Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Three Potential Strategies for Defending Against Assault Charges

A man in Medford was arrested in November after a woman was attacked and sexually assault in Middlesex Fells Reservation. The man was subsequently charged with armed assault to murder, assault, and battery with a dangerous weapon leading to serious bodily harm, kidnapping, and several aggravated rape counts. The Middlesex County District Attorney’s later reported that the suspect did not know the woman.  

State law enforcement informed the public about the incident and stated that the woman was walking close to Leslie Road Trail close to South Border Road when she was assaulted. Law enforcement states that the offense occurred in Winchester, but it was later revealed that the incident took place in Medford. 

Preliminary investigation revealed that the suspect hit the woman with a rock several times before he sexually assaulted her and then fled the scene. The Massachusetts State Police as well as the Winchester Police collected evidence from the scene that led to them identifying the attacker and locating him at his residence. The man was arrested without incident and was expected to be arraigned in Somerville District Court. The woman was treated for serious injuries at a nearby medical facility. 

The charge of assault is a serious offense that carries substantial penalties for people in Massachusetts who are convicted of the offense. People should understand that creating a defense to an assault charge depends on a careful review of the facts surrounding a case. As a result, not all defenses to assault are as good a fit or even available in each situation. Consider some of the following ways that people defend against assault charges. 

Self Defense 

A person in Massachusetts is permitted to defend themselves if that individual is faced with the threat of harm or violence. To raise self-defense as a strategy, a person must be able to demonstrate that the person was faced with harm that they feared and did not have a chance to retreat. Massachusetts law also requires a person to do everything reasonable to avoid using force. This means that a person must first attempt to retreat. 

Defending Others

Defending others is another technique used to overcome assault charges if a person steps in to protect another individual that they believe is facing imminent and real threats of harm. When defending others, a person facing assault charges must demonstrate that they feared for the individual they protected and that the person who was protected did not have the opportunity to get away from the source of harm. 

Defending Property 

In Massachusetts, a person can utilize reasonable (but not deadly) force to defend that person’s property against an individual who has no right to the property. In these situations, the person who exercises the force must be protecting their own property. 

Contact an Experienced Massachusetts Defense Lawyer

If you or a loved one is facing an assault charge, you should consider immediately contacting an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney. Contact Attorney Edward R Molari today for assistance.

Four Facts You Should Know about Massachusetts BB Gun Regulations

A replica handgun was found on a teenager at a Boston school in November 2021. The teenager was carrying what appeared to be a pistol. The arrest occurred at Dearborn Stem Academy. The 14-year-old was arrested by school safety officers after they spotted him with a weapon placed in his waistband. The weapon that was found was not a gun, but instead was a BB gun that resembled a Glock pistol. The suspect was detained while law enforcement arrived at the scene. Officials determined that the teen was not enrolled in Dearborn Stern Academy or any other public school in the Boston area.  

The teen charged with the offense currently faces charges involving possession of a firearm on school property as well as trespassing. The man is due in Boston Municipal Court.  

A BB gun (or as it is sometimes referred to, a pellet or air gun) shoots a projectile through the use of compressed air. Massachusetts categorizes these weapons neither exactly the same as all firearms nor in the “dangerous weapon” category. Instead, the only restriction that Massachusetts places on pellet guns is an age-related one. This article reviews some of the important Massachusetts laws and ways the state addresses BB guns, which can come in handy if you are charged with an offense related to these guns. 

The Use of BB Guns in Public Areas

Adults (or people over the age of 18) are permitted to own BB guns in Massachusetts freely. This means that people are not subject to any licensing or registration requirements. Discharging a BB gun across or from a public area, however, is prohibited by the state, though. 

Age Restrictions in Massachusetts

Any person below the age of 18 in Massachusetts is prohibited from possessing a BB or pellet gun. People under the age of 18 who want to learn how to fire a pellet gun at a qualifying licensed firearm range must do so accompanied by either a parent or guardian. Minors in Massachusetts, however, are permitted to possess and use pellet guns if that individual has a hunting and sporting license as well as written permission from the chief of police in the area where that person resides. 

