Posts tagged "1015814"

Commonwealth v. Quinn (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-158-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11554 COMMONWEALTH  vs. KEVIN QUINN. Essex.     May 6, 2014. – September 11, 2014. Present:  Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.     Rape.  Practice, Criminal, Cross-examination by prosecutor.  Evidence, Cross-examination, Expert opinion, Communication with social worker, Relevancy and materiality.  Rape-Shield Statute.  Witness, Expert.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on August 29, 2007.   The cases were tried before Leila R. Kern, J.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Eric S. Brandt, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant. Catherine Langevin Semel, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     GANTS, J.  This case requires us to examine the line that separates permissible expert testimony regarding the behavioral characteristics of sexually abused children from impermissible expert testimony that implicitly vouches for the credibility of the victim witness.  Because we conclude that the prosecutor in this case, over objection, elicited expert testimony during cross-examination of the victim’s therapist that crossed that line, and because we conclude that the error was prejudicial, we vacate the defendant’s convictions and remand for a new trial. Background.  A Superior Court jury convicted the defendant on one indictment alleging forcible rape of a child under sixteen years of age and two indictments alleging indecent assault and battery of a child under the age of fourteen.[1],[2]  The Appeals Court affirmed the convictions.  Commonwealth v. Quinn, 83 Mass. App. Ct. 759 (2013).  We granted the defendant’s application for further appellate review. We summarize the evidence presented at trial.  The defendant, the boy friend of the victim’s mother, lived with the victim and her mother for approximately ten years from July, 1997, to June, 2006.  The victim testified that, in a short period of time after her seventh birthday in September, 1997, the defendant sexually abused her on three occasions.  The incidents occurred in largely the same way:  when her mother was not home in the evening, the defendant entered the victim’s playroom, grabbed her and reached under her nightgown and underwear, touched her chest, put his hands “all over [her] body,” and inserted his finger into her vagina.  In the last of these incidents, the defendant forced her hand onto his penis and moved it up and down.  She told the defendant that she was “going […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 11, 2014 at 4:42 pm

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