Posts tagged "1014413"

Commonwealth v. Lezynski (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-144-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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‑11243   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  ROBERT S. LEZYNSKI. Essex.     April 1, 2013.  ‑  August 2, 2013. Present:  Ireland, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Gants, & Duffly, JJ. Controlled Substances.  Constitutional Law, Confrontation of witnesses, Blood test, Harmless error.  Practice, Criminal, Confrontation of witnesses, Harmless error, Failure to object.  Evidence, Blood sample, Intoxication.  Witness, Expert.  Intoxication.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on June 30, 2006.   The case was tried before Robert E. Welch, III, J.   After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.     Thomas C. Foley for the defendant. David F. O’Sullivan, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.       BOTSFORD, J.  The defendant, Robert S. Lezynski, was tried before a jury in the Superior Court on indictments charging him with manslaughter and possession with intent to distribute a class B controlled substance (fentanyl)[1] in connection with the death of Richard Beaulier; the jury found the defendant guilty only of the drug charge.  At trial, evidence concerning the results of laboratory testing and toxicological analysis of Beaulier’s blood, showing the presence of a high level of fentanyl, was admitted during the direct examination of a toxicologist testifying as an expert witness for the Commonwealth, although the witness himself had not conducted any of the testing.  The defendant appealed his conviction to the Appeals Court.  In a decision pursuant to its rule 1:28, that court reasoned that the admission of the quantitative results of toxicology testing conducted by a nontestifying analyst constituted constitutional error that should be analyzed to determine whether it was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt, despite the defendant’s failure to preserve the issue at trial.  Commonwealth v. Lezynski, 81 Mass. App. Ct. 1112 (2012).  Concluding that the error was indeed harmless, the Appeals Court affirmed the defendant’s conviction.  We granted the defendant’s application for further appellate review.  We affirm the conviction, but our analysis of the toxicology evidence differs from that of the Appeals Court.   Background.  The jury could have found as follows from the evidence presented at trial.  In December, 2004, the defendant was employed as a truck driver for Hiltz Waste Disposal (Hiltz), a company located in Gloucester that performed waste disposal and recycling services.  Beaulier also was employed by Hiltz as both a truck driver and a “lumper,” […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 2, 2013 at 7:27 pm

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