Posts tagged "1103917"

Commonwealth v. Brown (Lawyers weekly No. 11-039-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   16-P-67                                         Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  TYRIEK BROWN.     No. 16-P-67.   Worcester.     February 6, 2017. – March 31, 2017.   Present:  Cypher, Milkey, & Neyman, JJ.     Firearms.  Evidence, Firearm.  Practice, Criminal, Argument by prosecutor.  Words, “Knowingly.”     Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on December 13, 2013.   The cases were tried before William F. Sullivan, J.     Deborah Bates Riordan for the defendant. Michelle R. King, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     MILKEY, J.  During an inventory search of the car that the defendant had been driving, a State trooper discovered a loaded handgun.  Based on this, the defendant was indicted on two related counts:  unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawful possession of a loaded firearm.  See G. L. c. 269, § 10(a) & (n).  A Superior Court jury convicted him of those charges.[1]  His appeal primarily focuses on a question of law that the Supreme Judicial Court flagged without answering:  “whether, to be convicted of unlawful possession of a loaded firearm, a defendant must know that the firearm he possessed was loaded.”  Commonwealth v. Jefferson, 461 Mass. 821, 828 n.7 (2012).  The Commonwealth maintains that proof of such knowledge is not required.  Although we are not unsympathetic to the textual arguments on which the Commonwealth relies, existing case law requires us to conclude that the Commonwealth must prove that the defendant knew that the gun was loaded.  We further conclude that the evidence here was legally insufficient to establish such knowledge, and that the defendant therefore is entitled to a judgment of acquittal on the indictment for unlawfully possessing a loaded firearm.  We otherwise affirm. Background.  On July 4, 2013, a State trooper stopped the car that the defendant was driving because of an inoperable tail light.  After learning that the defendant’s driver’s license had been suspended, the trooper placed him in custody.  Although the defendant had two passengers with him, neither possessed a valid license, and the trooper therefore determined that the car needed to be towed.  During an inventory search of the car, the trooper discovered a handgun in the console between the rear passenger seats.  There were five bullets in the gun’s magazine. While the defendant was being transported to the police station by a second trooper, he made various statements regarding the gun.[2]  He initially stated […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - April 1, 2017 at 3:42 am

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