Posts tagged "1019015"

Commonwealth v. Garrett (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-190-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11852   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  RAHEEM B. GARRETT.       Berkshire.     September 8, 2015. – November 25, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Robbery.  Firearms.  Evidence, Firearm, Exculpatory.  Practice, Criminal, Indictment, Instructions to jury, Assistance of counsel, Lesser included offense.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on December 16, 2011.   The cases were tried before John A. Agostini, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Michael J. Hickson for the defendant. John P. Bossé, Special Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     DUFFLY, J.  The defendant was convicted by a Superior Court jury on three indictments charging armed robbery with a firearm while masked, in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 17, the armed robbery statute.[1]  To prove that the defendant was armed with a “firearm,” the Commonwealth relied on evidence that the defendant used a BB gun to perpetrate each of the robberies.  The defendant appealed from his convictions, and we allowed the Commonwealth’s petition for direct appellate review.  The defendant contends that the evidence was insufficient to support his convictions because a BB gun is not a “firearm” within the meaning of the armed robbery statute.  The defendant maintains also that the indictments were facially invalid, certain errors in the jury instructions require reversal, and his trial counsel provided constitutionally ineffective assistance in several respects. Because we conclude that a BB gun does not satisfy the statutory requirement of a “firearm” within the meaning of G. L. c. 265, § 17, the defendant’s convictions of armed robbery by means of a firearm cannot stand.  Accordingly, those convictions must be vacated, and the matter remanded to the Superior Court for entry of judgments of guilt on the lesser included offense of unarmed robbery. Background.  We recite the facts the jury could have found, reserving certain facts for later discussion of individual issues.  In 2011, the defendant was experiencing financial difficulties after he and his then live-in girl friend, Laura Methe, lost their jobs and were unable to find new employment.  In an effort to improve their financial circumstances, the defendant and Methe robbed stores in the city of Pittsfield.  To commit the robberies, the defendant used a BB gun that he and Methe had purchased for that purpose at a […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 25, 2015 at 9:53 pm

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