Posts tagged "Celester"

Commonwealth v. Celester (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-016-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-07874   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  JERMAINE CELESTER.       Plymouth.     October 9, 2015. – February 10, 2016. Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Homicide.  Constitutional Law, Assistance of counsel, Confrontation of witnesses, Public trial.  Evidence, Spontaneous utterance.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, New trial, Assistance of counsel, Confrontation of witnesses, Conduct of prosecutor, Argument by prosecutor, Public trial.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on April 19, 1994.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Robert L. Steadman, J.; the cases were tried before Gordon L. Doerfer, J.; a motion for a new trial, filed on November 2, 2005, was heard by Robert C. Rufo, J.; and a second motion for a new trial, filed on June 20, 2013, was considered by Thomas F. McGuire, Jr., J.     Chauncey B. Wood for the defendant. Mary E. Lee, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Kirsten V. Mayer, Maria M. Carboni, David J. Derusha, Mark S. Gaioni, & David Lewis, for Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     BOTSFORD, J.  In September, 1995, a Plymouth County jury convicted the defendant, Jermaine Celester, of murder in the first degree on theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty and of armed assault with intent to murder.  The victims, Wakime Woods and Derek Gibbs, were shot while walking with the defendant on the night of February 18, 1994.  Woods died as a result of his injuries; Gibbs lived, but was rendered a quadriplegic.  On appeal, the defendant challenges the admission in evidence of the decedent’s out-of-court statement about who had shot him; the admission of the defendant’s statement to police; the prosecutor’s conduct, and in particular her closing argument; and the closure of the court room during jury empanelment.  For the reasons discussed in this opinion, we affirm the defendant’s convictions, but vacate the order denying his first motion for a new trial and remand the case to the Superior Court for an evidentiary hearing on that motion. Background.  From the evidence presented at trial, the jury could have found the following facts.[1]  On the evening of February 18, 1994, Wakime Woods and Derek Gibbs were shot near the corner of Green and Newbury Streets in Brockton.  The Commonwealth’s theory of the […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 10, 2016 at 4:25 pm

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