Posts tagged "1001218"

Commonwealth v. McGonagle (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-012-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-12292   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  SHAWN A. McGONAGLE.       Suffolk.     October 5, 2017. – January 18, 2018.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.     Constitutional Law, Sentence, Cruel and unusual punishment.  Due Process of Law, Sentence.  Practice, Criminal, Sentence.       Complaint received and sworn to in the West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department on April 3, 2015.   The case was tried before Paul J. McManus, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Max Bauer for the defendant. Cailin M. Campbell, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     LOWY, J.  General Laws c. 258B, § 3 (p), permits “victims . . . to be heard through an oral and written victim impact statement at sentencing . . . about the effects of the crime on the victim and as to a recommended sentence.”[1]  We transferred this case here on our own motion to answer two questions:  first, whether the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in Bosse v. Oklahoma, 137 S. Ct. 1 (2016) (per curiam), precludes a sentencing judge from considering victim impact statements “as to a recommended sentence” under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and art. 26 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights; and second, whether the sentencing recommendation provision violates the defendant’s constitutional guarantee of due process.  We conclude that a sentencing judge’s consideration of victim impact statements “as to a recommended sentence” is constitutional because the concerns underpinning the Supreme Court’s treatment of victim impact statements before a jury during the sentencing phase of a capital murder trial differ from those at issue here.  We further conclude that a victim’s right to recommend a sentence pursuant to G. L. c. 258B, § 3 (p), satisfies the requirements of due process.  We therefore answer both questions in the negative and affirm. Background and prior proceedings.  Following a trial in the District Court, a jury convicted the defendant, Shawn McGonagle, of assault and battery, G. L. c. 265, § 13A.  At the defendant’s sentencing hearing, the Commonwealth requested that the defendant be sentenced to two and one-half years in a house of correction, the maximum possible sentence under the statute, to be served from and after his release on an unrelated one-year sentence for violating an abuse prevention order.  Immediately after the Commonwealth’s recommendation, the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - January 18, 2018 at 3:17 pm

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