Posts tagged "Vacher"

Commonwealth v. Vacher (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-145-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11220   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ROBERT B. VACHER.       Barnstable.     April 11, 2014.  –  August 19, 2014.   Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Gants, Duffly, & Lenk, JJ. [1] Homicide.  Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Search and seizure, Voluntariness of statement, Probable cause.  Search and Seizure, Standing to object, Probable cause.  Evidence, Identification, Opinion, Photograph, Immunized witness.  Identification.  Practice, Criminal, Admissions and confessions, Agreement between prosecutor and witness, Capital case, Instructions to jury, Motion to suppress, Standing, Voluntariness of statement.  Joint Enterprise.  Witness, Immunity.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on April 10, 2009.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Gary A. Nickerson, J., and the cases was tried before Robert C. Rufo, J.     James L. Sultan (Kerry Haberlin with him) for the defendant. Julia K. Holler, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     LENK, J.  A Superior Court jury found the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree, on theories of deliberate premeditation, extreme atrocity or cruelty, and felony murder.[2]  On appeal, the defendant asks us to recognize for the first time the concept of “target standing,” and to declare the witness immunity statute, G. L. c. 233, § 20C, unconstitutional.  He argues that, in litigating his own motions to suppress, he should have been afforded target standing to challenge the violation of his alleged coventurers’ constitutional rights.  He further argues that the witness immunity statute, G. L. c. 233, § 20C, is facially unconstitutional, in that it operates to benefit only the Commonwealth and unfairly skews the adversary system, and unconstitutional as applied to him, in that the Commonwealth’s reliance on a “spate” of immunized witnesses deprived him of a fair trial. The defendant also contends that the trial judge’s failure to exclude identification testimony, and his failure to instruct the jury pursuant to Commonwealth v. DiGiambattista, 442 Mass. 423, 447-448 (2004), concerning the partial recording of the defendant’s interrogation by police, were erroneous and require a new trial.  Concluding that there was no prejudicial error, we affirm the defendant’s convictions.  After a review of the entire record pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E, we discern no reason to exercise our power to reduce the defendant’s conviction to a lesser degree of guilt or to order a new trial. 1.  Introduction.  On December 16, 2008, the victim’s body was found burning in […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm

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