Posts tagged "1111714"

Commonwealth v. Riley (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-117-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   13-P-560                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MICHAEL RILEY. No. 13-P-560. Norfolk.     April 4, 2014. – September 19, 2014.   Present:  Graham, Wolohojian, & Milkey, JJ. Constitutional Law, Public trial.  Practice, Criminal, Public trial, New trial.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on September 7, 2005.   The case was tried before Barbara A. Dortch-Okara, J., and a motion for a new trial was considered by her.   Following review by this court, 77 Mass. App. Ct. 1102 (2010), a motion for a new trial was heard by Kenneth J. Fishman, J.     Joanne T. Petito for the defendant. Tracey A. Cusick, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.      WOLOHOJIAN, J.  The defendant appeals from the denial of his motion for new trial, contending that his right to a public trial under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution was violated when a court officer prevented the defendant’s sister from entering the courtroom because “the lawyers were talking to the judge.”  This occurred on the morning of the first day of trial — but before the trial began.  The motion judge found that the sister was turned away when the court was not in session.  Although the parties have asked us to determine whether the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right was violated in the circumstances presented, we need not reach that question because we determine that, even were we to assume the defendant’s right was infringed, he has not shown that he is entitled to a new trial.  We accordingly affirm. The motion judge, after an evidentiary hearing,[1] made the following written findings. “The defendant’s case was called for trial on November 13, 2007.  The defendant’s sister Ayges, arrived at Dedham Superior Court at around 9:00 a.m. on the first day of her brother’s trial.  Ayges went through court security and was directed to the courtroom where her brother’s trial was to take place.  When she approached the courtroom, Ayges observed that the courtroom door was open.  She saw many people waiting outside of the courtroom, including one person she recognized as the victim’s grandmother.  When Ayges peered into the courtroom, she saw her brother, the defendant, and lawyers standing next to the bench, talking to the judge.  She did not see anyone else in the courtroom; it was otherwise empty.[[2]]  Accordingly, the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm

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