Posts tagged "Powell"

Commonwealth v. Powell (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-151-16)

COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS     SUFFOLK, ss.                                                                                                                                                                       SUPERIOR COURT          CRIMINAL ACTION 2002-11199       COMMONWEALTH   vs.   JOHN POWELL     MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR POST CONVICTION ACCESS TO EVIDENCE AND FORENSIC ANALYSIS PURSUANT TO G.L. c. 278A   In November of 2005, a Suffolk County jury convicted John Powell (“Powell” or the “Defendant”) of (1) murder in the second degree, G.L. c. 265, § 1; (2) assault with intent to kill, G.L. c. 265, § 18(b), a lesser included offense of the charged assault with intent to murder;       (3) unlawful possession of a firearm, G.L. c. 269, § 10(a); (4) unlawful possession of ammunition, G.L. c. 269, § 10(h); and (5) possession of cocaine with intent to distribute, G.L. c. 94C, § 32A.  Powell appealed these convictions, and the Appeals Court affirmed all but the conviction for possession of cocaine with intent to distribute (which it reversed).  Powell subsequently filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied.[1]   With an eye toward a second new trial motion, the Defendant has now filed a motion for forensic discovery pursuant to G.L. c. 278A.  In this motion, Powell seeks DNA testing of blood on a baseball bat that was found at the crime scene and used by the victim in the hours before his murder.  The Commonwealth opposes the motion, arguing that the Defendant cannot show, as he must under G.L. c. 278A, § 7(b)(4), that the testing will potentially result in evidence that is material to the identity of the murder’s perpetrator.  Upon consideration the parties’ arguments and a review of the appellate authority construing and applying Chapter 278A, the Court concludes that the Defendant’s motion shall be ALLOWED. BACKGROUND The victim, Paul Gauthier, was shot and killed in his apartment at 18 Wardman Road in Roxbury.  Gauthier was found in the kitchen/dining area, lying in a pool of blood and near a silver baseball bat.  There was blood on the victim’s hands, on the baseball bat, and throughout the victim’s apartment.  Earlier that day, Gauthier had used the baseball bat to vandalize 16 Wardman Street, a reputed crack house where the Defendant sold cocaine, causing extensive property damage.  The victim had also been seen chasing two unidentified black men (neither of whom was the Defendant) with the bat in his hands.  The Defendant seeks to test the blood-stained baseball bat in accordance with G.L. c. 278A, asserting that the presence of third-party DNA will show that someone other than Powell (i.e., someone whom Gauthier may have assaulted and injured with the bat earlier in the day) had a motive to commit the murder.   A post-conviction request for […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 11, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

Commonwealth v. Powell (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-095-14)

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‑11362   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ERROL POWELL.[1]     Bristol.     February 6, 2014.  ‑  June 6, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.   Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Delay in commencement of prosecution.  Due Process of Law, Delay in commencement of prosecution.  Practice, Criminal, Admissions and confessions, Arraignment, Delay in commencement of prosecution, Motion to suppress.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on August 19, 2010.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by John P. Connor, Jr., J.   An application for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal was allowed by Botsford, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk, and the appeal was reported by her.     Roger L. Michel, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Richard B. Klibaner for the defendant.     CORDY, J.  The defendant in this case has been charged with murder in the first degree and other crimes arising out of the shooting of Jonathan Nieves, who was mistaken for a member of a rival gang, on or about February 26, 2010.  The defendant was interrogated by police following his arrest and after being held for approximately nine hours in the Fall River police station while awaiting his initial appearance in the local District Court.  During that interrogation, he made several inculpatory statements.  Those statements were subsequently suppressed as violative of the rule we established in Commonwealth v. Rosario, 422 Mass. 48, 56 (1996), which renders inadmissible custodial statements made more than six hours after arrest and before being brought to court for arraignment.  The Commonwealth asks us to revisit the Rosario rule.  Because we are of the view that the rule continues to serve as an important and practical protection of the constitutional and common-law rights of persons arrested for violations of the criminal laws, we decline to do so.  Accordingly, we affirm the allowance of the defendant’s motion to suppress. Background.  We consider the facts as set forth in the motion judge’s findings after an evidentiary hearing, at which four police officers testified, supplemented by uncontroverted facts in the record that were implicitly credited by the motion judge.  See Commonwealth v. Isaiah I., 448 Mass. 334, 337 (2007), S.C., 450 Mass. 818 (2008). On February, 26, 2010, or in […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,