Posts tagged "1001713"

Commonwealth v. Morales (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-017-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11084   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ARCANGEL MORALES.     Essex.     October 1, 2012.  ‑  February 7, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       Homicide.  Self‑Defense.  Evidence, Self‑defense, Prior violent conduct, Reputation, Relevancy and materiality.  Practice, Criminal, Instructions to jury.  Notice.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on November 20, 2002.   The case was tried before Howard J. Whitehead, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Richard B. Klibaner for the defendant. Catherine Langevin Semel, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.       BOTSFORD, J.  The defendant, Arcangel Morales, appeals from his conviction of manslaughter.  The principal question before us concerns the rule adopted by this court in Commonwealth v. Adjutant, 443 Mass. 649 (2005) (Adjutant).  The question is this:  during a trial where the defendant raises a claim of self-defense and, pursuant to Adjutant, has been permitted to introduce evidence of the victim’s prior violent acts on the issue of the identity of the first aggressor, may the Commonwealth introduce evidence of the defendant’s prior violent acts on that same issue — to be followed by an instruction that the jury may consider the evidence of both parties’ violent acts on the findings of who was the first aggressor?  We answer the question “Yes,” provided that the Commonwealth gives the defendant notice appropriately in advance of its intent to introduce such evidence and the trial judge determines that introduction of such evidence is more probative of its intended purpose than prejudicial to the defendant. 1.  Background.  a.  Prior proceedings.  On September 26, 2002, the defendant was involved in a confrontation that culminated in his stabbing Michael Carey, the victim, with a knife and inflicting wounds from which the victim died.  Thereafter, the defendant was indicted on a charge of murder in the first degree and a separate charge of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon against Leola Thomas; this second charge related to an incident that had occurred on September 22, 2002.  The defendant was tried in the Superior Court in the spring of 2004.  The jury convicted him of murder in the second degree and found him not guilty of the assault and battery charge.  The defendant appealed, and the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 7, 2013 at 10:02 pm

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