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Mark L. Stevens

Mark Stevens’s Legal Cases

36 total

  • United States v Richard Villar

    Practice Area:
    Criminal Defense
    Date:
    Nov 10, 2009
    Outcome:
    Bank robbery conviction reversed and remanded
    Description:
    In United States v. Villar, the First Circuit decided that racial bias in jury deliberations can be inquired into as a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights to due process and an impartial jury despite the evidentiary rule (Fed. R. Evid. 606(b)) that generally prohibits jurors’ testimony from being used to impeach the jury’s verdict. In other words, a defendant’s constitutional rights trump rules of evidence. In reversing this federal bank robbery conviction, the Court of Appeals summarized its decision as follows: "While the issue is difficult and close, we believe that HN12the rule against juror impeachment cannot be applied so inflexibly as to bar juror testimony in those rare and grave cases where claims of racial or ethnic bias during jury deliberations implicate a defendant's right to due process and an impartial jury. In our view, the four protections relied on by the Tanner Court do not provide adequate safeguards in the context of racially and ethnically biased comments made during deliberations. While individual pre-trial voir dire of the jurors can help to disclose prejudice, it has shortcomings because some jurors may be reluctant to admit racial [**27] bias. 5 In addition, visual observations of the jury by counsel and the court during trial are unlikely to identify jurors harboring racial or ethnic bias. Likewise, non-jurors are more likely to report inappropriate conduct - such as alcohol or drug use -- among jurors than racial statements uttered during deliberations to which they are not privy."
  • State v. J.D.

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Apr 28, 2010
    Outcome:
    Not guilty verdict after DWI trial.
    Description:
    Driver stopped for routine traffic violations. The police alleged that he failed to stop for a long distance. The arresting cop claimed the driver had difficulty producing his license and registration and poor balance when he got out of his truck. The officer testified that the driver was "unsteady on his feet", and "slurred his speech". The officer testified that the driver "failed" the HGN test and "walk and turn test". The driver declined breath testing after his arrest. After trial the driver was found Not Guilty.
  • State v. Sharkey

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Outcome:
    DWI Conviction Reversed by NH Supreme Court
    Description:
    In this case, the defendant was represented by a dump truck lawyer who talked him into pleading guilty to DWI. His prior lawyer told him that he would lose his Massachusetts license for 90 days, but the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles revoked his license permanently. This result constituted gross misinformation. Even though the issue here was a collateral consequence of his plea, the Supreme Court ruled that this driver's conviction must be reversed. The State and Federal Constitutions guarantee a criminal defendant reasonably competent assistance of counsel. To successfully assert a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel, a defendant must show, first, that counsel's representation was constitutionally deficient and, second, that counsel's deficient performance actually prejudiced the outcome of the case. Id. To meet the first prong of the test, a defendant must show that counsel made such egregious errors that he or she failed to function as the counsel that the State Constitution guarantees. Broad discretion is afforded trial counsel in determining trial strategy, and the defendant must overcome the presumption that counsel's trial strategy was reasonably adopted. To meet the second prong, a defendant must demonstrate actual prejudice by showing that there is a reasonable probability that the result of the proceeding would have been different had competent legal representation been provided. Id. A reasonable probability is a probability sufficient to undermine confidence in the outcome of the case. Id. In the context of a guilty plea, the prejudice prong requires the defendant to show that there is a reasonable probability that, but for trial counsel's grossly incorrect advice, the defendant never would have pleaded guilty. The conviction was reversed.
  • Commonwealth v. Edgerly

    Practice Area:
    Criminal Defense
    Date:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Outcome:
    Order revoking probation vacated
    Description:
    In this case the defendant was convicted of violating the terms of her probation by failing to submit to random urince screens by the probation office in Boston. On appeal, Attorney Stevens successfully argued that that the Commonwealth had not proven that that she had violated the terms of the contract because of a lack of clarity in the record of the probation violation hearings as to whether the probation contract had been executed as to the administration of the random urine screens. The Appeals Court vacated the District Court's order revoking the defendant's probation.
  • Commonwealth v. Ouellette

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Outcome:
    OUI-3rd Offense-Conviction Reversed on Appeal
    Description:
    At the trial in Superior Court this case, the defendant was authorized six peremptory challenges. Prior to commencement of the trial, the trial judge conducted individual voir dires of the venire to inquire whether the prospective jurors, their families, or their close friends had personal or professional relationships with any of the witnesses. During the individual voir dires, the defendant exercised three of his peremptory challenges. When one prospective juror (Juror X) was called, she stated that she knew the names of town police officers who would be testifying during the trial, probably because she lived in a very small town. The defendant attempted to challenge Juror X for cause. The judge accordingly inquired of Juror X to determine whether she could remain impartial. He concluded that she was indifferent, and seated her. The individual voir dires continued until the remaining jurors were seated. After the last juror was selected, the judge recessed for lunch. Upon the jurors' return from lunch the prosecutor revealed to the judge that he had discovered that Juror X had a closer relationship with one of the Commonwealth's police witnesses than previously discussed, more than just mere acquaintance from living in the same small town. It was revealed that the arresting officer, Officer Mousseau, had been a tenant of Juror X's in-laws (Juror X's husband's brother and the brother's wife) and that Officer Mousseau's wife was currently working for Juror X's in-laws. cord reveals that defense counsel again attempted to strike Juror X for cause, but the judge insisted that his earlier inquiry of the juror during the first individual voir dire had sufficiently satisfied him to conclude again that the juror was indifferent. After expressing to the judge his concerns about the juror, defense counsel attempted to exercise one of his three remaining challenges. The defendant was subsequently convicted and this appeal ensued. The Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed the conviction and remanded the case.
  • State v. Duffy

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Jul 23, 2001
    Outcome:
    DWI Conviction reversed by NH Supreme Court
    Description:
    After observing the defendant's overturned vehicle, the arresting officer conducted field sobriety tests, which indicated that the defendant was intoxicated. After the defendant indicated he would refuse chemical testing, the officer transported him to the police station. While in the cruiser, an officer read the defendant his Miranda rights. The officer testified that the defendant said that he understood these rights. There was no written or oral waiver of rights. Once at the station, the defendant was read his rights relative to the administrative license suspension (ALS) statute, and instructed to fill out a form. Defendant was then asked how much he drank. The appellate court held that it was against the manifest weight of the evidence to find that the State proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant voluntarily and intelligently waived his rights. Given that the defendant was required to answer ALS form questions and standard booking questions immediately prior to being asked how much he drank that evening, the appellate court held that he may very well have thought he was also required to answer the officer's question. DWI Conviction reversed by the New Hampshire Supreme Court..
  • State v S.M.

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Apr 07, 2010
    Outcome:
    DWI Case Dismissed
    Description:
    In this case Attorney Stevens filed a motion to suppress evidence the police obtained during a warrantless seach and seizure that led to a DWI charge against the driver. After an evidentiary hearing on the motion tio suppress, the motion was granted, which excluded all evidence in the case. All charges were then dismissed.
  • State v S.N.

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Outcome:
    Not Guilty After DWI Trial
    Description:
    The driver in this case was stopped for speeding for allegedly driving 25 miles over the speed limit. After stopping, the driver performed the usual gaauntlet of field sobriety tests, all of which he "failed". At the police station, he declined the police officer's invitation to take a breath test. As this driver was under 21, the per se limit was .02. After a trial in the district court, the driver was found not guilty.
  • State v. M.N.

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Dec 09, 2009
    Outcome:
    Boating While Intoxicated-Dismissed After Trial
    Description:
    The driver of a boat was stopped for driving without his bow light on. He had three passengers on the boat at the time. An officer activated the blue light on his patrol boat and stopped the boat. Once stopped, the patrolman orchestrated the driver through a ritual “safety inspection”, demanding to see lifejackets, throw-able flotation devices; even asking the driver to honk the horn of the boat and make sure that everyone on the boat had a life jacket. During this time the patrolman saw some empty beer cans on board and claimed to smell alcohol coming “from the operator”. Even though the boat driver performed everything asked of him during the “safety inspection”, the patrolman interrogated him about drinking any way. The driver said that he had had a beer earlier. The officer reported that the driver’s eyes were “bloodshot and glassy”, a rote observation that appears in nearly every DWI or BWI report. The officer then asked the driver to board the patrol boat for some “marine field sobriety testing”. Marine field sobriety tests are an unusual battery of seated dexterity and counting exercises designed to trick the driver. These are the seafaring version of the sidewalk acrobatics known as “standardized field sobriety testing” done during DWI cases at the roadside. The most basic difference is that there is no objective scoring system for these tests. This driver allegedly “failed” some of these tasks and was arrested for boating while intoxicated. Prior to the trial date Attorney Stevens filed a motion to suppress evidence. The state objected. During the trial Attorney Stevens argued that all the evidence of intoxication should be suppressed (thrown out) because the officer did not have a reasonable suspicion that the driver was impaired by alcohol. The Trial Court agreed after hearing the parties’ respective arguments on the motion, and granted Attorney Stevens’ motion to suppress the evidence and motion to dismiss the charges against this driver. BWI-2nd offense dismissed.
  • State v. J.S.

    Practice Area:
    DUI & DWI
    Date:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Outcome:
    Not Guilty Verdict After DWI Trial
    Description:
    In this case the driver was stopped for "weaving within her lane" and crossing the lane markers during a rainstorm. After stopping the car, the driver performed three field sobriety tests under the awning of a gas station. The officer thought the driver failed all three tests and arrested for DWI. After cross examination at trial, the driver was found not guilty.