Posts tagged "1010914"

Commonwealth v. Harris (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-109-14)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;     SJC‑11191     COMMONWEALTH  vs.  LAURENCE BYNUM HARRIS.[1]     Plymouth.     March 12, 2014.  ‑  June 18, 2014. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Cordy, Botsford, Gants, & Lenk, JJ.     Homicide.  Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Self-incrimination.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Expert opinion, Rebuttal, Intent, Competency.  Witness, Expert, Self-incrimination.  Intent.  Mental Impairment.  Due Process of Law, Competency to stand trial.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Motion to suppress, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of confession, Required finding, Competency to stand trial, Defendant’s competency, Argument by prosecutor.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on November 5, 2007.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by Jeffrey A. Locke, J., and the case was tried before Barbara A. Dortch-Okara, J.     Elizabeth Caddick for the defendant. Gail M. McKenna, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     IRELAND, C.J.  In September, 2011, a jury convicted the defendant, Laurence Bynum Harris, of murder in the first degree on the theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty.  Represented by new counsel on appeal, the defendant argues error in (1) the denial of his motion to suppress statements; (2) the denial of his motions for required findings of not guilty; (3) the admission of expert rebuttal testimony; and (4) the prosecutor’s closing argument.  We affirm the order denying the defendant’s motion to suppress and affirm his conviction.  We discern no basis to exercise our authority pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E. 1.  Motion to suppress statements.  a.  Background and standard of review.  Prior to trial, the defendant moved to suppress statements he made to police officers and “all fruits thereof,” claiming, as relevant here, that his Federal and State constitutional rights were violated because his statements had not been voluntarily made.  After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the motion judge denied the motion. In reviewing a decision on a motion to suppress, “we accept the judge’s subsidiary findings of fact absent clear error ‘but conduct an independent review of his ultimate findings and conclusions of law.’”  Commonwealth v. Scott, 440 Mass. 642, 646 (2004), quoting Commonwealth v. Jimenez, 438 Mass. 213, 218 (2002).  We summarize the judge’s findings of fact, supplemented with uncontested testimony adduced at the evidentiary hearing.  See Commonwealth v. Isaiah I., 448 Mass. 334, 337 (2007), S.C., 450 Mass. 818 […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 18, 2014 at 8:57 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,