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Commonwealth v. Buckley (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-119-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   15-P-734                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  THOMAS E. BUCKLEY, THIRD.     No. 15-P-734.   Berkshire.     June 1, 2016. – September 8, 2016.   Present:  Katzmann, Meade, & Agnes, JJ.   Restitution.  Practice, Criminal, Restitution, Findings by judge.  Larceny.  Motor Vehicle, Theft.  Negligence, Economic loss, Causation, Proximate cause, Intentional conduct.  Proximate Cause.  Intentional Conduct.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Pittsfield Division of the District Court Department on July 15, 2014.   A proceeding to determine restitution was had before William A. Rota, J.     Matthew J. Koes for the defendant. Megan L. Rose, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     AGNES, J.  Victims of crime have the right to request that the sentence in a criminal case include an order that the defendant pay restitution to make up for the economic loss they suffered as a result of the defendant’s criminal conduct.[1]  “[T]he scope of restitution is limited to ‘loss or damage [that] is causally connected to the offense and bears a significant relationship to the offense.’”[2]  Commonwealth v. McIntyre, 436 Mass. 829, 835 (2002), quoting from Glaubius v. State, 688 So. 2d 913, 915 (Fla. 1997). In the present case, the defendant, Thomas E. Buckley, III, pleaded guilty to one count of larceny of a motor vehicle in violation of G. L. c. 266, § 28(a).  After a hearing, the judge ordered the defendant to pay restitution in the amount of $ 3,000 for the loss of the victim’s vehicle.  On appeal, the defendant raises two issues relating to the restitution order:  (1) whether intervening acts of negligence by third parties following the commission of the crime broke the causal chain and should relieve the defendant of the obligation to pay restitution; and (2) whether an agreement between the parties as to the approximate amount of economic loss is a sufficient basis upon which the judge may make an order of restitution.  We answer the first question “no,” and the second question “yes.”  Accordingly, we affirm. Background.  The essential facts are not in dispute.  On July 14, 2014, the defendant was in the parking lot of a grocery store when he took possession of the victim’s vehicle.  The defendant claimed that someone had paid him to move a vehicle to an automobile wrecker, and he had mistakenly taken the defendant’s vehicle.  The defendant drove the vehicle first […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 9, 2016 at 1:44 am

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