The Repercussions of Firing a BB Gun in Massachusetts

A person who fires a BB gun in Massachusetts can end up facing a misdemeanor that is punishable by up to a $100 fine accompanied by confiscation of the weapon and even potential destruction of the firearm. 

Contact a Firearm Defense Attorney 

If you or a loved one is faced with a firearm offense in Massachusetts, you can end up facing serious penalties. One of the best steps that you can take in such a situation involves contacting an experienced firearm defense attorney who will remain committed to making sure that your case resolves in the best manner possible. Contact Attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

Three Things You Should Know if You are Subject to a Search Warrant

A long-term investigation into a narcotics criminal operation resulted in law enforcement being led to Brockton where they removed heroin, cocaine, and Fentanyl. With the assistance of the Massachusetts narcotic investigation team, law enforcement disrupted a substantial organization involved with drug trafficking. 

Based on reports received by the Brockton police, law enforcement executed two search warrants in Boston that resulted in Brockton detectives arresting two drug dealers and pursuing warrants for several other individuals. Investigators seized approximately half a kilo of cocaine and around $30,000 in cash from the address. 

Two men were subsequently arrested in this seizure that led to the two individuals facing several charges, which include trafficking in over ten grams of fentanyl. If only convicted of trafficking, the men could end up facing approximately 20 years in prison.

Law enforcement seized 17 bags of Fentanyl as well as crack cocaine, two bags of heroin, and around two thousand in cash associated with the two suspects who were arrested. Law enforcement also charged the men with two counts of distributing a Class A drug. The men were also charged with possession to distribute a drug classified as Class B and conspiracy to violate the drug law. Additional arrests in the case might also be pending. 

What is Required for a Valid Search Warrant?

For a search warrant to be valid in Massachusetts, probable cause must be established as determined personally by a judge. This warrant must be issued following examination of a complaint as well as any witnesses that the judge can produce. Additionally, the warrant must describe the location to be searched as well as the persons and things that will be seized. 

Probable cause includes any facts and circumstances that would result in a reasonably prudent person believing that an offense has occurred and that objects being sought after are in the place intended to be searched. 

You Cannot Inspect a Search Warrant

If you are served with a search warrant, you cannot pretend that the warrant does not exist. A valid search warrant gives law enforcement the authority to enter private premises and collect evidence in accordance with the warrant’s terms. You cannot deny access or refuse to provide “consent” to a search by law enforcement. 

You Might be Able to Challenge the Search Warrant

Search warrants provide law enforcement with a broad investigative power, but this authority is not absolute. To be valid, a search warrant must be supported by probable cause. If a search warrant is issued without probable cause or the officer who executes the warrant surpasses the scope of their authority, this can serve as grounds for filing a motion to suppress. 

Contact a Massachusetts Drug Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a drug defense in Massachusetts, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer. Attorney Edward R Molari understands the serious nature of drugs and will fight for your case to be resolved in the best possible manner.

Do Sexual Predator Investigations Constitute Entrapment?

Greenwich law enforcement recently charged an individual with criminal attempt at sexual contact with a minor as well as criminal attempt at sexual assault and criminal attempt at enticing a minor by computer. Each of these offenses is a felony. 

Detectives from the police department’s Special Victims Sections were busy for several weeks in what has been referred to as an “internet undercover sexual predator investigation.” 

After the suspect set up a meeting in Greenwich with the decoy, the man was arrested without incident. The suspect brought marijuana as part of an attempt to meet the teenager and has been charged with marijuana possession-related offenses, as well. The man was held on a $750,000 bond and a court appearance was scheduled for later in October. 

Massachusetts law enforcement sometimes relies on covert means to lure unsuspecting individuals to meet-ups. Law enforcement posting as prostitutes or underage individuals willing to engage in sexual activity make arrests after the subject goes to the proposed meeting location. Convictions for associated offenses lead to imprisonment, fines, and registration as a sex offender among other penalties. 

It is common to hear people charged with offenses of this kind argue that law enforcement utilized entrapment to make the arrest. Entrapment is illegal and occurs when law enforcement coerces a law-abiding citizen to violate the law. Entrapment is viewed as illegal because the subject would not have engaged in the illegal activity if that person had not been convinced to do so by the police. 

