Posts tagged "1009816"

Commonwealth v. Almele (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-098-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11915   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MARWAN M. ALMELE.     July 12, 2016.     Controlled Substances.  Evidence, Expert opinion.  Witness, Expert.  Practice, Criminal, Objection, Motion in limine, Striking of testimony.     A jury in the District Court convicted the defendant of possession of a class B controlled substance, in violation of G. L. c. 94C, § 34; and possession of class B and C controlled substances with intent to distribute, in violation of G. L. c. 94C, §§ 32A (a) and 32B (a), respectively.  The Appeals Court affirmed the convictions, see Commonwealth v. Almele, 87 Mass. App. Ct. 218 (2015), and we allowed the defendant’s application for further appellate review.   Prior to the start of the trial, the Commonwealth filed a motion in limine seeking to introduce the opinion testimony of a police officer, Lieutenant Dennis Ledo, as an expert witness.  The defendant objected to allowing Ledo to testify on the basis that the “expert opinion” that Ledo would offer was within the jury’s common knowledge, and that any such testimony would be more prejudicial than probative.  At the conclusion of the voir dire hearing on the motion, the judge ruled that he would allow Ledo to testify as an expert.  The judge then noted “for the record” the defendant’s objection for “the reasons as stated [by the defendant] plus any other reasons” and further stated that he was “preserving” the defendant’s objection “even during the trial . . . so, we don’t get into that situation where the Appellate Court reviews . . . [under] a heightened standard because there was no objection.”   At trial, the prosecutor initially asked Ledo, hypothetically and on the basis of his training and experience, what significance it would have to him if a person had in his or her possession a certain quantity of prescription drugs packaged in a specific way.  The defendant objected.  The judge noted the objection and then gave the jury a detailed explanation of expert testimony, its purpose, and how the jury might consider that testimony.  The prosecutor then resumed questioning Ledo, and again asked for his opinion.  Ledo responded that his “opinion was that the . . . drugs that were found on the [d]efendant were intended for distribution.”  Although the defendant objected to the initial question from the prosecutor that led to this testimony, he did not move to strike Ledo’s […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 12, 2016 at 6:48 pm

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