Posts tagged "1005415"

Commonwealth v. Jones (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-054-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11717   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ROBERT JONES. Middlesex.     December 1, 2014. – April 9, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Indecent Assault and Battery.  Obscenity, Dissemination of matter harmful to minor.  Statute, Validity.  Constitutional Law, Freedom of speech and press.  Practice, Criminal, Argument by prosecutor.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on April 26, 2012.   The cases were tried before Maureen B. Hogan, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Rebecca A. Jacobstein, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant. Anne M. Paruti, Assistant District Attorney (Jessica L. Langsam, Assistant District Attorney, with her) for the Commonwealth.     GANTS, C.J.  A Superior Court jury convicted the defendant on two indictments charging indecent assault and battery on a child under fourteen, in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 13B, and one indictment charging dissemination of matter harmful to minors, in violation of G. L. c. 272, § 28.[1]  The defendant presents two claims on appeal.  First, he contends that, during the time period alleged in the indictment, § 28 was facially overbroad because it did not explicitly require the Commonwealth to prove that the defendant knew that the person receiving the harmful matter was a minor.  Second, he argues that the prosecutor’s closing argument created a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice by suggesting that the defendant would have committed further sexual offenses against one of the child victims had the child not moved away.  We conclude that, during the relevant time period, § 28 was not unconstitutionally overbroad because we interpret the statute to have implicitly required knowledge that the recipient was a minor as an element of the crime.  We also conclude that the prosecutor’s suggestion that the defendant would have committed further sexual offenses against the victim was improper but, in the context of the entire closing argument, did not create a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice.  We therefore affirm the convictions. Background.  The two victims were the defendant’s nephews, sons of two different sisters of the defendant.  In 2006, one victim, C.J., who was approximately eleven years old, moved with his mother and younger brother to Woburn, which is also where the defendant was living at C.J.’s grandmother’s house.  A few days during each school week, and […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 9, 2015 at 5:46 pm

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