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Commonwealth v. Joyce (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-141-13)

NOTICE: All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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       12‑P‑1380                                       Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  SHAWN P. JOYCE.     No. 12‑P‑1380. Essex.     September 17, 2013.  ‑  November 26, 2013. Present:  Kafker, Trainor, & Maldonado, JJ.       Arrest.  Resisting Arrest.  Evidence, Intent.  Intent.  Wilful, Wanton, or Reckless Conduct.  Fire Fighter.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Newburyport Division of the District Court Department on April 13, 2011.   The case was heard by Michael A. Uhlarik, J.     Leslie B. Salter for the defendant. Paul C. Wagoner, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.       KAFKER, J.  After shouting obscenities at the fire chief and police officers responding to a fire at his home, ignoring their orders, and wrestling with them inside the burning building, the defendant, Shawn P. Joyce, was convicted of wilfully interfering with a fire fighter in the performance of his duty, see G. L. c. 268, § 32A, and resisting arrest, see G. L. c. 268, § 32B.  He argues on appeal that there was insufficient evidence for the judge to find him guilty of either offense.  We affirm. Background.  The evidence at the bench trial was as follows.  At about 8:00 P.M. on April 12, 2011, neighbors discovered a fire at 69 Pearson Drive in the Byfield section of Newbury, where the defendant lived with his mother, his dog, and several “feral” cats.  The blaze already had engulfed at least one side of the home, and flames were rising fifty feet high.  After telephoning 911, two neighbors, one of whom was a nurse, ran to the house, calling out to determine whether the defendant and his mother were safe.  These neighbors found the defendant and his mother outside the house and witnessed him cursing and pounding the trunk of his car.  When the neighbors managed to attract the defendant’s attention, he shouted threats and profanity at them and chased them off the property.   Shortly thereafter, Newbury police Officer Stephen Smith arrived at the burning home.[1]  As Smith walked up the driveway, the defendant briskly approached him and began swearing at him and blaming him for a number of misfortunes, including the likely death of family pets in the fire.  Observing that the defendant was out of control, Smith ordered him to stay back.  The defendant responded by continuing to shout obscenities and by walking back toward the house.  Despite the […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 26, 2013 at 6:57 pm

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