Two Tales from “Lawyers Weekly”

The September 27, 2010 edition of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly contains a couple of items that might be of interest to some of our readers:

First was a piece about Worcester County Sheriff Guy Glodis who chose not to run for re-election as sheriff and instead ran for the Democratic nomination for State Auditor. Glodis lost that race and in January will relinquish his sheriff’s office and be unemployed – or so we may have thought. Glodis has held elective office since 1994, serving as a state representative and then a state senator before being elected sheriff. Prior to 1994, however, Glodis worked as a court officer and a state law permits a state employee who is elected to public office to go on an unpaid leave of absence from his original job and return to that position when his tenure in elective office is over. Thus, while Glodis has given no indication of his post-January plans, he can always resume his former job as a court officer.

In a criminal case with local connections (Commonwealth v Dooley), Lowell attorney Robert Normandin argued in a motion to suppress evidence obtained when Westford police searched his client’s bedroom. The facts were that after the 26-year old Mr. Dooley had been arrested for assault and battery on his girlfriend, the police when to the home of his parents where he lived in a basement bedroom. The parents told police that Dooley, who was already in custody, may have had firearms in the room and signed a consent form authorizing the police to search the premises.

Normandin argued that because of the son’s age, the separate outside entrance to his room and all the circumstances of the son’s living arrangements, taken together, established that the parents lacked the power to authorize the police to search. Without such authority, the search would be illegal and the evidence seized would have to be excluded from use at trial.

Superior Court Judge Thomas Billings denied Normandin’s motion, writing

Parents still . . . maintain authority as householders over what goes on in their home; hence, the oft-heard gripe, “When you’re under our roof, you’ll live by our rules,” he wrote. “It is the authority and control over the home, not necessarily over the child, that carries with it the presumptive authority to consent to a search of the house, including the child’s room.

Presumably the case will go to trial and the ruling on this motion will be appealed, so this might not be the final word on the topic. Still, if you’re one of those stereotypical bloggers living in your parents’ basement and posting in your pajamas all day, you might want to keep any contraband someplace else since your parents might invite the police in to look around.