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Supreme Judicial Court Shoots Down DA Sutter’s Gun Policy

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Attorney Jason Chan

267 North Beacon Street, Suite 3
Boston MA 01235


Phone: 781-343-1DUI (781-343-1384)
Fax: 617-226-7986

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Picture of Gun taken by Ian Britton: http://www.ianbritton.co.uk/

Lately there has been a lot of talk about the Bristol District Attorney Samuel Sutter requesting so called dangerousness hearings on every gun felony case. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4-1 to strike down the Bristol District Attorney’s policy. (http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090504/NEWS/90504003)

Well what is a dangerousness hearing? When a person is arrested for a serious crime he or she is usually brought into court the next day. At this first appearance, a person will be arraigned, and a bail hearing will be held. After the bail hearing, the judge can release a person on no bail, release a person on bail, or hold the person without bail. The courts are reluctant to hold a person without bail except for extreme circumstances. There are certain situations in which the court will hold a person without bail; the most common example is when a person is charged with murder.

The prosecution must move for a dangerousness hearing at a person’s first appearance in court, which is usually the arraignment. If a dangerousness hearing is allowed by the judge, a person can be held without bail for up to 3 days to give the prosecution enough time to get ready for a hearing. The defendant’s lawyer may also ask for a 7 day extension to prepare for the hearing which the defendant would also be held without bail. If the court finds that a person is a danger after the hearing, a person can be held in custody for 60 days without bail. If a person is found not to be a danger, then he may be released on bail.

That is a quick summary of what a dangerousness hearing is, but you should get more information if you are planning to represent a person at these hearings. If you are a person about to face a dangerousness hearing, find a good attorney right away. Failing to get a good attorney could mean 60 solid days in jail.

The Boston Globe reports on Governor’s Patrick’s response to the SJC ruling
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/05/07/patrick_seeks_to_toughen_gun_laws/

The Sun Chronicle Report

http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2009/01/06/news/4191344.txt

New Bedford 360 Report

http://www.newbedford360.com/articles/articles/645/1/Bristol-County-District-Attorney-Sam-Sutters-office-will-be-holding-its-landmark-150th-illegal-firearm-related-dangerousness-hearing/Page1.html

Governor’s Patrick’s response to the SJC ruling

http://www.newbedford360.com/articles/articles/645/1/Bristol-County-District-Attorney-Sam-Sutters-office-will-be-holding-its-landmark-150th-illegal-firearm-related-dangerousness-hearing/Page1.html

For more information: visit www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902


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