LAW Search, Seizure, and Suppression

Hon. Joseph Grasso,

3 credits day; 3 credits evening.


This course focuses on the peculiarities of Massachusetts law and the greater protections afforded by Articles 12 and 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, and common law that are afforded by the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Massachusetts law is far more defendant friendly than federal law. Keeping abreast of the continuing evolution of the separate protections afforded under Articles 14 and 12 and the exclusionary rule is critical to criminal practice in Massachusetts. The course provides not only a detailed exposition of the issues, but more importantly a framework for analyzing, presenting, and deciding any problem in the area of search and seizure, from field encounters, stop and frisk, arrest, searches with a warrant, and searches undertaken without a warrant. Similarly the course considers statements and identifications and the constitutional and common law requirements in these important areas. Students will learn how to raise issues properly under the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Art. 14 and 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, and the common law consonant with Rule 13 of the Mass. R. Crim. P. Knowledge of the rules of evidence is helpful, but not required.


Faculty comments: This is an intensive course in the law of search and seizure with particular emphasis on the added protections provided by Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, beyond those of the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The course provides students with an understanding of the entire law of search and seizure, from determining when a search or seizure has occurred, to stop and frisk, searches with a warrant, and searches undertaken pursuant to recognized exceptions to the warrant requirement. Emphasis is given to developing a methodology for analyzing and resolving problems. Each session utilizes hypothetical problems from selected cases as the focus for analysis, questioning, and discussion. Class participation is essential to understanding the subject matter and the proper methodology for analyzing problems. Student participation is required, and rewarded where appropriate. The written final examination consists of four hypotheticals for analysis and resolution.


pointer    Enrollment is limited: 20 

pointer    Elective Course

pointer    May Fulfill Legal Writing Requirement

pointer    Recommended for the Mass Bar

pointer    Final Exam Required


<<Course Updated: March 14, 2016>>