Posts tagged "1000115"

Commonwealth v. St. Hilaire (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-001-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11566   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  DAVID ST. HILAIRE. Middlesex.     September 4, 2014. – January 2, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Larceny.  Consent.  Mental Impairment.  Intent.  Evidence, Intent.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on January 18, 2011.   The case was heard by Mitchell H. Kaplan, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Steven J. Rappaport for the defendant. Melissa Weisgold Johnsen, Assistant District Attorney (David Solet, Assistant District Attorney, with her) for the Commonwealth.     HINES, J.  Following a jury-waived trial, a Superior Court judge found the defendant guilty of larceny from a person sixty years of age or older in violation of G. L. c. 266, § 30 (5).[1]  The charges arose from a real estate transaction in which Erika Magill, the victim, sold her property to the defendant.  At the time of the transaction, the victim was an eighty-six year old widowed nursing home resident.  The defendant’s appeal claiming error in the judge’s denial of his motion for a required finding of not guilty was entered in the Appeals Court, and we transferred the case to this court on our own motion to consider whether, as the judge ruled, the crime of larceny may be proved by evidence that (1) the victim lacked the mental capacity to understand the transaction she entered into with the defendant; and (2) the defendant knew or should have known that she lacked such capacity.  We conclude that the “unlawful taking” element of the crime of larceny by theft may be proved by evidence that the victim lacked the mental capacity to consent to a taking of her property, but that the “specific intent to steal” element requires proof that the defendant knew that the victim lacked capacity to give such consent.  Because the judge may have applied an erroneous legal standard for proof of the specific intent to steal, we vacate the conviction and remand for a new trial.[2] Background.  Taken in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, Commonwealth v. Latimore, 378 Mass. 671, 676-677 (1979), the judge could have found the following facts.  The victim lived alone in her home in Lowell.  She and her late husband owned the home, and she lived there for […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 5, 2015 at 2:57 am

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