Posts tagged "Wiggins"

Commonwealth v. Wiggins (and 28 companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-146-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-10975   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MAXWELL WIGGINS, JR. (and twenty-eight companion cases[1]).       Hampden.     February 10, 2017. – September 6, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Hines, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.[2]     Homicide.  Home Invasion.  Robbery.  Evidence, Identification, Cross-examination by codefendant’s counsel, Relevancy and materiality, Photograph.  Identification.  Deoxyribonucleic Acid.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Identification of defendant in courtroom, Severance, Mistrial, Argument by prosecutor, Sentence.  Constitutional Law, Sentence.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on September 25, 2007.   Pretrial motions to suppress evidence were heard by Cornelius J. Moriarty, J.; and the cases were tried before Peter A. Velis, J.     Alan Jay Black for Maxwell Wiggins, Jr. Jeffrey L. Baler for Swinkels Laporte. Katherine E. McMahon, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.          BUDD, J.  On the evening of August 29, 2007, two armed and masked men entered a home in Springfield, assaulting and robbing its occupants at gunpoint.  As they left, the homeowner, Tracy Bennett, who was returning home, was shot and killed.  Swinkels Laporte and Maxwell Wiggins were identified as the assailants and, following a joint jury trial in the Superior Court, were found guilty of murder in the first degree, as well as other offenses related to the home invasion. On appeal, they primarily claim that witnesses were improperly allowed to identify them as the perpetrators during the trial.  They also raise various evidentiary issues, and claim error in the prosecutor’s closing argument.  Wiggins further challenges the denial of his motions to sever and for a mistrial, based on co-counsel’s cross-examination of a witness regarding a previously suppressed out-of-court identification.  Laporte separately challenges his nonmurder sentences.  Finally, both defendants seek relief pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E. We discern no reversible error and, after a thorough review of the record, decline to reduce or set aside the verdicts under G. L. c. 278, § 33E.  Accordingly, we affirm the defendants’ convictions.  However, we remand for resentencing Laporte’s convictions of home invasion and armed robbery while masked. Background.  We summarize the facts the jury could have found, reserving certain details for discussion of the issues. Tracy Bennett lived with her adult daughter, Susan; her eighteen year old son, Daniel; Susan’s three young children; and a seventeen year old family friend, Angel Colon.[3]  The defendants were friends of […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 6, 2017 at 2:52 pm

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