Posts tagged "1111613"

Commonwealth v. Riley (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-116-13)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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;       11‑P‑846                                        Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  CAROLYN RILEY. No. 11‑P‑846. Plymouth.     January 11, 2013.  ‑  September 20, 2013. Present:  Cohen, Green, & Vuono, JJ. Homicide.  Evidence, Scientific test, Prior misconduct.  Malice.   Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on March 23, 2007.   The case was tried before Charles J. Hely, J.     Chrystal A. Murray for the defendant. Gail M. McKenna, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.       COHEN, J.  A grand jury returned indictments charging the defendant, Carolyn Riley, and her husband, Michael Riley, with murder in the first degree in connection with the December, 2006, death of their four year old daughter, Rebecca, from an overdose of clonidine and other medications administered to her by her parents.  After this court determined that the evidence before the grand jury was sufficient to sustain the indictments, see Commonwealth v. Riley, 73 Mass. App. Ct. 721, 722-726, 729-731 (2009), the defendant and her husband were tried separately in the Superior Court.  In the defendant’s case, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of the lesser included offense of murder in the second degree.[1]  She appeals, arguing that (1) the judge erroneously admitted the testimony of the Commonwealth’s forensic toxicologist without conducting a Daubert–Lanigan hearing;[2] (2) the evidence was insufficient to prove third prong malice and, hence, the jury should not have been instructed on that form of malice; and (3) the judge erroneously allowed prejudicial character evidence to be admitted.  Discerning no merit in these arguments, we affirm. The facts that the jury could have found are not significantly different from those presented to the grand jury and are well summarized in Commonwealth v. Riley, supra at 722-726.  We refer to relevant trial evidence and procedural facts in conjunction with our discussion of the issues raised.   1.  Testimony of Commonwealth’s forensic toxicologist.Before trial, the defendant filed a motion in limine seeking a Daubert–Lanigan hearing on the scientific reliability and admissibility of the testimony of Dr. George S. Behonick, who, at the time of Rebecca’s death, was the director of forensic toxicology at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.  The defendant’s challenge was predicated on the assumption that Dr. Behonick would opine as to the amount of clonidine consumed by Rebecca prior to her death based upon the level of […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - September 20, 2013 at 8:32 pm

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