Posts tagged "1015815"

Commonwealth v. Walters (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-158-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-11799   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MICHAEL WALTERS.       Bristol.     May 4, 2015. – September 18, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Stalking.  Criminal Harassment.  Abuse Prevention.  Perjury. Social Media.  Threatening.  Evidence, Threat, Intent, Photograph, Relevancy and materiality, Argument by prosecutor, Disclosure of evidence.  Constitutional Law, Freedom of speech and press.  Intent.  Practice, Criminal, Instructions to jury, Argument by prosecutor, Disclosure of evidence, Impeachment by prior conviction.  Due Process of Law, Disclosure of evidence.  Witness, Impeachment.       Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on March 28, 2011.   The cases were tried before E. Susan Garsh, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Ethan C. Stiles for the defendant. David B. Mark, Assistant District Attorney (Shoshana Stern, Assistant District Attorney, with him) for the Commonwealth. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Claire Laporte, Marco J. Quina, Rebecca M. Cazabon, Stephen T. Bychowski, & Bendan T. Jarboe for Domestic & Sexual Violence Council, Inc., & others. Helen Gerostathos Guyton, Sandra J. Badin, Lyzzette M. Bullock, & John Nucci for Jane Doe Inc. & others. Steven M. Freeman, Lauren A. Jones, & Melissa Garlick, of New York, & Joseph Berman for Anti-Defamation League. Kirsten V. Mayer, Kavitha A. Mecozzi, Jennifer S. Pantina, Alexandra L. Roth, Matthew R. Segal, Jessie J. Rossman, & Mason Kortz for American Liberties Union of Massachusetts.     BOTSFORD, J.  This case raises the question whether a posting to the Web site Facebook may constitute a threat within the meaning of the stalking statute, G. L. c. 265, § 43 (a) (§ 43 [a]).  We conclude that although content posted to Facebook may qualify as a threat as defined in the statute, in this particular case, a reasonable jury could not have found that the defendant’s Facebook profile page constituted such a threat.  We therefore vacate the defendant’s conviction of stalking.  The defendant’s remaining convictions of criminal harassment, criminal violation of a restraining order pursuant to G. L. c. 209A, § 7 (two counts), and perjury (two counts) are affirmed.[1] Background.  1.  Facts.  Because the defendant challenges the sufficiency of the evidence presented with respect to the charges of stalking and criminal harassment, we summarize the facts the jury could have found in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth.  […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 18, 2015 at 3:15 pm

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