Decision Commonwealth v. Buckley

Date: 02/14/2018
Organization: Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

Table of Contents

Commonwealth v. Buckley

Commonwealth v. Buckley
Supreme Judicial Court, February 14, 2018(Search and Seizure/Traffic Violations)

 The Court upheld Commonwealth v. Santana, 420 Mass. 205 (1995), ruling that, an officer’s observation of a traffic violation, notwithstanding the officer’s underlying motive for conducting the stop, constitutes a reasonable seizure for purposes of art. 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.


When addressing the issue of racial profiling in the context of Commonwealth v. Lora, 451 Mass. 425 (2008) the Court stated,  “[w]e likewise acknowledge their valid questions regarding the lasting efficacy of Lora for addressing the issue of pretextual stops motivated by race, given that in the near-decade since that decision, we are not aware of a single reported case suppressing evidence under its framework.  We take this opportunity to encourage lawyers to use the Lora framework in cases where there is reason to believe a traffic stop was the result of racial profiling. To the extent we must review the adequacy of our decision in Lora, however, or address these issues in depth, we wait to do so in a case where a driver has actually alleged and laid a proper foundation for a claim under Lora. We cannot evaluate the efficacy of the Lora framework without a record.”