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Commonwealth v. Magadini (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-089-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11874   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  DAVID MAGADINI.       Berkshire.     December 7, 2015. – June 23, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Trespass.  Necessity.  Practice, Criminal, Request for jury instructions.  Evidence, Cross-examination, Relevancy and materiality, Bias of government witness.       Complaints received and sworn to in the Southern Berkshire Division of the District Court Department on April 8, April 9, and July 8, 2014.   The cases were tried before Fredric D. Rutberg, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Joseph N. Schneiderman for the defendant. Jessie J. Rossman (Matthew Segal with her) for American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts & others. John Bossé, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     HINES, J.  The defendant, David Magadini, was convicted by jury on seven counts of criminal trespass, each based on the defendant’s presence, in 2014, in privately-owned buildings where he was the subject of no trespass orders.[1]  Five incidents occurred between February and March, the sixth occurred on April 8, and the seventh occurred on June 10.  Before trial and during the charge conference, the defendant requested a jury instruction on the defense of necessity, asserting that his conduct was justified as the only lawful alternative for a homeless person facing the “clear and imminent danger” of exposure to the elements during periods of extreme outdoor temperatures.  The judge denied the request, concluding that the defendant had legal alternatives to trespassing available.  As to each conviction, the judge imposed concurrent sentences of thirty days in a house of correction.  A single justice of the Appeals Court stayed the sentences pending resolution of this appeal.  We granted the defendant’s application for direct appellate review. On appeal, the defendant asserts the following errors at trial:  (1) denial of his request for an instruction on the defense of necessity; (2) limitation of his cross-examination of witnesses; (3) misstatements made by the prosecutor during closing argument; and (4) denial of his motion for a required finding of not guilty on the charge stemming from the April 8 incident.[2]  We conclude that the judge erred in denying the defendant’s request for an instruction on the defense of necessity as to the six trespassing charges related to the incidents from February through April, 2014,[3] and that the […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 23, 2016 at 4:52 pm

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