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Latest Featured Massachusetts Criminal Digest Case Summary:
Commonwealth v. Horne
466 Mass. 440 (2013)
The defendant, Daniel Horne, was convicted by a Superior Court jury of second-degree murder, possession of ammunition without proper firearm identification (“FID”), and two separate counts of unlicensed carrying of a rifle in an unpermitted area. The defendant appealed, arguing for reversal of his convictions due to the numerous errors that occurred at trial. The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts (“SJC”) vacated and set aside the conviction of second-degree murder, but affirmed the other convictions.
On October 16, 2009, the defendant’s television was removed from his apartment in Springfield Massachusetts. The defendant suspected that the individual who took his television was Joseph Darco. On October 17, 2009, Darco attended a birthday party at the apartment where the victim, nineteen-year-old Brittany Perez, resided. This apartment was on the first floor of a building and a few houses away from the defendant’s apartment. Shortly after sunset, a party guest observed the defendant holding a gun after hearing someone shout, “I want my TV.”
Latest Featured Article:
Comment, Who’s Your Daddy?: Reproductive Technology and Defining Consent in Okoli v. Okoli
Caroline M. P. Kelly
As society continues to expand, legal change becomes necessary. As demonstrated by Okoli v. Okoli, a case where the Massachusetts Appeals Court attached parental rights to an estranged husband who had no biological connection to his estranged wife’s twins, this legal revamping has not occurred in assisted reproduction technology. “The law is frequently accused of containing gaps, of being slow or outpaced and thus lagging behind technology, and of needing to respond to new technologies and address new issues.”
This lagging nature of legal rights in the world of assisted reproduction does not parallel the rising popularity of the technology. For example, assisted reproductive technology has continued to grow to include various types of procedures, such as donor surrogacy, surrogacy, and in-vitro fertilization. These procedures assist one out of every seven people with infertility issues. “At face value, an incidence of [fourteen percent] of the reproductive population puts those who are infertile into one of the largest groups requiring medical attention.” Additionally, this rise in assisted reproduction has led to an increase in nontraditional families utilizing assisted reproductive technology. For example, a 2007 report identified that 65,000 children were adopted into a same-sex parent family. Further, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, one of three lesbian couples and one out of five gay couples are raising children. Today, 2.7 million women have chosen to be single mothers.
Latest from the Faculty Blog:
Privacy and the Surveillance State
According to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, Americans by a large margin favor installing video surveillance devices in public places in order to provide greater security, with 78 percent of participants saying such surveillance is a good idea.
The poll was taken in the wake of the bombings in Boston on Marathon Monday and the results likely reflect the very real anxiety that such horrific events can produce. The positive reaction to greater surveillance is natural and understandable. But that does not necessarily mean that it will lead to sound public policy.
It remains that it is always easier to give away someone else’s privacy interests, especially hypothetically. Most people cannot imagine ever being the target of government surveillance–for them, the potentially ubiquitous video recording devices will be aimed at someone else.
That is fine as far as it goes, but the fact is that, under the Fourth Amendment doctrine for determining whether you have a protectable privacy right as against the government, the Supreme Court has repeatedly said that any expectation of privacy you assert must be objectively reasonable. We all do lots of things in public that we assume to be private–like talking on cell phones, text messaging, and even having a conversation with the person walking next to you, and believe the assumption to be reasonable because we do not really expect anyone nearby actually to listen to what we are saying or texting. But the fact that someone could do so, according to the Court, eliminates any true expectation of privacy. And even if that were not the case, could we say any of these communications reasonably should be deemed private when the government has the capacity to record and review all of them?