What Constitutes Entrapment in Massachusetts?

Police in Massachusetts are considered to commit entrapment when to obtain evidence involving a crime, an officer originates the idea of a criminal offense and then induces another individual to engage in the crime when the other person is otherwise not disposed to commit the offense. To successfully raise the defense of entrapment in Massachusetts, evidence must be provided of inducement and this evidence must go past mere solicitation. 

A large number of sexual predator investigations avoid arguments about entrapment by allowing the subject to initiate criminal intent to commit the offense. As a result, when the subject engages in certain activities in the sting, the subject might meet the legal requirements for showing criminal intent. Some of the activities that the subject might engage in include approaching the subject of his or her free will, offering cash in exchange for sexual activity, or showing the undercover police that the subject has money to pay for sexual activity or sexual items in possession. 

If the subject engaged in any of the following activities, the subject will likely not be able to raise entrapment as a defense following a police bust. Law enforcement’s decision to go undercover as an underage child will not be sufficient coercion or persuasion to prompt the subject to commit a criminal offense. 

When Entrapment Can be Used as a Defense 

For entrapment to be raised as a defense, your attorney must be able to produce evidence showing that the police engaged in inappropriate activity which might include coercion or forceful coercion, the use of sexual favors or money as incentives to motivate the subject, or continuous aggressive acts to persuade the individual. Evidence of active promotion of a crime by law enforcement might also be evidence of entrapment. 

If entrapment can be utilized as a defense, your attorney might be able to either have the charges that you face greatly reduced or dropped entirely.  

Contact a Seasoned Sex Crime Defense Attorney

Even if you are capable of successfully defending against sex charges in Massachusetts, simply being charged with these offenses carries substantial social stigmas as well as other hardships. If you or your loved ones need the assistance of a compassionate sex crimes defense attorney, do not hesitate to contact Attorney Edward R Molari today for assistance.

Three Things You Must Know if Police Want to Search Your Residence

A Blackstone Police Department officer recently arrested a man on charges of trying to sell cocaine and fentanyl to an undercover police officer. The man now faces charges related to trafficking fentanyl, which is a Class A narcotic, as well as distributing cocaine, which is a Class B narcotic.  

A press release from the Blackstone Police Department stated that the man was arrested after he agreed to sell 500 fentanyl pills to another man, who turned out to be an undercover law enforcement officer. The arrest comes shortly after the Drug Enforcement Administration released a public safety alert warning others about the increased availability of fake prescription pills that contained fentanyl and methamphetamine. 

Following this arrest, Woonsocket law enforcement later executed a search warrant at a residence and discovered over 80 grams of cocaine and around $9,500 in cash. Law enforcement seized over 1,000 suspected fentanyl pills in the bust as well as 30 grams of what is believed to be cocaine and a vehicle.  

Your Fourth Amendment Rights Still Apply

Your Fourth Amendment rights protect against unreasonable searches and seizures. In cases in which the police have probable cause to obtain a search warrant of your home, they still must describe the place they are searching. Law enforcement is limited in regards to where they can look. If law enforcement goes beyond the scope of the search warrant, they might violate your Fourth Amendment rights. This means there are still limits to where law enforcement can search when they have a warrant for your residence. 

Where Law Enforcement Can Search

Both federal and state laws state that law enforcement must have a warrant that specifically addresses what they will search as well as what they can seize. The description found in a search warrant must be specific enough so the police, as well as the subject, can read the warrant and understand where the police are allowed to search and what is being seized. The search must be limited to these areas. For example, the police cannot open a small jewelry box if law enforcement is only seizing a large firearm because the firearm is clearly too big to fit in the jewelry box. 

You Have Options if the Search is Illegal

Whether it is looking somewhere they should not or using an improperly written warrant, if the search turns out to be illegal, your attorney can file a motion to have any evidence obtained during the seizure removed from court and the prosecution’s case. Your attorney can also file a motion to make sure the property is returned to you. 

Speak With a Drug Crime Defense Lawyer Today

A conviction of a drug crime in Massachusetts carries with it some serious penalties. One of the best things that you or a loved one can do if you need the assistance of a compassionate drug defense attorney is to contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.  

