Posts tagged "1010314"

Commonwealth v. Morse (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-103-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11433   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  STEVEN J. MORSE.       Hampshire.     February 3, 2014.  ‑  June 13, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.       Homicide.  Misleading a Police Officer.  Vessel, Homicide.  Evidence, Intent.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on December 7, 2010, and July 19, 2011.   The cases were tried before Daniel A. Ford, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Merritt Schnipper for the defendant. Thomas H. Townsend, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Linda J. Thompson, for Committee for Public Counsel Services, amicus curiae, submitted a brief. Monica R. Shah, for Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.       LENK, J.  The defendant was piloting a motorboat in the late afternoon of August 17, 2010, when it struck a kayak.[1]  Ten year old Augustus Adamopoulos, who was in the kayak fishing with his father, died as a result of the collision; his father sustained serious injuries.  The defendant was charged with manslaughter, G. L. c. 265, § 13; serious bodily injury and homicide by vessel, G. L. c. 90B, §§ 8A, 8B; and three counts of child endangerment while operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, G. L. c. 90, § 24V. In an interview with police following the collision, the defendant admitted to having drunk beer before operating the boat, but responded negatively to the question whether he had “consume[d] any other, you know, substances that could’ve impaired [his] ability to, you know, be aware of what was going on around [him].”  Because police later discovered that the defendant had smoked marijuana before the collision, the defendant also was charged, under the witness intimidation statute, G. L. c. 268, § 13B (§ 13B), with misleading a police officer.  Evidence of his negative response to the question was admitted against him at trial; the jury were instructed to consider such evidence only in relation to the § 13B misleading charge.  A Superior Court jury convicted the defendant of misleading a police officer and misdemeanor homicide by vessel, and acquitted him of the other charges.  The defendant appealed, and we granted his application for direct appellate review. The defendant challenges the validity of both convictions.  He argues that his conviction of misleading a police officer should be reversed because […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 13, 2014 at 10:52 pm

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