Posts tagged "1012715"

Commonwealth v. Melo (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-127-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11513   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  NELSON MELO. Bristol.     February 6, 2015. – July 23, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, & Hines, JJ.     Homicide.  Felony-Murder Rule.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Assistance of counsel, Waiver.  Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Waiver of constitutional rights, Arrest, Probable cause, Assistance of counsel.  Arrest.  Telephone.  Search and Seizure, Arrest, Probable cause, Fruits of illegal arrest.  Probable Cause.  Attorney at Law, Withdrawal.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on February 9, 2010.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by E. Susan Garsh, J., and the case was tried before Robert J. Kane, J.     Jeanne M. Kempthorne for the defendant. Mary O’Neil, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     HINES, J.  On November 3, 2009, Chad Fleming (victim) was killed during a robbery (or attempted robbery) of drugs that he had planned to sell to the defendant, Nelson Melo.  The defendant and Aaron Morin were charged with murder in the first degree in the death of the victim.  The Commonwealth contended that the defendant acted as a joint venturer with Morin, who was tried separately.  In November, 2012, a jury convicted the defendant of murder in the first degree on the theory of felony-murder.[1],[2]  Represented by new counsel on appeal, the defendant argues (1) error in the partial denial of his motion to suppress statements he made to police; (2) error in the denial of defense counsel’s motion to withdraw from the case two days before trial; and (3) ineffective assistance of trial counsel.  We conclude that the defendant’s motion to suppress statements made after being taken involuntarily to the police station should have been allowed in its entirety because these statements were the inadmissible fruits of an unlawful arrest.  Because the defendant did not seek suppression on this ground, however, we review to determine if the error created a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice, and conclude that it did not.  We reject as well the other claims of error and, therefore, affirm the order denying defense counsel’s motion to withdraw and affirm the defendant’s conviction. Background.  We recite the facts the jury could have found.  The victim, who was twenty-five years of age, lived in Florida […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 23, 2015 at 4:32 pm

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