Posts tagged "1013317"

Commonwealth v. Santana (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-133-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12039   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  CESAR SANTANA.       Essex.     January 10, 2017. – August 17, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, & Gaziano, JJ.     Homicide.  Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Hearsay, Expert opinion.  Witness, Expert.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Motion to suppress, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Mistrial, Argument by prosecutor, Plea.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on December 12, 2008.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence, filed on June 8, 2009, and amended October 3, 2011, was heard by Kimberly S. Budd, J.; a second pretrial motion to suppress evidence, filed on April 12, 2012, was heard by Howard J. Whitehead, J.; a third pretrial motion to suppress evidence, filed on June 4, 2013, was heard by Richard E. Welch, III, J.; and the cases were tried before David A. Lowy, J.     Elizabeth Caddick for the defendant. Kenneth E. Steinfield, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.          HINES, J.  In January, 2014, a Superior Court jury convicted the defendant, Cesar Santana, of murder in the first degree of Rafael Castro, on the theories of extreme atrocity or cruelty, and felony-murder with home invasion and armed burglary, assault on occupant as the predicate felonies.  On appeal, the defendant asserts error in (1) the denial of his motion to suppress statements; (2) the admission of hearsay testimony from various witnesses; (3) the denial of a requested DiGiambattista jury instruction; (4) the denial of the motion for a mistrial following the jury’s exposure to inadmissible evidence; and (5) certain improper statements made in the prosecutor’s closing argument.  The defendant also requests that we exercise our authority pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E, to reduce the murder conviction or to order a new trial.  We affirm the defendant’s convictions and decline to grant relief under G. L. c. 278, § 33E. Background.  1.  The murder.  We summarize the facts the jury could have found, reserving certain details for our discussion of the alleged errors.  On the night of August 25, 2004, Norma Cedeno and her stepfather, Rafael Castro, were attacked by a group of men as the two entered Castro’s Lawrence apartment.[1] Cedeno, who entered the apartment first and did not turn on any lights, walked to the bathroom, where she […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 18, 2017 at 9:21 am

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