Posts tagged "Francis"

Commonwealth v. Francis (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-129-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   SJC-12118   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ROGER D. FRANCIS.       Plymouth.     April 3, 2017. – August 11, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Lowy, Budd, & Cypher, JJ.     Practice, Criminal, Plea.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court on May 11, 1967.   Following review by this court, 355 Mass. 108 (1969), a motion for a new trial, see 411 Mass. 579 (1992), and the withdrawal of a plea of guilty and a second trial, see 450 Mass. 132 (2007), a motion for a new trial, filed on August 5, 2013, was heard by Linda E. Giles, J.   A request for leave to appeal was allowed by Botsford, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk.     Mary E. Lee, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Leslie W. O’Brien for the defendant.     LOWY, J.  The Commonwealth claims that an order granting the specific performance of a plea agreement constituted error.  We agree. Background.  In 1967, the defendant, Roger Francis, was convicted of murder in the first degree for killing his fifteen year old girl friend.  See Commonwealth v. Francis, 355 Mass. 108, 108-109 (1969).  In 1989, a Superior Court judge allowed the defendant’s motion for a new trial because of errors in the reasonable doubt jury instruction given in his 1967 trial.  Thereafter, this court, considering the Commonwealth’s appeal on report of a single justice pursuant to the gatekeeper provisions of G. L. c. 278, § 33E, affirmed.  Commonwealth v. Francis, 411 Mass. 579, 580 (1992). In May, 1994, the defendant reached a plea agreement with the Commonwealth:  The defendant would plead guilty to murder in the second degree in exchange for the opportunity to immediately seek parole, which the Commonwealth would not oppose.[1]  If the parole board declined to grant the defendant parole, the agreement allowed the defendant to withdraw his guilty plea and proceed to trial on the murder in the first degree charge.  After the plea agreement had been reached, the defendant pleaded guilty on May 25, 1994, before a Superior Court judge (plea judge).  At the plea hearing, the defendant’s counsel made representations that there was an understanding between the parole board and the defendant that the defendant would not be required to be in custody to be considered for parole.[2]  To effectuate the understanding […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 11, 2017 at 4:20 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

Commonwealth v. Francis (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-103-16)

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   SJC-11988   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  DANIEL FRANCIS.       Suffolk.     March 8, 2016. – July 20, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Controlled Substances.  Constitutional Law, Conduct of government agents.  Due Process of Law, Disclosure of evidence, Presumption.  Practice, Criminal, New trial, Conduct of government agents, Disclosure of evidence, Presumptions and burden of proof.  Evidence, Certificate of drug analysis, Disclosure of evidence, Presumptions.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on March 13, 2006.   The cases were tried before Frank M. Gaziano, J., and a motion for a new trial, filed on October 1, 2012, was considered by him.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     David J. Rotondo for the defendant. Benjamin B. Selman, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for Committee for Public Counsel Services. Vincent J. DeMore, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     GANTS, C.J.  This is yet another in the series of cases arising from the misconduct of Annie Dookhan when she was employed as a chemist at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute (Hinton drug lab).  Here, the defendant was found guilty at trial of the trafficking and distribution of cocaine.  At trial, certificates of drug analysis (drug certificates) were admitted in evidence, signed by Dookhan as an assistant analyst, that declared that the substances in question were cocaine and that set forth their weight.  The defendant learned of Dookhan’s misconduct after trial, and now moves for a new trial based on that misconduct.  At issue on appeal is whether a defendant found guilty at trial who moves for a new trial is entitled to the same conclusive presumption of “egregious government misconduct” that we applied in Commonwealth v. Scott, 467 Mass. 336, 352-354 (2014), to cases where a defendant seeks to withdraw his or her guilty plea after learning of Dookhan’s misconduct. We conclude that a defendant in these circumstances is entitled to the same conclusive presumption.  The consequence of the conclusive presumption is that we deem it error to have admitted the drug certificates or comparable evidence regarding Dookhan’s drug analysis where the defendant had no knowledge of Dookhan’s misconduct and therefore no opportunity to challenge the admissibility or credibility of that evidence.  We […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,