Posts tagged "1007517"

Commonwealth v. Rosario (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-075-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-12115   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  VICTOR ROSARIO.       Middlesex.     November 8, 2016. – May 11, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.[1]     Burning a Dwelling House.  Homicide.  Fire.  Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Practice, Criminal, New trial, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on June 30, 1982.   A motion for a new trial, filed on October 19, 2012, was heard by Kathe M. Tuttman, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Jessica Langsam, Assistant District Attorney (Thomas F. O’Reilly, Assistant District Attorney, also present) for the Commonwealth. Lisa M. Kavanaugh, Committee for Public Counsel Services (Andrea Petersen also present) for the defendant. Chris Fabricant, Karen Newirth, James C. Dugan, Vincent P. Iannece, Lara S. Kasten, & Kathryn J. Ranieri, of New York, Stephanie Roberts Hartung, & Sharon L. Beckman, for New England Innocence Project and others, amici curiae, submitted a brief.          BUDD, J.  The defendant, Victor Rosario, was convicted in 1983 of one count of arson in a dwelling house and eight counts of murder in the second degree; all the charges stem from a fire that occurred in 1982.  In 2012, the defendant filed the motion for a new trial at issue here,  arguing principally that newly discovered evidence regarding fire science and the conditions under which he confessed to the crime warranted a new trial.  Following an evidentiary hearing, a Superior Court judge who was not the trial judge allowed the motion, ruling that the defendant had presented newly discovered evidence, which cast real doubt on the justice of his convictions.  The Commonwealth appealed.  We allowed the defendant’s application for direct appellate review, and we affirm the order allowing the defendant’s motion for a new trial, but on different grounds.[2] Background.  1.  Evidence presented at trial.  We summarize relevant evidence introduced at trial.  The fire started on the first floor of a multi-unit apartment building in Lowell, and was accompanied by the sound of breaking glass.  The first telephone call to 911 was placed shortly after 1 A.M. on March 5, 1982.  Police officers arrived, minutes later, to find the building “fully engulfed in flames.”  It took […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 11, 2017 at 8:25 pm

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