August 1st 2013, Massachusetts adopted new child support guidelines
for the Probate and Family Court.
While the court reviews guidelines every four years, these changes are the most sweeping in some time. the most significant changes are:
- Income from means tested benefits such as SSI, TAFDC, and SNAP are excluded for both parties from the calculation of their support obligations.
- Availability of employment at the attributed income level must be considered in attribution of income cases. (i.e. if you can work as a nuclear scientist, but they just closed Vermont Yankee the closure is a factor to be considered).
- The text makes clear that all, some, or none of income from secondary jobs or overtime may be considered by the court, regardless of whether this is new income or was historically earned prior to dissolution of the relationship. (You do not have to be penalized working more to meet already established child support obligations and your own reasonable living expenses.)
- Reference is made to the 2011 Alimony Reform Act; the text does not, however, provide a specific formula or approach for calculating alimony and child support in cases where both may be appropriate.
- Clarification is given as to how child support should be allocated between the parents where their combined income exceeds $250,000.
- A new formula is provided for calculating support where parenting time and expenditures are less than equal (50/50) but more than the assumed standard split of two thirds/one third. (You can pay less child support if you have a high level of visitation, likewise the court can order more child support for less than on third visitation.)
- Guidance and clarification is given in the area of child support over the age of eighteen where appropriate. While the Guidelines apply, the court may consider a child’s living arrangements and post- secondary education. Contribution to post-secondary education may be ordered after consideration of several factors set forth in the Guidelines and such contribution must be considered in setting the weekly support order, if any.
- The standard for modification is clarified to reflect the recent Supreme Judicial Court decision in Morales v. Morales, 464 Mass. 507 (2013). (Modification to child support does not require a material change in circumstances).
If you have a case involving custody, support or visitation and want more information on the application of the new child support guidelines, or advice on seeking a modification to an existing order, contact the Law Office of Isaac Mass at 413-774-0123 to schedule a consultation.
- Circumstances justifying a deviation are expanded to include extraordinary health insurance expenses, child care costs that are disproportionate to income or when a parent is providing less than one-third parenting time.
Today in COMMONWEALTH vs. Christopher DOYLE, No 11-P-1779, the Massachusetts Court of Appeals held damage done to a container for the sole purpose of obtaining the property inside a container is not Malicious destruction of property.
To prove malicious destruction of property, according to G.L. c. 266, § 127 a defendant's actions must be both "wilful" and "malicious." Under Commonwealth v. Redmond, 53 Mass.App.Ct. 1, 4 (2001). "In addition to the intent to inflict injury to property, the crime requires a state of mind infused with cruelty, hostility or revenge."
The Appeals Court held that this case was like Redmond where the defendant was arrested while apparently in the process of stealing computer equipment. In pursuit of that goal, Redmond had:
1) ripped a security alarm from the wall
2) broken a window
3) and forcibly opened the front door of the office
4) A second door, leading into a computer room, appeared kicked in
In Redmond the Court of Appeals held that "[a]lthough clearly intended, such property damage was nothing more than the 'the adventitious by-product of a wholly discrete criminal enterprise' (the theft of the computers) and was not 'gratuitous, excessive violence purposefully designed to intimidate and overpower,' ... or destructive activities that were by design and hostile to the owner of the property." Redmond, quoting from Commonwealth v. Wynn, 42 Mass.App.Ct. 452, 456 (1997).
In Commonwealth v. Morris M., 70 Mass.App.Ct. 688 (2007) the Appeals Court also found destruction of property caused by driving a Jeep across the driving range of a golf course and smashing the car into a pole was not malicious because the juvenile was driving the vehicle in order to escape another who apparently intended to harm him.
In the case of Mr. Doyle, the Appeals Court believed it was clear that the damage was done in an effort to steal from the ATM and not with "a state of mind infused with cruelty, hostility or revenge." as required under Commonwealth v. Redmond. Even viewed in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, the evidence was not sufficient to establish the necessary element of malice and so the conviction for Malicious Destruction of Property was overturned.
