Posts tagged "1110015"

Commonwealth v. Botelho (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-100-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;   14-P-876                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  RONALD BOTELHO, JR. No. 14-P-876. Bristol.     April 21, 2015. – August 10, 2015.   Present:  Fecteau, Agnes, & Sullivan, JJ.   Motor Vehicle, Operating under the influence.  Hearing-Impaired Person. Intoxication.  Evidence, Intoxication, Argument by prosecutor.  Practice, Criminal, Defendant’s decision not to testify, Instructions to jury, Argument by prosecutor.       Complaint received and sworn to in the Fall River Division of the District Court Department on July 13, 2012.   The case was tried before Edmund C. Mathers, J.     Paula Lynch for the defendant. Rachel W. van Deuren, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.      SULLIVAN, J.  The defendant, Ronald Botelho, Jr., appeals from his conviction of operating while under the influence of alcohol (OUI), second offense.  See G. L. c. 90, § 24(1)(a)(1).  At trial the sole issue for the jury was whether the defendant was intoxicated, or whether his conduct and demeanor were the product of a hearing impairment, compounded by the force of a collision.  The defendant contends that the trial judge’s inadvertent failure to heed his request to instruct the jury regarding his decision not to testify, coupled with the prosecutor’s closing argument, created a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice.  We reverse. Background.  On July 12, 2012, between 9:30 P.M. and 10:00 P.M., Officer Keith Strong responded to a dispatch concerning a single vehicle accident at the intersection of Second Street and Plymouth Avenue in Fall River.  Upon arriving at the scene, the officer found the defendant behind the steering wheel of a vehicle that had struck a utility pole.  The vehicle had sustained significant front end damage and the driver’s side air bag had deployed.  After the defendant got out of the vehicle he told the officer “that the stabilizer on his truck broke and that’s what caused” the accident.  When asked if he had been drinking, the defendant said, “No.” The Commonwealth’s case was based on the officer’s observations at the scene.  The officer testified that the defendant’s speech was slurred, and that he had red and bloodshot eyes, smelled of alcohol, and stumbled when he got out of the vehicle.  The officer demonstrated two field sobriety tests; the defendant began to perform each test before the instructions were completed.  The officer deemed that the defendant failed the two field sobriety tests both because he stumbled, and because […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 10, 2015 at 9:02 pm

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