Posts tagged "1012015"

Commonwealth v. Scesny (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-120-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11627   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ALEX SCESNY. Worcester.     March 6, 2015. – July 14, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Botsford, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Homicide.  Rape.  Evidence, Expert opinion, Photograph, Relevancy and materiality, Identification, Third-party culprit.  Witness, Expert.  Constitutional Law, Confrontation of witnesses.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Confrontation of witnesses, Argument by prosecutor, Instructions to jury.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on September 12, 2008.   The cases were tried before Richard T. Tucker, J.     Kenneth I. Seiger for the defendant. Ellyn H. Lazar-Moore, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     BOTSFORD, J.  In October of 1996 passersby discovered the body of a woman, Theresa Stone (victim), by the side of a road in Fitchburg.  Sixteen years later, in March of 2012, a Worcester County jury convicted the defendant, Alex Scesny, of murder in the first degree and aggravated rape in connection with her death.[1]  Before us is the defendant’s appeal from these convictions.  The defendant argues that (1) the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions; (2) the trial judge erred in admitting opinion testimony of a criminalist employed by the Commonwealth because the witness was not qualified to render the opinion stated; (3) the admission of an autopsy report prepared by a medical examiner who did not testify at trial, and of testimony of a substitute medical examiner, violated the defendant’s constitutional right to confront witnesses; (4) it also was error to admit a witness’s testimony, based on her examination of a photograph that itself should not have been admitted, that she recognized the defendant as one who had patronized a bar in which the victim was seen on the night of her death; (5) the prosecutor’s closing argument was improper, impinging on the defendant’s fundamental right to present a defense; and (6) the judge erred in declining to instruct the jury in accordance with the defendant’s proposed instruction on third-party culprit evidence.  We conclude that the evidence was insufficient to convict the defendant of aggravated rape, and reverse his conviction of this crime.  We affirm the defendant’s conviction of murder in the first degree.[2] Background.  1.  Facts.  The defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, and therefore we summarize the facts the jury could have found in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth.  Commonwealth v. […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 20, 2015 at 2:40 am

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

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