Posts tagged "1001918"

Commonwealth v. Newton N., a juvenile (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-019-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12354   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  NEWTON N., a juvenile.       Berkshire.     November 7, 2017. – February 5, 2018.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.     Delinquent Child.  Probable Cause.  Insanity.  Mental Impairment.  Juvenile Court, Delinquent child.  Practice, Criminal, Juvenile delinquency proceeding, Complaint, Arraignment, Dismissal.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Berkshire County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on June 2, 2016.   A motion to dismiss was heard by Judith A. Locke, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Kyle G. Christensen, Assistant District Attorney (Joseph A. Pieropan, Assistant District Attorney, also present) for the Commonwealth. Laura Chrismer Edmonds for the juvenile. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Miriam H. Ruttenberg, Jennifer Honig, & Phillip Kassel for Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee & others. Ryan M. Schiff, Committee for Public Counsel Services, & Joseph N. Schneiderman for Youth Advocacy Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. Daniel F. Conley, District Attorney for the Suffolk District, & John P. Zanini, Assistant District Attorney, for District Attorney for the Suffolk District.     GANTS, C.J.  This case presents two important issues relevant to a Juvenile Court judge’s consideration of a prearraignment motion to dismiss a delinquency complaint.  First, we hold that a judge, in weighing whether the information contained within the “four corners” of the complaint application and related exhibits constitutes probable cause, may not consider whether a juvenile was criminally responsible for the charged offenses or whether the juvenile’s mental impairment rendered the juvenile incapable of having the requisite criminal intent.  Second, we hold that, where a prosecutor exercises his or her discretion to proceed to arraignment on a delinquency complaint supported by probable cause, the judge may not dismiss the complaint before arraignment on the grounds that dismissal of the complaint is in the best interests of the child and in the interests of justice.  Because the judge in this case dismissed the delinquency complaint before arraignment where the complaint was supported by probable cause and where the prosecutor wished to proceed to arraignment, we vacate the dismissal and remand the case to the Juvenile Court.[1] Background.  On May 25, 2016, a police officer applied for and obtained a delinquency complaint from a clerk-magistrate, charging the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 6, 2018 at 2:56 am

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