Commonwealth v. Robinson-Van RaderAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the denial of Defendant's motion to suppress evidence seized from his person during a stop and pat-frisk, holding that the new standard adopted in Commonwealth v. Long, 485 Mass. 711, 724-725 (2020), is applicable in the context of police investigations such as pedestrian stops in addition motor vehicle stops.
Defendant was indicted on firearm-related charges after he was stopped by police officers while walking. In his motion to suppress, Defendant argued that the stop was unconstitutional because the officers lacked reasonable suspicion and because statistical evidence proved the officers were more likely to stop Black members of the community than individuals of other races. In addressing Defendant's equal protection challenge, the lower court presumed that this Court's standard for establishing an equal protection claim under the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, which was adopted to provide a defendant a more accessible path to pursuing an equal protection claim in the context of a motor vehicle stop, applied equally to this pedestrian stop challenge. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the new standard adopted in Long is applicable in this case; and (2) the evidence supported the trial court's determination that the officers stopped Defendant to investigate his involvement in the shooting and not because of his race.