Posts tagged "Field"

Commonwealth v. Field (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-126-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11403   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  EUNICE M. FIELD.       Plymouth.     March 10, 2017. – August 1, 2017.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Hines, Lowy, & Budd, JJ.     Homicide.  Constitutional Law, Assistance of counsel, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Mental Impairment.  Evidence, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Videotape, Competency.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Assistance of counsel, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement, Competency to stand trial.       Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on October 21, 2010.   The case was tried before Charles J. Hely, J., and a motion for a new trial, filed on June 16, 2014, was heard by him.     Elizabeth Caddick for the defendant. Stacey L. Gauthier, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     LOWY, J.  In August, 2010, the victim, Lorraine Wachsman, was stabbed to death.  A jury in the Superior Court found the defendant guilty of murder in the first degree on theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty.  The defendant appeals from her conviction and from the denial of her motion for a new trial. Background.  We recite the facts the jury could have found in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, reserving certain details for our analysis of the issues. The defendant, who was prescribed medication for bipolar disorder, and who had a history of substance abuse, came to know the victim through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  The defendant and the victim had a strained relationship for some time leading up to the victim’s death.  The victim was close with the defendant’s former longtime girl friend and acted as the girl friend’s AA “sponsor.”  The defendant blamed the victim for the defendant’s romantic relationship with the girl friend ending in early 2010.  Even before the events leading to the end of her romantic relationship with the girl friend, the defendant harbored resentment toward the victim.  According to the defendant, the victim prevented her from visiting a sick mutual friend in the hospital, prior to that friend’s death. On the night before the victim’s death, the defendant telephoned the victim and arranged to meet her the following morning.  That night, the defendant wrote on her page on the Web site Facebook, “Tic toc, tic toc.  I’m going to finish my book tomorrow.  You’re all going to be real interested in it […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 1, 2017 at 4:37 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

Field v. Commonwealth (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-192-15)

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.   SJC-11817   EUNICE FIELD  vs.  COMMONWEALTH. December 1, 2015. Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts.  Practice, Criminal, Assistance of counsel, Admissions and confessions, Voluntariness of statement.  Mental Health.  Witness, Expert, Privilege.  Privileged Communication.  Evidence, Expert opinion, Medical record, State of mind, Voluntariness of statement, Communication between patient and psychotherapist.     Eunice Field appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court denying, without a hearing, her petition for relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3.  We affirm.   After a trial in the Superior Court, Field was convicted of murder in the first degree.  Her appeal from that conviction is pending in this court and has been stayed pending resolution of her motion for a new trial.  In that motion, Field argued that trial counsel deprived her of effective assistance by failing to consult with a psychiatric expert.  In a supplemental motion, she argued that she was further deprived of effective assistance when trial counsel failed to move to suppress her statements to the police, in part on the ground that her mental state rendered her statements involuntary.  On the Commonwealth’s motions, the trial judge ordered that trial counsel be summonsed to testify at the hearing on Field’s motion[1] and that Field provide the Commonwealth with certain discovery, including any of her mental health treatment records that were considered by her posttrial mental health expert in preparing his report.  Field’s G. L. c. 211, § 3, petition followed, seeking relief from these orders.   The case is before us pursuant to S.J.C. Rule 2:21, as amended, 434 Mass. 1301 (2001), which requires an appellant seeking relief from interlocutory rulings of the trial court to “set forth the reasons why review of the trial court decision cannot adequately be obtained on appeal from any final adverse judgment in the trial court or by other available means.”  Field asserts that requiring trial counsel to testify would violate her attorney-client privilege and that production of her mental health treatment records would violate her psychotherapist-patient privilege.  Field has an adequate alternative remedy; if any evidence is admitted at the hearing in violation of Field’s privileges, the error can be remedied on appeal from any adverse ruling on the motion for a new trial.[2]  Claims of privilege are routinely addressed in the ordinary appellate process.  See Commonwealth v. Sliech-Brodeur, 457 Mass. 300, 329 (2010) (defendant’s prior attorney’s […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - December 2, 2015 at 12:34 am

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,