Posts tagged "1017115"

Commonwealth v. Lang (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-171-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-10405   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  FRANCIS LANG.*       Suffolk.     November 7, 2014. – October 1, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Cordy, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Homicide.  Constitutional Law, Public trial, Jury, Waiver of constitutional rights, Assistance of counsel.  Jury and Jurors.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Empanelment of jury, Public trial, Waiver, Instructions to jury, Assistance of counsel.  Mental Impairment.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on May 11, 2005.   The case was tried before Stephen E. Neel, J., and one issue raised in a motion for a new trial, filed on May 6, 2009, was heard by him; the remaining issue raised in that motion for a new trial was heard by Patrick F. Brady, J., and a motion for reconsideration was considered by him.     Ruth Greenberg for the defendant. John P. Zanini, Assistant District Attorney (Edmond J. Zabin, Assistant District Attorney, with him) for the Commonwealth. Leslie W. O’Brien, for Richard M. Boucher, Jr., amicus curiae, submitted a brief.     BY THE COURT.  The defendant was convicted in 2006 of murder in the first degree on the theory of extreme atrocity or cruelty.  While his direct appeal was pending here, he moved for a new trial on two grounds:  first, he claimed that the court room was improperly closed to the public during the jury selection phase of the case; second, he claimed that his trial counsel was ineffective in failing to investigate his mental history, thereby depriving him of, among other things, an opportunity to make an informed decision whether to pursue a defense of lack of criminal responsibility.  We transferred the motion for a new trial to the Superior Court and stayed the direct appeal pending a ruling on the motion.  After two separate evidentiary hearings, one on each of the issues raised in the motion, the motion for a new trial was denied.[1] We now have before us the defendant’s direct appeal and his appeal from the denial of his motion for a new trial.  In addition to pressing the public trial and ineffective assistance of counsel claims raised in his motion, the defendant also challenges the judge’s charge to the jury, claiming that it was error to instruct the jury that they could find malice for purposes of murder in the first […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 1, 2015 at 6:05 pm

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