Posts tagged "1101516"

Commonwealth v. Firmin (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-015-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   14-P-1873                                       Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  KRISTIE L. FIRMIN. No. 14-P-1873. Middlesex.     November 6, 2015. – February 10, 2016.   Present:  Katzmann, Milkey, & Carhart, JJ. Constitutional Law, Jury.  Jury and Jurors.  Practice, Criminal, Instructions to jury.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Framingham Division of the District Court Department on February 29, 2012.   The case was tried before Douglas W. Stoddart, J.     Jin-Ho King for the defendant. Charles Koech, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.      CARHART, J.  The defendant appeals from her conviction by a District Court jury of operating under the influence of alcohol, second offense, G. L. c. 90, § 24(1)(a)(1), on the basis that the trial judge gave a coercive jury instruction.[1]  We agree.[2] Background.  In the early morning hours of February 29, 2012, a Framingham police officer stopped a vehicle he had been following after he observed it making some erratic movements.  The officer determined that the defendant was driving, and that she was under the influence of alcohol.  The defendant was arrested and tried for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. After closing arguments and following his general instructions on the law, the trial judge stated: “If I can give you some helpful hints — because we do this every day — it’s not fun or easy to be a juror, we know that.  So, to the extent that you could create a collegial atmosphere in the room, that would be great.  So, when the door shuts, it would be very helpful if people didn’t make pronouncements, you know, ‘This is the way I’m going to vote’, because then it’s hard to extract somebody from a corner and our goal is to get a unanimous verdict.   “If we don’t get a unanimous verdict, it’s called a mistrial or a hung jury and we have to do this case all over again and we’re booked out until May now.[[3]]  So, we’d really appreciate it if you guys could resolve this.  So, I guess I would suggest that, maybe let everybody, you know, just chat informally, not take formal votes right away and then, at some point during the deliberations, if you see a ground swell of support in one direction or the other, then do whatever voting or whatever you need to do to get […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 10, 2016 at 8:00 pm

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