Commonwealth v. SanbornAnnotate this Case
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 209A requires law enforcement to take reasonable measures to serve abuse prevention orders, and in order for the service of the orders to be reasonable, the manner of service must comply with the terms of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.
A district court judge granted Defendant’s motion to suppress evidence relating to, and discovered as a result of, the stop of his vehicle, finding that the purpose of the stop was to serve an abuse prevention order. The Supreme Judicial Court answered in the negative a question reported by the judge asking whether chapter 209A authorizes the police to effectuate a motor vehicle stop to serve a civil abuse prevention order. The Supreme Judicial Court noted that whether a stop to serve a chapter 209A order is reasonable depends on an objective assessment of the necessity of doing so in light of all facts known to law enforcement at the time.