If you have been charged with malicious destruction of property or another crime, it is important to have an experience criminal defense attorney who understands all the elements of each crime, and what the legal definitions of each element are. Sometimes a complaint can be dismissed at a pretrial stage or even following the district attorney's opening statement, if they do not allege an essential element of the crime. For a consultation, contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass.
Today, in Commonwealth v. Reyes SJC 11270 (2013), the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
held that the storage of a firearm in securely locked container (like a glove compartment) inside a parked vehicle is not a violation of the carrying statute and may be adequate under the storage statute.
Amaury Reyes, was convicted in the Salem District Court
of improperly carrying a firearm in a motor vehicle in violation of M.G.L. c. 140, § 131C (a)
(carrying statute), and unlawfully storing a firearm (after leaving it in his motor vehicle) in violation of M.G.L. c. 140, § 131L (a ) and (b )
(storage statute). Reyes possessed a class A license permitting him to carry a firearm for all lawful purposes under M.G.L. c. 140, § 131 (a ).
On April 10, 2010, he drove from his home to work, during which time he carried his personal firearm with him in a holster without passenger. When he arrived at work, he parked his motor vehicle, removed the firearm and holster from his person, placed them in the glove box, and locked the vehicle.
Reyes consented to a search of his vehicle alerting the officer that his firearm was in the glove box of his
vehicle. He acknowledged that the firearm was not outfitted with a cable locking device. He unlocked
the car with a remote opener. The officers entered the vehicle from the passenger side, opened
the glove box, and retrieved the firearm in its holster. The firearm contained a loaded magazine, but no round in the chamber.
On appeal Reyes argued insufficient evidence at trial to support his convictions under the carrying and storage
The carrying statute provides in relevant part that "no person carrying a loaded firearm ... shall carry the same in
a vehicle unless such firearm while carried therein is under the direct control of such person." The Court
held that there was no evidence that his firearm was out of his possession (or his direct control) when he traveled to work in his vehicle. They further held that the carrying statute does not apply once the defendant leaves his
vehicle and leaves the firearm in it. The Court held that when Reyes left his motor vehicle and the firearm in it, he became subject to the storage statute because he was storing or keeping his firearm in a "place" neither on his
person nor "under the control of the owner or other lawfully authorized user." G.L. c. 140, § 131L (a ).
As to the storage charge, the court maintained that a motor vehicle is not itself a securely locked container.
However they held “that the storage of a firearm in a securely locked container within a motor vehicle would
satisfy its requirements.” This may include a locked glove compartment if it locks according to the SJC.
If you have been charged with a firearms violation you may need a criminal defense attorney who is abreast of the latest developments in firearms statutes and new court rulings reacting to the deluge of firearms litigation. For a consultation contact
the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass
Hardship Licenses, sometimes called a Cinderella License are issued by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to some offenders for a legitimate purpose such as going to work, attending school, or receiving medical treatment. Hardship Licenses are valid for a consecutive 12 hour period (e.g. 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM). Such licenses are only granted to Massachusetts license holders. In order to apply for a hardship license, you must attend a hearing at a Registry of Motor Vehicles hearings site.
A hardship will only be considered for the following offenses certain offenses. You will need all required documents with you when you meet with the Hearing Officer. Obtaining a hardship license is sometimes difficult, especially without a
skilled lawyer. Although an applicant may meet all requirements, issuance of a hardship license is only granted at the reasonable discretion of the Registry of Motor Vehicles, based on the facts of the case.
An attorney can help present your case in the light most favorable to you emphasizing the issues that are most important to the Registry of Motor Vehicles. For example in accordance with Melanie's Law, the Registry of Motor Vehicles is changing its policy regarding who is eligible for a hardship license. To be eligible for a hardship license, you may now be required to present proof that you do not have access by public transportation to your required destination. You should be represented by an attorney when seeking a hardship license.
For an opportunity to consult a an attorney about representation at a Registry of Motor Vehicle hearing contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass. The Law Office of Isaac J. Mass can also represent you in hearings before the Board of Appeals after an unsuccessful hearing at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
December 18th, 2012 , in Commonwealth v. Jones,
the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
held that it was ok to deny a defendant’s right to admit into evidence that, shortly after he had declined to take a breathalyzer test, he changed his mind and requested but was not given the test.
