My name is Joe Bernard. I have practiced in Hampden County, Springfield Massachusetts for over 20 years and reside in Belchertown, Massachusetts. I was in the District Attorney's Office for approximately four years and for the last eighteen years have been doing a great deal of criminal defense. I've tried well over three hundred cases in the Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin County Superior Courts, as well as district courts across western Massachusetts. For over twelve years I was a member of the CJA panel here in western Massachusetts.
As of late, I have focused almost exclusively on representing individuals charged with driving related offenses. I have always had an interest in the area of the area of the law and in 2012 I attended and successfully completed the certification process from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) to administer standardized field sobriety tests.
I regularly lecture and have have been actively involved with the Massachusetts Bar Association, MCLE, and other continuing legal education agencies, specifically within the area of driving under the influence. I also co-wrote a chapter concerning trial preparation for the 2007 edition of Trying OUI Cases in Massachusetts, published by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. (MCLE).
Recently, I became involved with the Melendez-Diaz challenge in Massachusetts. I represented a woman in the Appeals Court (79 Mass. App. Ct. 1129 (2011) which was one of a group of cases decided by the Supreme Judicial Court within Commonwealth v. Zeinnger 459 Mass. 775.
More recently, over the last 2 1/2 years, I have been challenging trial courts in western Massachusetts attempting to get a court order to obtain training on the Draeger 9510. I have had an ongoing dialogue with the Draeger company attempting to convince them that Massachusetts lawyers need and deserve training on this machine. As far as I know this is one of the only pieces of forensic equipment not available for viewing or purchase on the open market.
Finally, several judges in western Massachusetts agreed with my request and have issued an order to provide training for myself as an expert on the machine. This order was served upon the Office of Alcohol Testing and the state police. Subsequently, the Commonwealth appealed and challenged the order before the Supreme Judicial Court. In July 2015 the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts agreed and in Commonwealth v. Nunes ordered that Massachusetts lawyers and their experts receive training on the Draeger 9510.
I am one of the five lead lawyers in Commonwealth v. Evando Ananias et al. which is further exploring the Nunes decision and carving out new territory allowing attorneys to be able to better defend their clients in similar matters where a breath test was used.