Posts tagged "1005217"

Commonwealth v. Sanchez (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-052-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11360   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  BENJAMIN SANCHEZ.       Hampden.     December 9, 2016. – April 5, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, & Gaziano, JJ.[1]     Homicide.  Burning a Dwelling House.  Abuse Prevention.  Evidence, Expert opinion, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Witness, Expert.  Constitutional Law, Confrontation of witnesses, Waiver of constitutional rights, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Confrontation of witnesses, Waiver, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Postconviction relief.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on August 27, 2009.   The cases were tried before Peter A. Velis, J., and a motion for a new trial, filed on May 20, 2015, was considered by Mark D. Mason, J.     Elaine Pourinski for the defendant. Bethany C. Lynch, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     GAZIANO, J.  In the early morning hours of July 12, 2009, a Springfield fire department rescue squad responded to a house fire and found the body of the defendant’s estranged wife on the living room floor.  She was transported to a hospital where it was determined that she had been strangled and stabbed.  At trial, the Commonwealth relied on circumstantial evidence to prove that the defendant had entered the house, assaulted the victim, and set the building on fire.  A Superior Court jury convicted the defendant of murder in the first degree on theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty, arson of a dwelling house, and violating a G. L. c. 209A abuse prevention order. On appeal, the defendant claims that the evidence introduced at trial was insufficient to support his convictions of murder in the first degree and arson.  In addition, he raises the following claims of error:  (1) expert witnesses were allowed to testify about the substance of forensic testing results obtained by other analysts, in violation of his right to confrontation under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) his custodial statements to police were obtained without a valid Miranda waiver and were involuntary; and (3) the motion judge abused his discretion in denying the defendant’s motion for a new trial without an evidentiary hearing.  The defendant also asks that we grant him a new trial or reduce the verdicts pursuant to our authority under G. L. c. 278, § 33E.  We affirm the convictions and decline to reduce the degree of guilt […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 5, 2017 at 6:36 pm

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