Posts tagged "1007116"

Commonwealth v. Stevenson (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-071-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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   SJC-11962   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  CARLOS G. STEVENSON.       Dukes.     February 11, 2016. – May 25, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Practice, Criminal, Indictment, Dismissal, Grand jury proceedings.  Grand Jury.  Evidence, Grand jury proceedings.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on October 6, 2014.   A motion to dismiss the indictments was heard by Cornelius J. Moriarty, II, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Elizabeth A. Sweeney, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. Janice Bassil (John E. Oh with her) for the defendant. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Wendy J. Murphy for Women’s and Children’s Advocacy Project at New England Law|Boston. Kevin J. Curtin, Assistant District Attorney, for District Attorneys for the Berkshire, Bristol, Eastern, Middle, Norfolk, Northern, Northwestern, Plymouth, Suffolk, and Western Districts. John J. Barter & Chauncey B. Wood for Committee for Public Counsel Services & another.     CORDY, J.  On October 6, 2014, a grand jury returned six indictments against the defendant, Carlos Stevenson:  one charging aggravated rape of a child with force, G. L. c. 265, § 22B; and five charging indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of fourteen, G. L. c. 265, § 13B.[1]  The defendant filed a motion to dismiss the indictments, arguing, as is relevant to this appeal, that the evidence presented to the grand jury was insufficient because the Commonwealth offered only hearsay testimony from a single witness, the investigating officer. After a hearing, a judge of the Superior Court allowed the defendant’s motion to dismiss without prejudice.  The judge concluded that, while an indictment generally may be based solely on hearsay, the Commonwealth’s exclusive reliance on such testimony in the present case constituted “extraordinary circumstances” that justified dismissal of the indictments.  In particular, the judge determined that “there was no good reason for [the complainant] not to testify,” and the prosecutor’s decision not to seek her testimony deprived the defendant of the opportunity to obtain pretrial discovery.[2] The Commonwealth appealed the dismissal, and we granted the defendant’s application for direct appellate review.  We conclude that this case does not present an extraordinary circumstance warranting a variance from our general approval of indictments that are returned on the basis of hearsay testimony.  Therefore, the order of the […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - May 25, 2016 at 3:11 pm

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