Commonwealth v Everett Connolly
Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe announced today that the Supreme Judicial Court for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts upheld the 2006 Barnstable Superior Court conviction of Everett Connelly for Trafficking in and Distribution of Cocaine. In so holding the Supreme Judicial Court denied the defendant's motion for a new trial and reaffirmed the use by the Commonwealth of a Global Positioning System (G.P.S.) as an investigative tool. In its decision, the Supreme Judicial Court held that the use of a G.P.S. in these circumstances was a seizure requiring a warrant. The Supreme Judicial Court reasoned that the use of a G.P.S. tracking device constitutes a seizure under Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. The Supreme Judicial Court held that 15 days is the maximum period for G.P.S. monitoring, adopting the monitoring time period permissible under the wiretap statute. The Appeal was argued for the Commonwealth by Assistant District Attorney Julia Holler, Chief of Appeals.
After trial, Everett Connolly was sentenced to 12 years to 15 years committed to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Cedar Junction for having 124 grams of cocaine hidden under the dashboard of his van. The decision by the Supreme Judicial Court upholds this sentence. Members of the Massachusetts State Police and Harwich Police Department in conjunction with the Cape Cod Drug Task Force had investigated Everett Connolly for over a year, culminating in obtaining a warrant for the installation of a G.P.S. device in his van. G.P.S. monitoring led to the September 9, 2004 stop of Everett Connolly and his van on Route 6 on a return trip from New York City. This was the first time that G.P.S. technology was used in this manner in the Cape and Islands District.