Posts tagged "1015417"

Commonwealth v. Rakes (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-154-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-10046   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  JAMES M. RAKES.       Norfolk.  April 7, 2017. – September 29, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Gaziano, Budd, & Cypher, JJ.     Homicide.  Joint Enterprise.  Grand Jury.  Evidence, Grand jury proceedings, Exculpatory, Prior misconduct, Joint venturer, Hearsay, Statement of codefendant, Criminal records, Prison record.  Criminal Records.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Indictment, Grand jury proceedings, Fair trial, Argument by prosecutor, Instructions to jury.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on April 1, 2002.   A motion to dismiss was heard by John C. Cratsley, J.; the cases were tried before Judith Fabricant, J., and a motion for a new trial, filed on November 6, 2013, was heard by her.     Alan Jay Black for the defendant. Tracey A. Cusick, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     LENK, J.  In the summer of 1987, Jay B. Schlosser and his girl friend, Heather Buchannan, were shot and killed in the Westwood home they shared with John D. Sweeney.  In 2005, the defendant was convicted by a Superior Court jury as a joint venturer on two counts of murder in the first degree on the theories of felony murder, deliberate premeditation, and extreme atrocity or cruelty.  His coventurer, James P. Ridge, had been tried separately at an earlier trial and had been convicted of the victims’ murders.[1] The defendant appeals from his convictions and from the subsequent denial of his motion for a new trial.  He maintains that the indictments should have been dismissed because the evidence supporting them was insufficient and because the Commonwealth’s presentation impaired the integrity of the grand jury by failing to disclose exculpatory evidence, introducing prior bad acts, and commenting on the defendant’s invocation of his right to remain silent.  As to the trial, the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence and claims structural error and ineffective assistance of counsel in connection with a purported court room closure during jury selection.  He also asserts error in the admission of certain hearsay evidence concerning the joint venture, in the prosecutor’s closing, and in the jury instructions on reasonable doubt.  He requests relief under G. L. c. 278, § 33E.  We affirm the convictions and the order denying the motion for a new trial, and, after careful review of the record, decline to set aside the verdicts or […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 30, 2017 at 12:35 am

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