Posts tagged "1112415"

Commonwealth v. Melucci (and six companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-124-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   14-P-1116                                       Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  MICHAEL J. MELUCCI (and six companion cases[1]). No. 14-P-1116. Bristol.     June 2, 2015. – August 31, 2015.   Present:  Cypher, Vuono, & Grainger, JJ. Practice, Criminal, Dismissal, Continuance.   Complaints received and sworn to in the Taunton Division of the District Court Department on April 29, 2013.   The complaints were ordered dismissed by Gregory L. Phillips, J.     Yul-mi Cho, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.   CYPHER, J.  The Commonwealth appeals from orders of the District Court dismissing with prejudice the complaints against the defendants charging various firearms offenses.[2]  We reverse. Background.  The defendants were arraigned in April, 2013, and the cases were scheduled for probable cause hearings in June, 2013.  After requests for a continuance made by defense counsel, the probable cause hearings were rescheduled for August, 2013.  Due to court congestion in August, 2013, the hearings were continued to September, 2013.  At the September, 2013, hearing date, at least one defense attorney did not appear and the case was again continued to November, 2013.[3]  For reasons unclear from the docket, the hearings were then continued to two dates in January, 2014, and then to February, 2014.  No objection appears on the dockets.  At the time of the probable cause hearing in February, 2014, the assistant district attorney assigned to the cases was on trial in Superior Court and was therefore unable to appear in District Court.  A different assistant district attorney appearing on behalf of the Commonwealth asked for a continuance, noting for the judge that the cases were “going to be a disposition.”  The judge denied the Commonwealth’s request and, sua sponte, dismissed the cases with prejudice for want of prosecution.[4] In March, 2014, the parties filed joint motions to vacate the dismissals with supporting affidavits from the assistant district attorney assigned to the cases and defense counsel.  The affidavits detailed the plea negotiations between the parties and defense counsel averred that the defendants did not suffer any prejudice from the repeated continuances.  The judge denied the motions without a hearing.  The Commonwealth now appeals.[5] Discussion.  “Dismissal with prejudice is appropriate in cases of egregious prosecutorial misconduct or on a showing of prejudice (or a substantial threat thereof), or irremediable harm to the defendant’s opportunity to obtain a fair trial.”  Commonwealth v. Hernandez, 421 Mass. 272, 277 (1995) (quotation […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 31, 2015 at 5:57 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , ,

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