Three Ways to Defend Against Assault With a Deadly Weapon Charges in Massachusetts

North Adams law enforcement recently arrested a man following a shooting that occurred on State Street. Law enforcement discovered bullets from a 9 mm gun that had penetrated the walls of an apartment building. Fortunately, no one was injured in the shooting.  

Later, after law enforcement executed a search warrant at a home, a man was arrested and charged with firearms offenses. Law enforcement now believes the man became agitated after a former girlfriend called the police to report that the man was trying to break into her apartment. Later, after responding to State Street following a call, law enforcement was told that the man had tried to break down the door of the woman’s third-floor apartment after the two argued. 

The victim stated that the man pounded on her door, which was captured on surveillance footage. At this point, the man shot six times into a vacant second-floor apartment and broke a sliding glass door. Witnesses provided the police with a description of the vehicle involved, which led to the police issuing a bulletin. Soon after, police identified a vehicle matching the description and stopped the car.  

The man who fired the weapon was held by police and arraigned at North Berkshire District Court on several charges including discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, attempting to commit a crime, and assault with a dangerous weapon. The man was also booked on two outstanding warrants.

As we have previously discussed, being charged with a deadly weapon offense in Massachusetts carries with it some harsh penalties. If you are facing an assault with a deadly weapon, you understandably should appreciate some of the strongest strategies to defend against these charges. 

# 1 and # 2 - Your Offense Does Not Satisfy the Act’s Requirements

Assault with a deadly weapon in Massachusetts adds an extra element to the offense of assault. To be convicted of the offense, the prosecution must establish each of the following elements:

  • Intent to place the subject into fear of immediate battery. 

  • Some type of behavior toward the subject that reasonably could have been viewed as imminently threatening battery.  This act can include a variety of behaviors, but if no action places the subject in fear, then the charge will not stand. 

  • Use of a dangerous weapon. Other than firearms, a “deadly weapon” can include any item that if used in a certain way can cause serious harm. 

If evidence cannot be shown to establish even one of these elements, the prosecution will not be able to successfully argue a charge against you. 

# 3 - You Were Acting in Self Defense

If you have an honest and reasonable belief that you will suffer great bodily harm or that another person will, you are justified in using a reasonably necessary degree of force to repel the other actor. For example, shooting someone with a submachine gun who was not wielding a firearm would likely not be a reasonably necessary degree of force. If you can establish self-defense, you have a valid defense to the charge of assault with a deadly weapon. 

Obtain the Assistance of a Firearm Defense Lawyer

To keep the residents of the state safe, Massachusetts prosecution takes firearm-related offenses seriously. If you or a loved one is charged with a firearm offense in Massachusetts, one of the first steps that you should take is to obtain the services of a compassionate criminal defense lawyer. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today for assistance. 

A Quick Guide to Massachusetts Firearm License Laws

At the beginning of September 2021, a road rage victim contacted 911. The victim revealed that the driver of a Ford Focus had pointed a pistol outside of the driver’s vehicle on Route 95. 

This report was subsequently transmitted to all nearby law enforcement. Within a short period, a law enforcement officer was able to locate the vehicle. Fortunately, the officer was able to stop the vehicle without anyone getting hurt. 

Law enforcement promptly informed the driver about the reason for the stop. The driver was then from the vehicle so law enforcement could perform a more thorough search. A frisk of the area where the driver was seated was performed. Law enforcement subsequently located a firearm below the driver’s seat. The driver lacked adequate licensure to carry a firearm. The driver was then placed under arrest. Law enforcement also later determined that the driver lacked a driver’s license. 

Law enforcement was transported for booking. A bail commissioner set the man’s bail at $5,000. The suspect was later scheduled for arraignment at Lowell District court. The driver now faces charges related to possessing the weapon without an FID card as well as operating the vehicle without a license.

Massachusetts Firearm License Laws

To either carry or possess a firearm in Massachusetts, you must first obtain a license to do so. While several types of licenses exist, the most popular types of licenses include: 

  • Firearm identification card (FID)

  • License to carry (LTC)

  • License to possess a machine 

A person can file at their local police department for any of these licenses. To obtain a license, a person will be required to complete a safety course based on the type of license. Unfortunately, some types of criminal offenses can leave a person unable to obtain a firearm license.

