Commonwealth v. Almonor

120 N.E.3d 1183, 482 Mass. 35 (2019)

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Commonwealth v. Almonor

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
120 N.E.3d 1183, 482 Mass. 35 (2019)

Facts

Around 5:00 p.m., police found an unconscious victim with a gunshot wound who died shortly thereafter. A witness, who sat beside the victim before the shooting, told police that two men approached, one of whom carried an illegal sawed-off shotgun and told the witness and victim to empty their pockets. According to the witness, the gunman shot the victim and fled with the other man. The witness looked at a photo array and chose Jerome Almonor (defendant) as the shooter. Police quickly located and interviewed the man who had accompanied the shooter. That man gave police Almonor’s cell phone number and told police that Almonor still had the shotgun. Police also learned that Almonor had an ex-girlfriend who lived at a certain address. Around midnight, without a warrant, police asked Almonor’s cell-phone service provider to ping Almonor’s phone, revealing the phone’s current general location as at or near the address of Almonor’s ex-girlfriend. Police went to that address and obtained the homeowner’s consent to search for Almonor. Police found Almonor in a bedroom and saw a sawed-off shotgun and bullet-proof vest in plain view. Police then obtained and executed a warrant to seize the shotgun and vest. Massachusetts charged Almonor with murder. Almonor moved to suppress the shotgun and vest as fruits of the warrantless search of his cell phone. The trial court granted Almonor’s motion, and Massachusetts appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kafker, J.)

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