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July 28, 2014

SJC Affirms Suppression of Statements Made More Than Six Hours After Arrest

Last month, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) reaffirmed a concept it established in 1996 in Commonwealth v. Rosario - known as the "Rosario rule" - which makes any statements made by a defendant more than six hours after his arrest, but before his arraignment, per se inadmissible against him, absent his valid waiver of his right to be arraigned without delay.

In Commonwealth v. Powell, the police suspected the defendant's involvement in a murder that occurred in February 2010. On June 14, 2010, at 1:30 P.M. the police arrested the defendant on charges of larceny of a motor vehicle occurring on the night of the murder. Although the police likely had enough probable cause to charge the defendant with the murder as well, they had not yet been authorized to bring those charges.

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