Posts tagged "1107317"

Commonwealth v. Nelson (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-073-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   16-P-808                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  RICHARD S. NELSON.     No. 16-P-808.   Middlesex.     April 10, 2017. – June 5, 2017.   Present:  Kafker, C.J., Milkey, & Desmond, JJ.     Jury and Jurors.  Practice, Criminal, Jury and jurors, Challenge to jurors.     Complaint received and sworn to in the Woburn Division of the District Court Department on February 27, 2013.   The case was tried before Stacey Fortes-White, J.     Robert L. Sheketoff for the defendant. Kristen M. Hughes, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     KAFKER, C.J.  The defendant, Richard S. Nelson, was convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor, third offense, G. L. c. 90, § 24(1)(a)(1), following a jury trial.[1]  On appeal, the defendant claims that the trial judge erred by not excusing a juror[2] for cause who indicated that he was “a little” more likely to believe the testimony of a police officer than that of other witnesses, but agreed that he would be able to “keep an open mind,” “listen to all of the facts and evidence,” and “render a fair verdict.”  Although the defendant eventually exhausted all of his peremptory challenges, he did not use one of his then-remaining peremptory challenges on this juror or ask for additional peremptory challenges, and stated that he was content with the jury on which the juror sat.  We affirm, concluding that the judge did not abuse her discretion.  We also provide some additional guidance regarding the follow-up questioning of the challenged juror. Background.  At the beginning of jury empanelment, the judge reminded the parties that they each had two peremptory challenges[3] and needed to voice their objections to any jurors before the jury was sworn.  The judge then directed a series of questions to the venire to probe their ability to be impartial.  The judge asked whether any juror would be “more inclined to believe the testimony of a police officer over someone who is not a police officer solely because that individual is a police officer.”  Four jurors, including juror number (no.) fourteen, raised their hands.[4]  During the questioning of juror no. fourteen, the judge asked whether he would “give greater weight to the testimony of a police officer.”  Juror no. fourteen responded that he would, “[b]y a little.”  The judge then interjected, “[W]hat we’re trying to get here […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 5, 2017 at 2:20 pm

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