with a black female. A third officer stated that the Defendant and the black female were in the vicinity of 96 West Elm Street before the drug deal. After the transaction, the undercover Trooper radioed to backup that the sale was complete and he gave a description of the Defendant to the officers on the radio. The undercover officer also gave a description of a black female that was with the Defendant. Within seconds, two Brockton Police cruisers arrived on the scene and arrested the Defendant and the black female believing they matched the description given over the radio. The undercover Trooper (who engaged in the drug transaction) drove by 96 West Elm Street and observed the Defendant and the black female being detained. The undercover Trooper positively identified the Defendant as the person who sold him the cocaine. The second officer involved in the drug sale positively identified the Defendant and testified that he got a good look at the Defendant before the drug deal, during the drug deal, and after the drug deal.
At trial, Attorney Gerald J. Noonan challenged the officers’ identification of the Defendant as the person who sold the drugs to the undercover officer. After the drug deal, police went into 96 West Elm Street and detained the Defendant and the black female who they believed matched the description given by the undercover Trooper on the radio. Attorney Gerald J. Noonan argued that the police apprehended the wrong man. After the drug deal, police went inside 96 West elm Street. The police brought the Defendant out of 96 West Elm Street and brought him out to the street where they detained him. The two officers in the drug sale testified that they positively identified the Defendant, as he was standing on the sidewalk being detained by other officers. Attorney Noonan challenged the identification by the two officers. Specifically, Attorney Noonan established that the two officers made their identification of the Defendant, as they were driving their unmarked cruiser by 96 West Elm Street. Attorney Noonan challenged the accuracy of their identification – as they made the identification from a moving car at 11:18 p.m. at night. The two officers did not stop, get out of the vehicle, approach the Defendant and make an up-close identification of him. Attorney Noonan argued that the police brought the wrong man out of 96 West Elm Street and that he was wrongly identified as the drug dealer by police.
Result: After a jury trial in which Attorney Gerald J. Noonan asserted the defense of wrongful identification, a jury returned verdicts of Not Guilty on all indictments, which included felony drug offenses carrying significant jail time.
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