On February 19, 2020, MACDL, the New England Innocence Project, Lawyers for Civil Rights, and the Houston Institute filed an amicus brief in Commonwealth v. Long, currently pending before the Supreme Judicial Court. The brief asks the court to chart a new path in order to effectively address the problem of racially discriminatory pretextual stops.
As the brief argues, “[o]verwhelming empirical evidence of pervasive racial disparities in traffic enforcement mandates abandoning the presumption of regularity as applied to traffic stops,” and the court should now adopt a version of the “would have” test, which asks judges to evaluate whether a reasonable officer would have made a stop without a pretextual motivation. The brief is part of MACDL’s continuing battle against racism in the enforcement of traffic laws and police-citizen street encounters more broadly. Read our brief here, and follow us on social media for updates as the case progresses