On May 14, 2010, a witness was driving north on Route 10 in Southampton
when she reported a pickup truck being driven erratically. The defendant was the driver of the truck and was stopped by the Easthampton police
. The police administered a field sobriety test, and the defendant performed poorly. He was then placed under arrest.
The defendant, prior to trial, moved that he be permitted to testify that, at the police station, he initially declined to take a breathalyzer test, then "shortly afterwards" changed his mind and asked to take the test, but one was not administered. Although the prosecutor did not object, he wanted to introduce evidence that the defendant did not recant his initial refusal, and that he had also refused certain field sobriety tests and suggested the proposed testimony would “open a can of worms”. The judge denied the defendant's motion.
The Supreme Court found, the judge acted within the scope of his discretion in excluding the testimony. The defendant sought to testify that, shortly after declining to take a breathalyzer test, he requested to do so. Such evidence could only exonerate the defendant by suggesting that he thought he was not intoxicated at the time the request was made. But the court has held that "consciousness of innocence is of very little value, because there are a variety of different motives that can prompt action consistent with innocence." Commonwealth v. Espada, 450 Mass. 687, 698 (2008).
The court believes a recantation of an initial refusal to take a breathalyzer test is likely motivated by the desire to avoid suspension of the suspect's driver's license
as it is with consciousness of innocence.
IF you have been arrested for operatining under the infulence or neglegent operation, contact
the law office of Isaac J. Mass
for a consultation.
Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass
is hosting a free showing of the the holiday classic Elf!
Tickets are first come first serve at the Greenfield Garden Cinema
in beautiful, downtown Greenfield, just one block from the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass.Staring Will Ferrell, Elf is the story of
Buddy, a baby in an orphanage who stowed away in Santa's sack and ended up at the North Pole. Later, as an adult human who happened to be raised by elves, Santa allows him to go to New York City to find his birth father, Walter Hobbs. Hobbs, on Santa's naughty list for being a heartless jerk, had no idea that Buddy was even born. Buddy, meanwhile, experiences the delights of New York City (and human culture) as only an elf can. When Walter's relationship with Buddy interferes with his job, he is forced to reevaluate his priorities.The Law Office of Isaac J. Mass assists clients in many of the area discussed in the movie including adoption, child support, family law, defense for criminal mischief, assault and battery defense, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, and vandalism. If you need a consultation because you've been on Santa's naughty list or if you simply have an elf of your own which you wish to adopt
call the Law Office of Isaac Mass at 413-774-0123 for a consultation
Under MGL Ch. 276 § 55
, a judge may at his discretion dismiss certain complaints at the request of the alleged victim.
If your charge is assault and battery or another misdemeanor for which you are liable in a civil action your complaint may be eligible. There are exceptions for offenses committed by or upon a sheriff or other officer of justice for example. Riotous offenses and offenses committed with intent to commit a felony are likewise cannot be resolved by an for an accord and satisfaction.
In cases where an accord and satisfaction is appropriate the person injured must appear before the court and acknowledge in writing that he has received satisfaction for the injury. Such injured persons may also want to notify the court of their intention to exert their 5th amendment rights
against self-incrimination if the case were to go to trial. To do so convincingly, it is helpful for the injured person to have a conversation with an attorney other than the district attorney or attorney for the defendant regarding whether or not the injured party actually has a viable fifth Amendment privilege.
The court may in its or his discretion, upon payment of accrued expenses (including but not limited to court cost and accessed attorney’s fees) discharge the recognizance or supersede the commitment, or discharge the defendant from the indictment or complaint, and may also discharge all recognizances and supersede the commitment of all witnesses in the case.
Some of the factors a judge may consider in evaluating an accord and satisfaction may include: the criminal history of the defendant, especially the nature of past charges, the adequacy of the satisfaction, the relationship of the parties, mitigating factors that led to the charged conduct and any voluntary programs which the defendant has successfully participated in or completed.
