Law Office of Isaac J. Mass -- Greenfield, Massachusuetts
December  18th, 2012 , in Commonwealth v. Jones,  
the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that it was ok to deny a defendant’s right to admit into evidence that, shortly after he had declined to take a breathalyzer test, he changed his mind and requested but was not given the test.

On May  14, 2010, a witness was driving north on Route 10 in Southampton when she reported a pickup truck being driven erratically. The defendant was the driver of the truck and was stopped by the Easthampton police.  The police administered a field sobriety test, and the defendant performed poorly.  He was then placed under arrest.

The defendant, prior to trial, moved that he be permitted to testify that, at the police station, he initially declined to take a breathalyzer test, then "shortly afterwards" changed his mind and asked to take the test, but one was not administered.  Although the prosecutor did not  object, he wanted to introduce evidence that the defendant did not recant his initial refusal, and that he had also refused certain field sobriety tests and suggested the proposed testimony would “open a can of worms”. The judge denied the defendant's motion. 
The Supreme Court found, the judge acted within the scope of his discretion in excluding the testimony. The defendant sought to testify that, shortly after declining to take a breathalyzer test, he requested to do so.  Such evidence could only exonerate the defendant by suggesting that he thought he was not intoxicated at the time the request was made. But the court has held that "consciousness of innocence is of very little value, because there are a variety of different motives that can prompt action consistent with innocence." Commonwealth v. Espada, 450 Mass. 687, 698 (2008). 
The court  believes a recantation of an initial refusal to take a breathalyzer test is likely motivated by the desire to avoid suspension of the suspect's driver's license as it is with consciousness of innocence.

IF you have been arrested for operatining under the infulence or neglegent operation, contact the law office of Isaac J. Mass for a consultation.

_ Compete in the 75th American Legion Oratorical Scholarship Contest

Scholarship awards are presented to the three finalists in the final round of the national contest as follows: 1st place — $18,000; 2nd place —$16,000; 3rd place — $14,000. Each department (state) winner who is certified into and participates in the first round of the national contest will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Each first round winner who advances to and participates in the second round, but does not advance to the final round, will receive an additional $1,500 scholarship to pursue education beyond high school. The scholarships awarded by the national organization of The American Legion may be used to attend any college or university in the United States.

What topics do contestants speak on?

The prepared oration. The subject to be used for the prepared oration must be on some aspect of the Constitution of the United States with emphasis on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government. The same subject
and oration used in the department contest must be used in the national contest. The prepared oration must be the original effort of each contestant and must not take up less than eight minutes or more than ten minutes for delivery. It must be delivered in the English language.

Assigned topic. The purpose of the assigned topic is to test the speaker’s knowledge of the subject, the extent of
his or her research, and the ability to discuss the topic as related to the basic principles of government under
the Constitution. The topic will be on some phase of the Constitution of the United States. The assigned topic must take no less than three minutes and must not exceed five minutes for time of delivery. This year, the list of assigned topics are:


Section 9, Clause 2: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."


Section 2, Clause 1: "The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens of the several states."


Section 2, Sentence 1: "Representatives shall be apportioned among the several states according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each state, excluding Indians not taxed."


Section 1: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude."

Who is eligible to participate?

You are eligible to participate in The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship Program if you are a citizen or a lawful permanent resident of the United States. Further, all contestants must be bona fide students under the age of 20 years on the date of the national contest and must be enrolled in a high school or junior high school (public, parochial, military, private or home school) in which the curriculum of the school is considered to be of high school level, commencing with grade nine and terminating with grade twelve. Students must be enrolled in high school or junior high school during the time of participation at any level of the contest.

Massachusetts District Two Hampshire and Franklin County

In order to compete at the Department (state) level you must first compete at the District and Zone levels.  The district two contest is open to students who live in or attend school in Hampshire or Franklin County Massachusetts.  The competition will be at Greenfield Community College on January 28th, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. Students who want to compete must be nominated by their principal, head of school or local American Legion Post Commander not later than December 31st, 2011. 

Students can participate if they live in or attend school in:Ashfield, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, South Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Hawley, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Monroe, Montague (Lake Pleasant, Millers Falls, Montague Center, Montague City, Turners Falls), New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Rowe, Shelburne, Shelburne Falls, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell, Whately all in Franklin County or Amherst, Belchertown, Chesterfield, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Hadley, Hatfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Northampton (Hamp, Leeds, Florence), Pelham, Plainfield, South Hadley, Southampton, Ware, Westhampton, Williamsburg, (Haydenville), Worthington.




(c) 2012 Law Office of Isaac J. Mass, 289 Main Street, Suite 201 Greenfield, MA 01301