Posts tagged "1005215"

Commonwealth v. Ware (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-052-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   SJC-11709   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  BRYANT WARE. Hampden.     December 4, 2014. – April 8, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ. Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts. Controlled Substances.  Practice, Criminal, Plea, Conduct of government agents, Discovery, Disclosure of evidence. Evidence, Guilty plea, Certificate of drug analysis, Exculpatory, Disclosure of evidence.  Constitutional Law, Plea, Conduct of government agents.  Due Process of Law, Plea, Disclosure of evidence.     Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on August 29, 2007; November 25, 2009; and March 9, 2010.   A motion for leave to conduct postconviction discovery and for funds, filed on February 14, 2014, was considered by C. Jeffrey Kinder, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     James P. McKenna for the defendant. Katherine A. Robertson, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.   SPINA, J.  In this case, we consider whether a Superior Court judge abused his discretion in denying a motion for leave to conduct postconviction discovery and for funds, filed by the defendant, Bryant Ware.  The defendant sought retesting of drug evidence maintained by the Springfield police department in countless cases brought by the Commonwealth between July, 2004, and January 18, 2013.  During that time period, Sonja Farak was a chemist at the Department of Public Health’s State Laboratory Institute in Amherst (Amherst drug lab).  Also during that time period, the defendant was indicted on drug charges in three separate cases.  His motion for postconviction discovery was predicated on the fact that Farak pleaded guilty on January 6, 2014, to four counts of tampering with evidence, G. L. c. 268, § 13E; four counts of theft of a controlled substance (cocaine) from a dispensary, G. L. c. 94C, § 37; and two counts of unlawful possession of a class B substance (cocaine), G. L. c. 94C, § 34.  In denying the motion, the judge concluded that the defendant had failed to establish a prima facie case for relief under Mass. R. Crim. P. 30 (c) (4), as appearing in 435 Mass. 1501 (2001).  We conclude that the judge did not abuse his discretion, and affirm his order.  At the same time, based on what we learn from the record in this case about Farak’s misconduct at the Amherst drug lab and the Commonwealth’s failure to investigate the scope and timing of such misconduct, we further […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 8, 2015 at 11:54 pm

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