Posts tagged "LaChance"

LaChance v. Commissioner of Correction (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-167-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12016   EDMUND LaCHANCE  vs.  COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION & others.[1]       Essex.     March 10, 2016. – October 21, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.[2]     Civil Rights, Attorney’s fees.  Practice, Civil, Attorney’s fees.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on June 20, 2006.   Following review by this court, 463 Mass. 767 (2012), a motion for attorney’s fees was heard by Robert A. Cornetta, J., and a motion for reconsideration was considered by him.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     William D. Saltzman for the defendants. James R. Pingeon for the plaintiff.   GANTS, C.J.  This appeal concerns an award of attorney’s fees under the Federal Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Award Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b), in a civil rights action brought by a Massachusetts prison inmate, Edmund LaChance.  LaChance claimed that the defendants violated his constitutional due process rights by holding him in essentially solitary confinement in a special management unit (SMU) for ten months, without a hearing, while waiting to transfer or reclassify him.  That litigation eventually resulted in our decision in LaChance v. Commissioner of Correction, 463 Mass. 767 (2012) (LaChance I), where we announced “for the first time that segregated confinement on awaiting action status for longer than ninety days gives rise to a liberty interest entitling an inmate to notice and a hearing,” and a written posthearing decision.  Id. at 778.  See id. at 776-777.  On remand, a Superior Court judge entered declaratory judgment in favor of LaChance and awarded him $ 28,578.69 in attorney’s fees and costs under 42 U.S.C. § 1988(b).  The defendants are challenging that award in this appeal. The principal issue before us is whether LaChance qualified for an award of fees as a “prevailing party” under § 1988(b), even though he had already been discharged in 2006 from the SMU detention that was the subject of his suit, long before he won any relief in his favor.  The defendants argue that, in these circumstances, LaChance was not a prevailing party because the declaratory judgment he ultimately won was moot, and did not directly benefit him or materially alter his relationship with the defendants, at the time it was entered.  We conclude, however, […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 21, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , ,

LaChance v. Commissioner of Correction, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-160-15)

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 14-P-1648 Appeals Court EDMUND D. LaCHANCE, JR. vs. COMMISSIONER OF CORRECTION & others.1 No. 14-P-1648. Suffolk. May 13, 2015. – October 13, 2015. Present: Trainor, Agnes, & Blake, JJ. Imprisonment, Department disciplinary unit, Enforcement of discipline, Grievances. Administrative Law, Prison disciplinary proceeding, Agency’s authority, Regulations, Rulemaking. Practice, Civil, Review of administrative action, Summary judgment. Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on July 29, 2011. The case was heard by Marita A. Hopkins, J., on motions for summary judgment, and motions for reconsideration were considered by her. David J. Rentsch for the defendants. Edmund D. LaChance, Jr., pro se. TRAINOR, J. On cross-motions for summary judgment, the judge allowed the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment on 1 Various officials of the Department of Correction. 2 count IV of the complaint and the defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the remaining counts. In granting summary judgment on count IV, the judge “declare[d] that [North Central Correctional Institution’s (NCCI)] policy of terminating inmates from the Garden Program as a result of guilty findings violates the prohibition against imposing more than one sanction per offense contained in 103 Code Mass. Regs. § 430.25 [2006].”2 The defendants appeal from the allowance of summary judgment on count IV. We review the allowance of a motion for summary judgment de novo. Alicea v. Commonwealth, 466 Mass. 228, 234 (2013). The material facts are not in dispute. The plaintiff, an inmate in NCCI during all relevant times, was a participant in NCCI’s garden program, which is a leisure program, in the spring of 2011. The plaintiff was charged with and pleaded guilty to at least three different disciplinary offenses that occurred on different days between April 6 and May 13, 2011. The plaintiff 2 The judge also declared “that the defendants have not otherwise violated the plaintiff’s rights or the Department of Corrections Regulations.” The judge further concluded that whether the plaintiff could participate in the garden program was moot because the “growing season ha[d] long passed.” The judge nevertheless reached the merits because the issue whether a prisoner can be terminated from the garden program after a guilty finding falls within an exception to the mootness doctrine as it is “capable of repetition, yet evading review.” Karchmar v. Worcester, 364 Mass. 124, 136 (1973), quoting from Southern Pac. Terminal Co. v. Interstate Commerce Commn., 219 U.S. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 13, 2015 at 7:54 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , ,

Commonwealth v. LaChance (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-173-14)

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-11494 COMMONWEALTH  vs.  EDMUND D. LaCHANCE, JR. Middlesex.     April 7, 2014. – October 21, 2014.   Present:  Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ. Constitutional Law, Public trial, Jury, Waiver of constitutional rights, Assistance of counsel.  Practice, Criminal, Public trial, Empanelment of jury, Waiver, Assistance of counsel.  Jury and Jurors.  Waiver.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on December 16, 1999.   Following review by the Appeals Court, 58 Mass. 1111 (2003), a motion for a new trial was considered by Raymond J. Brassard, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Alba Doto Baccari for the defendant. Michael A. Kaneb, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Richard C. Felton, pro se, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     CORDY, J.  This court is again faced with a defendant’s postconviction claim of ineffective assistance of counsel predicated on the failure of trial counsel to object to a court room closure during jury empanelment.  See Commonwealth v. Alebord, 467 Mass. 106, 111-114, cert. denied, 134 S. Ct. 2830 (2014); Commonwealth v. Morganti, 467 Mass. 96, 100-105 (2014).  This time we are required to address a question not previously reached, that is, whether prejudice from the deficiency of trial counsel in this respect must be affirmatively established as part of the claim or is to be presumed because of the structural nature of the underlying public trial right that trial counsel failed to raise. 1.  Background.  On April 20, 2001, a Superior Court jury convicted the defendant of aggravated rape, kidnapping, indecent assault and battery, and assault by means of a dangerous weapon.  The defendant — represented by new counsel — filed a timely notice of appeal, and on August 5, 2003, a panel of the Appeals Court affirmed his conviction in an unpublished decision pursuant to that court’s rule 1:28.  Commonwealth v. LaChance, 58 Mass. App. Ct. 1111 (2003), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1202 (2004).  The defendant filed two motions for a new trial in 2003 and 2004, which were denied by the trial judge in a single order on April 15, 2004.  The defendant again timely filed a notice of appeal, and a panel of the Appeals Court affirmed the judge’s denial of his two motions for a new trial on May 10, 2005.  Commonwealth v. LaChance, […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 21, 2014 at 3:32 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,