Published on: Saturday, April 29, 2023

In state court news, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has elected to use its "extraordinary superintendence powers" and hold that about 27,000 defendants who pleaded guilty to DUI from 2011 to 2019 are entitled to a conclusive presumption of "egregious government misconduct" and to the suppression of the breathalyzer results if they seek to withdraw their plea—thanks to an investigation that uncovered "a history of intentional withholding of exculpatory evidence" and "blatant disregard of court orders" at a Massachusetts State Police crime lab unit. But defendants still have to show that they wouldn't have pleaded guilty if they had known about the misconduct. And if they're tried again, their sentence will be capped at the original sentence, unless (as happened with the defendant in this case) that original sentence was illegally low.

The case is Commonwealth v. Hallinan, No. SJC-13301 (Mass. Apr. 26, 2023).