Posts tagged "1000517"

Commonwealth v. Martinez (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-005-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11657   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  RAFAEL MARTINEZ.       Essex.     September 9, 2016. – January 5, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Homicide.  Evidence, Videotape, Relevancy and materiality, Inflammatory evidence, Consciousness of guilt.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Redaction, Voir dire, Opening statement, Argument by prosecutor.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on June 29, 2011.   The case was tried before Timothy Q. Feeley, J.     Amy M. Belger for the defendant. Kenneth E. Steinfield, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     GAZIANO, J.  The victim, Timothy Walker, was shot while seated and talking with two friends on the porch of his grandmother’s house in the Tower Hill section of Lawrence.  Despite two eyewitnesses, and surveillance video recordings of the incident obtained from nearby businesses, police were unable to identify a suspect.  Nine months after the victim’s death, a local television station featured the shooting in an “unsolved crime” series news broadcast that included portions of the surveillance footage showing the suspect, whose face was not discernable.  The defendant watched the news broadcast with his girl friend’s mother and told her that he had been the shooter.  At the defendant’s trial, the Superior Court judge allowed the admission in evidence, over the defendant’s objection, of a redacted version of the news broadcast.  The jury convicted the defendant of murder in the first degree on a theory of deliberate premeditation. On appeal, the defendant’s principal argument is that the news broadcast should not have been admitted in evidence, or, alternatively, that it should have been more heavily redacted, because much of it was irrelevant, inflammatory, and highly prejudicial.  The defendant also claims error in certain aspects of the judge’s conduct of the voir dire of the venire and two of the judge’s evidentiary rulings.  Finally, the defendant contends that several statements in the prosecutor’s opening statement and closing argument were improper. We conclude that there was no abuse of discretion in the judge’s decision to allow admission of the news broadcast, and no error requiring reversal in the defendant’s other challenges.  Having carefully examined the record pursuant to our duty under G. L. c. 278, § 33E, we discern no reason to order a new trial or to reduce the degree of guilt.  We therefore affirm the defendant’s conviction. Facts.  […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 5, 2017 at 5:38 pm

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