Posts tagged "1114813"

Commonwealth v. Hunt (and three companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-148-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;     12‑P‑544                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  SHAWN HUNT (and three companion cases[1]). No. 12‑P‑544. Bristol.     April 10, 2013.  ‑  December 20, 2013. Present:  Rubin, Fecteau, & Hines, JJ. Homicide.  Grand Jury.  Practice, Criminal, Grand jury proceedings, Conduct of prosecutor, Disclosure of evidence, Indictment, Dismissal, Capital case.  Evidence, Grand jury proceedings, Testimony before grand jury, Identification, Exculpatory, Disclosure of evidence, Credibility of witness, Prior inconsistent statement, Indictment.  Identification.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on January 23, 2009.   Motions to dismiss the indictments were heard by Gary A. Nickerson, J.     William M. McCauley, Assistant District Attorney (Tara L. Blackman, Assistant District Attorney, with him) for the Commonwealth. Joseph F. Krowski for Jonathan Michael Pittman. Robert S. Sinsheimer for Shawn Hunt.       HINES, J.  The defendants, Shawn Hunt and Jonathan Michael Pittman, were indicted for murder in the first degree and carrying a firearm without a license by a Bristol County grand jury.  After a grand jury witness, the victim’s mother, admitted to fabricating her identification of the defendants as the perpetrators of the crime, a judge allowed the defendants’ motions to dismiss the indictments without prejudice.  The Commonwealth now appeals from the order allowing the motions to dismiss, claiming that the judge erred in ruling that the presentation of the witness’s false identification impaired the integrity of the grand jury proceedings.  Although we conclude that the judge committed no error in his assessment of the Commonwealth’s conduct in presenting the evidence to the grand jury, we reverse because the evidence was otherwise sufficient to sustain the indictment. 1.  Background.  On November 20, 2003, Alberto “Tito” Gonzalez was killed by shots fired from a passing motor vehicle in New Bedford.  In the immediate aftermath of the crime, the police investigation identified the defendants as possible suspects.  The Bristol County district attorney, however, declined to present the case against these defendants (hereinafter, the Gonzalez case) to a grand jury.  Almost five years later, a newly elected district attorney presented the Gonzalez case to three successive grand juries, culminating on January 23, 2009, in indictments of the defendants for murder in the first degree and carrying a firearm without a license. On the eve of trial, the Commonwealth learned  that Fernanda Gonzalez, the victim’s mother, had fabricated her grand jury testimony identifying Pittman […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 20, 2013 at 6:59 pm

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