Posts tagged "1016614"

Commonwealth v. Howard (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-166-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-11128   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  CLYDE HOWARD.       Middlesex.    February 7, 2014. – October 2, 2014.   Present:  Spina, Botsford, Gants, & Lenk, JJ.   Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Waiver of constitutional rights, Harmless error.  Waiver.  Error, Harmless.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Prior misconduct, Argument by prosecutor, Intoxication.  Practice, Criminal, Motion to suppress, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Waiver, Harmless error, Argument by prosecutor, Instructions to jury.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on March 19, 2009.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Wendie I. Gershengorn, J., and the cases were tried before her.     Robert F. Shaw, Jr., for the defendant. Jamie M. Charles, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     BOTSFORD, J.  A Superior Court jury found the defendant, Clyde Howard, guilty of murder in the first degree on theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty.[1]  The defendant appeals his conviction, arguing that:  (1) the motion judge erred in denying his pretrial motion to suppress statements that he made to police both on the day of his arrest and on the following day during an interview with police;(2) the Commonwealth impermissibly focused on prior bad acts and character evidence during trial; (3) statements made by the prosecutor during his closing argument prejudiced the defendant and warrant a new trial; and (4) the jury instructions on mental impairment and the voluntariness of the defendant’s statements were erroneous and warrant reversal of his convictions.  Pursuant to our review of the entire case under G. L. c. 278, § 33E, we conclude that the erroneous admission of portions of the defendant’s statement to the police, combined with other errors, require reversal of the defendant’s conviction of murder in the first degree.  On remand, at the Commonwealth’s option, a verdict of murder in the second degree may be entered in lieu of a new trial on the first degree murder indictment. 1.  Background.  We recite the facts as the jury could have found them, reserving other facts for later discussion.  On the morning of January 28, 2009, the victim, Maurice Ricketts, was shot in the head and killed while at his job at Baystate Pool Supplies (Baystate), a pool supply distributor located in Cambridge.  He was shot by the defendant, who worked at […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 2, 2014 at 5:09 pm

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