Posts tagged "1116216"

Commonwealth v. Rocheleau (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-162-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   14-P-870                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MATTHEW R. ROCHELEAU.     No. 14-P-870.   Bristol.     September 8, 2016. – November 9, 2016.   Present:  Green, Wolohojian, & Massing, JJ.     Breaking and Entering.  Destruction of Property.  Practice, Criminal, Security measures, Fair trial, New trial, Harmless error, Instructions to jury, Assistance of counsel, Required finding.  Constitutional Law, Fair trial, Harmless error.  Due Process of Law, Fair trial.  Fair Trial.  Error, Harmless.  Evidence, Impeachment of credibility.  Witness, Impeachment.       Complaint received and sworn to in the New Bedford Division of the District Court Department on May 23, 2013.   The case was tried before Joseph I. Macy, J., and a motion for a new trial was heard by him.     David M. Osborne for the defendant. David B. Mark, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     GREEN, J.  Over objection, the defendant was ordered to remain shackled in ankle restraints throughout his trial on charges of breaking and entering in the daytime with intent to commit a felony, assault and battery, and wanton destruction of property over $ 250, and to remain seated as jurors entered and left the courtroom (apparently to prevent jurors from observing his shackles).  On appeal, as he argued in a posttrial motion for new trial denied by the trial judge, the defendant contends that the shackling denied his rights to due process and the presumption of innocence.  We conclude that any error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, and discern in the defendant’s other claims of error no cause to disturb the judgments.[1] Background.  On May 22, 2013, at around 12:30 in the afternoon, the defendant, Matthew Rocheleau, broke into the victim’s home.  The victim, a sixty-two year old woman, was sleeping on a couch when she was awakened by a “thump” and heard her dog yelp.  The victim went to her kitchen, where she found the defendant standing next to her stove, having entered through a closed but unlocked door.  Frightened, the victim grabbed a knife and confronted the defendant, asking him, “What are you doing here?”  The defendant did not respond, and left the house. The victim called 911 after the defendant went outside; as she did so, she watched the defendant try to escape through her backyard gate, which was secured by a padlock.  The defendant was unable to open […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 10, 2016 at 9:14 am

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