Posts tagged "1014215"

Commonwealth v. Monroe (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-142-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11813   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  CHARLES MONROE.       Worcester.      March 5, 2015. – August 19, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.   Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Harmless error.  Practice, Criminal, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Motion to suppress, Harmless error.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Error, Harmless.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on November 2, 2010.   A pretrial motion to suppress evidence was heard by James R. Lemire, J., and the cases were tried before David Ricciardone, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Nancy A. Dolberg, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant. Donna-Marie Haran, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.      HINES, J.  After a jury trial in the Superior Court, the defendant, Charles Monroe, was convicted of four counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon (knife); two counts of armed robbery; two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person fourteen years of age or older; two counts of armed kidnapping with serious bodily injury; and one count each of kidnapping and assault and battery.[1]  The convictions were based on three incidents that occurred in October, 2010, during which the defendant, then eighteen years old, accosted three different teenage victims as they walked to school.  The defendant appealed, arguing that (1) admission of statements he made to police during a videotaped interview violated his right to due process, and (2) the trial judge erred in discharging two deliberating jurors.  We transferred the case to this court on our own motion and now conclude that the motion judge erred in denying the defendant’s motion to suppress statements and that the statements were admitted at trial erroneously.  On the record before us, we agree that the police engaged in impermissibly coercive tactics that rendered the defendant’s statements involuntary under the circumstances of the interrogation.  Because the erroneous admission of those statements at trial was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, we reverse the convictions on that ground[2] and remand for a new trial. 1.  Background.  We summarize the facts the jury could have found, reserving for later discussion the details of the postarrest interview. The morning of October 19, 2010, […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 19, 2015 at 4:07 pm

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