Posts tagged "Thomas"

Commonwealth v. Thomas (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-028-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12055   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MARCUS THOMAS.       Hampden.     October 7, 2016. – February 13, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Constitutional Law, Identification.  Due Process of Law, Identification, Identification of inanimate object.  Evidence, Identification, Identification of inanimate object.  Identification.  Practice, Criminal, Motion to suppress.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on April 3, 2015.   Pretrial motions to suppress evidence were considered by Edward J. McDonough, Jr., J.   Applications for leave to prosecute interlocutory appeals were allowed by Spina, J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk, and the appeals were reported by him to the Appeals Court.  The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Heidi M. Ohrt-Gaskill, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Paul R. Rudof, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: David Zhang, of China, Karen A. Newirth, of New York, Joshua Asher, of Illinois, & Radha Natarajan & Kirsten Mayer for The Innocence Project, Inc. & another. Anthony D. Mirenda, Michael J. Licker, Melissa A. Stewart, & Chauncey Wood for Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.     GANTS, C.J.  These interlocutory appeals from two rulings on motions to suppress raise three substantial issues regarding eyewitness identification.  First, we consider what consequence, if any, is appropriate where a police officer who is showing a photographic array to an eyewitness fails to use the protocol that we outlined in Commonwealth v. Silva–Santiago, 453 Mass. 782, 797-798 (2009), despite our declaration in that opinion that we “expect” police to use the protocol in the future.  Second, we examine whether, based on subsequent research, we should revisit the conclusion we reached in Silva–Santiago, supra at 798-799, and confirmed in Commonwealth v. Walker, 460 Mass. 590, 602-603 (2011), that the choice of a simultaneous rather than a sequential display of photographs in an array may be relevant to the weight to be given to an identification but does not affect its admissibility.  The third issue concerns the identification of an inanimate object — a firearm.  We determine whether suggestive police questioning and subsequent police confirmation appropriately may result in suppression of the identification of a firearm as the firearm used by the defendant during the commission […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 13, 2017 at 3:25 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

Commonwealth v. Thomas (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-058-16)

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   13-P-666                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  RICKY THOMAS. No. 13-P-666. Hampden.     March 11, 2016. – May 26, 2016.   Present:  Meade, Sullivan, & Massing, JJ. Rape.  Rape-Shield Statute.  Evidence, Prior conviction, Impeachment of credibility.  Witness, Impeachment. Practice, Criminal, Impeachment by prior conviction, New trial.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on March 23, 2010.   The case was heard by Tina S. Page, J., and a motion for a new trial, filed on September 29, 2014, was considered by her.     Joseph M. Kenneally for the defendant. Deborah D. Ahlstrom, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.   MEADE, J.  After a jury-waived trial, the defendant was convicted of aggravated rape, and the judge found him not guilty of kidnapping and assault with intent to rape.  On appeal, he claims that the judge erred when she excluded evidence of the victim’s prior convictions; his conviction for aggravated rape was improper because there was no aggravating circumstance; and the judge abused her discretion when she denied his motion for a new trial without holding an evidentiary hearing.  We affirm. 1.  Background.  The judge was entitled to find the following facts.  Before the incident at issue, a friend had introduced the victim to the defendant, whom she knew as “Steve,” and the victim agreed to go with him to “hang out, party, chill, [and] smoke” “crack” cocaine.  Their plans for that evening did not materialize.  Several weeks later, the two again met on the street.  The defendant asked the victim if she wanted to pick up where they left off, and also if she minded going to his house in Holyoke.  The victim agreed and “jumped in [the defendant’s] car.” The two travelled to an apartment complex “that had two levels, one lower one, and one up a little hill and top level apartments.”  The victim had never been there before, but she identified a photograph of a “top left window” as “the window of [the defendant’s] room.”  On cross-examination, the victim made it clear that she went to the defendant’s apartment voluntarily “to party,” that is, “smoke, get high and chill.”  The two entered the apartment, and the defendant directed the victim down a long, dark hallway to a room at the end of the hall on the left.  The defendant went into a bathroom on […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 26, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