What is satisfaction? Satisfaction can be almost anything for example a written apology, assurances that the conduct will not be repeated, money damages, the return of property, or even an agreement to waive all counter claims against the injured party.
Defendants should not believe that just because an injured party comes forward and says they want the case dismissed that the judge will be likely to do so. The MA Supreme Judicial Court upheld the Accord and Satisfaction Statute in Commonwealth v. Guzman, 466 Mass. 344 (2006)
holding that the accord and satisfaction was not private justice because the case could continue at the discretion of the judge. The District Attorney has a right to be heard in these matters and almost always will oppose an accord and satisfaction.
If you have criminal charges pending and need the counsel of an attorney contact
the Law Offices of Isaac J. Mass
. If you have been the victim of crime and are entitled to a recovery for personal injuries you received, you may want to contact an attorney to evaluate your damages. Beyond medical bills you may be entitled to lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, consequential damages and punitive damages. Contact the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass for an evaluation of your case before you accept an accord and satisfaction.
Congratulations to Emily Butynski. Emily was our summer intern at the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass. Emily graduated in 2012 from Greenfield High School
and will be entering Westfield Sate University
in the fall where she hopes to major in Music Education or Music Management.The skills Emily learned this summer will undoubtedly be valuable to her as she makes the move to higher education. In addition to organization, file management, client contact, administrative functions and research, Emily coordinated with the State House and the office of Senate President Pro Tempore Stan Rosenberg to make plans for the MA/RI Moose Association 25th Annual Student Congress on October 26th, where she will be a moderator.Emily's professional attitude and positive outlook made her a perfect fit for our office. Emily was eager to work hard and learn new technology as well as a wide variety of new information about the legal system. At the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass Emily worked on criminal, personal injury, family law, social security disability, real estate, civil litigation and other areas of the law.We at the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass wish Emily all the best in her coming year at Westfield State. The Law Office of Isaac J. Mass is committed to providing educational opportunities for college and
law school students. If you are interested in an internship with the Law Office of Isaac J. Mass contact
us at 413-774-0123. Or email a resume and cover letter to our office manage Michelle a firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Melissa’s Law ?
The Massachusetts habitual offender, Chapter 192 of the Acts of 2012, An Act relative to sentencing and improving law enforcement tools,
is a comprehensive crime law which addresses many aspects of crime and sentencing and became effective Aug. 2, 2012.
Among other things the habitual offender law:
Establishes a specified list of violent felonies and
Requires anyone convicted a second time of a specified violent felony to serve at least two-thirds of his sentence (up from half) before eligibility for parole;
Requires anyone convicted three or more times of a specified violent felony (who has also served 3 or more years for his/her prior violent felonies) to serve the full, maximum sentence for his/er third or subsequent violent felony without eligibility for parole;
Requires anyone convicted three or more times of a specified violent felony to serve his latest prison sentence consecutive
to completion of any previous unserved sentence (rather than concurrently with a previous sentence);
Allows judges to impose 15 to 25 years minimum which must be served on a single
life sentence before parole eligibility (up from the current 15 years minimum);
Requires a two-thirds vote by the parole board
to release anyone serving a life sentence (except first degree murderers who remain ineligible for parole);
Eliminates any parole eligibility for multiple
life sentences; and
Reduces minimum mandatory sentences for certain non-violent drug crimes by about 20% and increases the amount by weight required for mandatory minimum sentencing
Reduces the school zone area from 1,000 to 300 feet in drug cases and excludes school zone violations between 12pm and 5 am.If you believe the new habitual offender statute may effect your pending case or a have been charged as a habitual offender, with a violent crime, with a drug crime or school zone violation, contact
the Law Office of Isaac Mas
s for an evaluation of your case. Attorney Isaac Mass
has been certified as a zealous advocate by the Committee for Public Counsel
and serves as a bar advocate with the Franklin County Bar Advocate Associates
. Attorney Mass also handles criminal appellate matters for the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Attorney Mass handles some private criminal matters for flat fees.