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Commonwealth v. Winquist (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-081-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12005   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  JAMES S. WINQUIST.       Plymouth.     March 8, 2016. – June 14, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Homicide.  Joint Enterprise.  Evidence, Hearsay, Common criminal enterprise, Joint venturer, Statement of codefendant.  Practice, Criminal, Hearsay.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on September 28, 2007.   The cases were tried before Richard J. Chin, J.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Leslie W. O’Brien for the defendant. Mary E. Lee, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     SPINA, J.  On May 9, 2005, the badly decomposed bodies of two homeless men, subsequently identified as William Chrapan and David Lyon, were discovered inside an abandoned ammunition bunker located in Bare Cove Park in Hingham.  The cause of death for each man was blunt force trauma and “semi-sharp” injuries to the head.  In addition, Chrapan was missing his right hand, which was found two months later by two men walking their dogs in Bridgewater.  The defendant, James S. Winquist, was indicted by a grand jury on September 28, 2007, on two counts of murder, G. L. c. 265, § 1.  Following a jury trial in the Superior Court in September, 2012, he was convicted of two counts of murder in the second degree.  The defendant was sentenced to concurrent terms of life in prison.  On appeal, he argued that (1) two out-of-court statements made by Eric Snow,[1] a purported joint venturer in the murders, were erroneously admitted against the defendant under the joint venture exception to the hearsay rule;[2] (2) the trial judge erred in denying his midtrial request for a hearing pursuant to Franks v. Delaware, 438 U.S. 154 (1978); (3) the prosecutor’s closing argument was improper; and (4) a key witness was incompetent to testify.  The Appeals Court affirmed the judgments.  Commonwealth v. Winquist, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 695, 696 (2015).  We granted the defendant’s application for further appellate review, limited to the issue of the admissibility of Snow’s out-of-court statements.  As to that issue, we conclude that the statements properly were admitted.[3] 1.  Background.  The facts as they could have been found by the jury are set forth in the decision of the Appeals Court.  See id. at 696-699.  […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 14, 2016 at 6:11 pm

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