Commonwealth v. Thomas (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-152-14)

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-10826   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  CHITEARA M. THOMAS. Plymouth.     February 7, 2014. – September 2, 2014.   Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Botsford, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ.[1]     Homicide.  Burning a Dwelling House.  Attempt.  Constitutional Law, Assistance of counsel, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Harmless error, Self-incrimination.  Due Process of Law, Assistance of counsel.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Error, Harmless.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Motion to suppress, Assistance of counsel, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Harmless error.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on September 22, 2006.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Charles J. Hely, J., and the cases were tried before Thomas A. Connors, J.   William S. Smith for the defendant. Mary E. Lee, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     GANTS, J.  In the early morning of July 6, 2006, the defendant, Chiteara M. Thomas, used a cigarette lighter to set fire to a curtain in the first-floor apartment of a three-story house in Brockton (house).  The fire quickly spread from the first floor to the upstairs apartments.  Olinda Calderon, a resident in the third-floor apartment, died in the fire, and several residents and guests in the second- and third-floor apartments were injured.  A Superior Court jury convicted the defendant of murder in the first degree on the theory of deliberate premeditation, arson of a dwelling house, and the attempted murder of thirteen persons.      On appeal, the defendant contends that the judge erred in denying, except in small part, her motion to suppress the statements she made to police on July 6 and 7, 2006,[2] and that a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice arose from the admission in evidence of the defendant’s invocation of her right to counsel at the commencement of her July 6 interview.  We conclude that the judge erred in denying the motion to suppress the July 6 interview and that part of the July 7 interview that preceded the defendant’s booking, but correctly denied the motion with respect to the defendant’s postbooking confession.  We also conclude that the error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt with respect to the convictions of murder in the first degree and attempted murder, but was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt with respect to the conviction of arson […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 2, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

In the Matter of: Patch, Thomas F. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-183-13)

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‑11144   IN THE MATTER OF THOMAS F. PATCH. October 21, 2013.   Attorney at Law, Disciplinary proceeding, Suspension, Disbarment. Board of Bar Overseers.       Bar counsel appeals from an order of a single justice of this court indefinitely suspending the respondent, Thomas F. Patch, from the practice of law.  Bar counsel argues that the single justice abused his discretion by not accepting the recommendation of the Board of Bar Overseers (board) that the respondent be disbarred, and by instead ordering an indefinite suspension based on his personal observations of the respondent in the court room and his conclusion that the respondent’s misconduct was mitigated by “unresolved emotional issues.”  Because we agree with bar counsel, we vacate the order of indefinite suspension and direct that a judgment enter disbarring the respondent.   Background.  The respondent was admitted to the practice of law in 1987.  He was suspended in 2004 for a term of three months following multiple adjudications of contempt in the Probate and Family Court stemming from his own divorce litigation, in which he represented himself.  Matter of Patch, 20 Mass. Att’y Discipline Rep. 445 (2004).  During this earlier disciplinary proceeding, he presented evidence in mitigation indicating that clinical depression had contributed to his misconduct.  Id. at 446.  After serving the three-month suspension, he was reinstated.     In March, 2006, the respondent was convicted in the District Court of one count of criminal harassment (G. L. c. 265, § 43A [a]), for which he was sentenced to two and one-half years in the house of correction, suspended for five years; and of two counts of violating a protective order (G. L. c. 209A, § 7), for which he was sentenced to concurrent terms of five years’ probation.  As one of the terms of his probation, he was ordered to submit to a psychological evaluation, and he was later ordered to submit to mental health treatment.  In January, 2007, he was found to be in violation of the terms of his probation.  He was ordered to serve two and one-half years in the house of correction, with five years’ probation following his release.  In November, 2007, he was convicted in the District Court of one count of witness intimidation (G. L. c. 268, § 13B).  The victim of that offense was one of the mental health professionals who had conducted the respondent’s […]

Read more...

Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 21, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , ,