Posts tagged "1012517"

Commonwealth v. James (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-125-17)

NOTICE: All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12196   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  STEVEN JAMES.       Suffolk.     March 6, 2017. – August 1, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Postconviction relief.       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on February 9, 2016.   The case was reported by Hines, J.     Rosemary Curran Scapicchio (Dennis M. Toomey also present) for the defendant. Mary E. Lee, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     HINES, J.  The narrow question before us, here on a reservation and report from a single justice of the county court, is whether a juvenile who has been convicted of murder in the first degree, and whose conviction has been affirmed by this court after plenary review, is thereafter subject to the gatekeeper provision of G. L. c. 278, § 33E.  We conclude that the gatekeeper provision applies.  The case should now proceed in the county court as a gatekeeper matter. Background.  The defendant, Steven James, was convicted in 1995 of murder in the first degree on a theory of extreme atrocity or cruelty.  He was sentenced to a mandatory term of life without the possibility of parole, pursuant to G. L. c. 265, § 2, as amended through St. 1982, c. 554, § 3.  See Commonwealth v. James, 427 Mass. 312, 313, 318 (1998).  He was seventeen years old when the killing occurred in 1994, id. at 315, and under the law at that time was considered an adult for purposes of the criminal proceedings.  See Watts v. Commonwealth, 468 Mass. 49, 50-51 (2014).  On appeal, this court “reviewed the entire record and conclude[d] that relief pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E, [was] not warranted,” and affirmed James’s conviction.  James, supra at 318. In 2013, James filed a motion for a new trial in the Superior Court, with multiple subsequent supplements.  A judge other than the trial judge, who had since retired, held a nonevidentiary hearing and denied the motion.  However, because James was under the age of eighteen at the time of the killing, he was resentenced to life with the possibility of parole.  See Diatchenko v. District Attorney for the Suffolk Dist., 466 Mass. 655, 658 (2013), S.C., 471 Mass. 12 (2015) (“imposition of a sentence of life in prison without […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 1, 2017 at 11:46 pm

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