Important Details About FID Licenses

FID licenses have several requirements, which include:

  • A person must be 15 years of age or older to apply for a license

  • Individuals under the age of 18 must provide authorities with a letter of permission from their parent or guardian.

  • The applicant must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the application process 

  • To obtain an FID, a person must complete either a certified firearms safety or hunters safety course and have the certificate during the application process 

  • Be legally qualified to obtain a license

  • Provide two references on the associated application

Defending Against FID License Charges

It is a good idea to speak with your attorney regarding what defenses you might be able to raise in response to a firearm charge. Some of the most common types of defenses include:

  • Law enforcement might have performed a search or seizure that violates your 4th Amendment rights. In these situations, it might be possible to file a Motion to Suppress to argue that your constitutional rights were violated.

  • Some offenses require a person to know where a firearm is. If you were not aware that a firearm offense was around, this might serve as a defense. 

  • Firearms must count as firearms under Massachusetts law. Some weapons that might first look like firearms might not actually fall under this definition. 

Contact an Experienced Firearm Offense Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a firearm offense in Massachusetts, you could end up facing countless serious obstacles. To respond to these charges, one of the best things that you can do is obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney. Contact Attorney Edward R Molari to schedule a free case evaluation.

How to Respond if You Have Been Charged With a Massachusetts Sex Crime

An ex-cardinal was recently arraigned on assault and battery charges in a Dedham District Court. During a hearing, the cardinal pleaded not guilty and was ordered to return to the courthouse for a pretrial hearing with several conditions set for his release. The cardinal was required to pay a $5,000 cash bail, to have no contact with the alleged victim or anyone else under the age of 18, not to leave the United States, and to surrender his passport. The cardinal was also warned that if he is charged with a criminal offense at any time until his pretrial hearing, he could be incarcerated.  

The cardinal is the first former or current cardinal in the United States to have been criminally charged with sexual abuse. The charge is connected to the cardinal’s sexual assault of a 16-year-old boy during a 1974 wedding reception. While the charges in question are from 50 years ago, Massachusetts law permits the accuser to pursue charges for the sexual offense. The statute of limitations for criminal cases in Massachusetts was established to “toll” or pause when offenders are out of state. Because the cardinal never lived in Massachusetts, the statute of limitations does not apply to his case. In most cases, the statute of limitations for battery on a person over 14 as well as indecent assault in Massachusetts is six years, which begins at the time that a victim turns 16. 

If you are facing sex crime charges, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about how to proceed. Many people will assume that you are guilty of this criminal offense even before you begin to defend against these charges. Remember that you are assumed to be innocent until proven guilty. If you have been charged with a sexual offense, there are some important steps that you should remember to follow as some things you should definitely not do. 

Speak to Someone You Trust

Facing sexual assault allegations can substantially disrupt the life of the person who is charged. Given that these offenses carry a substantial social stigma, some people notice that individuals charged with the offenses begin to act guilty before a hearing has even occurred. In these situations, it is common for people to feel overwhelmed by these charges, which can lead to the person admitting to offenses that they did not commit or failing to take adequate steps to make sure their rights are fully protected.

Never Talk to the Alleged Victim

If you have been charged with sexual assault, avoid interacting with the witness. Not only are there often legal orders in place forbidding such contact, but chances are also high that the victim could pursue additional charges against you. 

Avoiding Tampering With Witnesses

You might inaccurately document what witnesses say, or it might end up perceived this way. If inconsistencies exist between what a witness said and what you argue they said, you might be viewed by the prosecution as modifying your story.

Contact a Knowledgeable Massachusetts Sex Crime Attorney

If you or a loved one has been charged with a sex crime in Massachusetts, you can end up facing serious repercussions even if you are not later convicted of the offense. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation. 

Important Massachusetts K9 Laws You Should Understand

Two men in September 2021 were arrested in Tewksbury on charges of drug trafficking as well as various other offenses related to fentanyl and crack cocaine that were found in their motor vehicle. Law enforcement responded to reports of a suspicious motor vehicle parked in the Walmart parking lot and commented that both driver and passenger appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Law enforcement also reports that items appearing to be drug paraphernalia were in plain sight. 

While investigating the incident, law enforcement states that one of the men tried to run away but that he later ended up in custody. A K9 unit then performed a search, which led to the discovery of 14 grams of fentanyl and the arrest of the second individual. Both men who were charged with offenses were later due in District Court for drug tracking offenses involving over 10 grams as well as possession of crack cocaine and possession of counterfeit notes. One of the suspects also faces an additional charge for operating under the influence of drugs. 

Law enforcement has utilized K9 forces for several years in detecting the presence of drugs. Our lawyers understand the complex law related to drug searches, including those involving K9 forces.

Carey v. Commissioner of Corrections

This case involved the department of correction’s decision to implement a policy that subjected visitors to correctional facilities who are not lawyers due to searches by K9 forces. The court in this case found that this policy was not inconsistent with the department's regulations but that the department failed to adhere to Administrative Procedure Act requirements. The case was then remanded to Massachusetts Superior Court for entry of a judgment declaring that the department was required to (although it had not) meet the requirements of the Act when it adopted the regulation. The court found that the Act did not conflict with existing department regulations. 

Lesson learned: The police can conduct K9 searches of people who visit Massachusetts correctional facilities.

Commonwealth v. Lawson

A defendant’s motion to suppress marijuana that was found in his vehicle lies at the heart of this case. Massachusetts lower court found that there was no justification for a search for narcotics or to search a vehicle with a K9 force. The Massachusetts Appellate Court disagreed with this decision, though. The Appellate Court found that where the defendant was unable to show a valid driver’s license as well as demonstrated nervous behavior, had a prior drug distribution record, had a vehicle equipped with multiple air fresheners, and possessed a large amount of cash, sufficient reasons existed to search the vehicle with or without a K9 force. 

Lessons: Where sufficient reason exists, law enforcement can decide to use a K9 force to inspect your vehicle. 

Contact a Drug Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one is faced with a drug-related criminal offense, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact attorney Edward R. Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

What You Need to Know About Massachusetts Prostitution Sting Charges

 

A man in Johnston was recently arrested and charged during a sting operation. The man was charged with felony human trafficking following his arrest inside of a Rockland hotel room. Law enforcement posted an online ad for sex and a female officer went undercover as an escort. The man subsequently made contact with the undercover officer, and agreed to meet her at a hotel room to pay her $100 for sex. 

The man specifically asked the officer if she was “working for herself,” according to the police report. The man later arrived at the hotel driving a Santa Fe with Rhode Island plates. The man was provided with a room number, and was arrested when he knocked on the door. Four other individuals were also taken into custody during the sting operation and were arraigned in Hingham District Court. Each of the men was charged with one count of trafficking an individual for sexual servitude. The man pleaded guilty and was released from custody to await sentencing.  

How Sting Operations Work

Law enforcement often relies on online tools to make prostitution arrests. Police officers will likely create ads on sites like Backpage or Craigslist. When someone responds to the ad, the responses are recorded and the responder can often be convinced to meet in real life. 

Various Behaviors Can Increase Your Likelihood of Arrest

Sex crimes carry serious legal penalties and can damage every other aspect of your life. One of the best ways to avoid charges is to follow some simple advice:

  • Avoid saying anything that might be construed as incriminating via phone, text, or online 

  • Never visit a location with the expectation that you will be able to pay for sexual acts

  • Under no circumstance agree to render payment in exchange for the services of a sexual act 

  • Stay away from sites like BackPages or Craigslist that advertise arrangements of this kind 

Understand the Defense of Entrapment

Entrapment can be used to defend against sting operations that involve sexually-related charges. Entrapment occurs when law enforcement or other authorities convince an individual to engage in a criminal act that the individual otherwise would not have performed. Law enforcement, however, can offer the exchange of sexual services to see how a person responds. 

Do Not Hesitate to Speak With a Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

Even if you are not convicted of the sex crime with which you are charged, the impact on your life can be devastating. If you or a loved one is facing a sex crime charge, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact attorney Edward R Molari today to schedule a free case evaluation.

 

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