Posts tagged "Shipps"

Commonwealth v. Shipps (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-183-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.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-12168   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  WILLIAM M. SHIPPS, JR.     November 10, 2017.     Practice, Criminal, Postconviction relief, Stay of proceedings.     William M. Shipps, Jr., was convicted of murder in the first degree, armed assault in a dwelling house, and armed robbery in 1984.  This court affirmed the convictions.  Commonwealth v. Shipps, 399 Mass. 820, 840 (1987).  Shipps has since filed, in the Superior Court, several motions for postconviction relief, including, most recently, a motion for “post-verdict juror inquiries. ”  A judge other than the trial judge (who had retired) denied the motion after a nonevidentiary hearing.  Shipps then filed, in the county court, a gatekeeper application seeking leave to appeal pursuant to G. L. c. 278, § 33E.  At the same time, he also filed a motion to stay action on the application pending completion of a transcript of the nonevidentiary hearing on the underlying motion.  He claimed that staying action pending completion of the transcript would allow him to file a more comprehensive application.   Shipps’s application and motion to stay were filed on September 21, 2015.  The single justice held the application in abeyance for approximately ten months.  On July 29, 2016, no transcript having been filed, the single justice denied the application on the basis that it did not raise a new and substantial issue.  In so doing, the single justice implicitly declined to stay the matter any further.   Shipps appeals only from the denial of a further stay.[1]  He argues that the single justice’s refusal to stay the matter further denied him the ability to prepare and present a comprehensive gatekeeper application.  Shipps filed his application and his motion to stay in September, 2015.  He had ample time — almost a year — to file a more detailed application, even without a transcript from the nonevidentiary hearing on his underlying motion.  He has presented no argument why the motion judge’s detailed written decision, combined with the relevant papers filed in the trial court, including his own motion and the Commonwealth’s opposition, did not provide him with all that he needed to present a comprehensive application.  A transcript of a nonevidentiary hearing on the motion was not necessary and would have added little, if anything.[2]  So too for the single justice, who had before him all the relevant materials that were before the motion judge.  He […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 10, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , ,

Shipps v. District Attorney for the Norfolk District (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-111-15)

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-11733   WILLIAM M. SHIPPS, JR.  vs.  DISTRICT ATTORNEY FOR THE NORFOLK DISTRICT. July 6, 2015.     Declaratory Relief.  Practice, Criminal, Capital case, Sentence.     William M. Shipps, Jr., filed a complaint in the county court in 2014, pursuant to G. L. c. 231A, seeking a declaration that his sentences for murder in the first degree under G. L. c. 265, § 2, as amended by St. 1979, c. 488, § 2, which were imposed thirty years earlier, are unconstitutional.  A single justice of this court dismissed the complaint.  We affirm.   In 1984, Shipps was convicted of two indictments charging murder in the first degree and other crimes.  He was sentenced on the murder convictions to two consecutive life terms in State prison without the possibility of parole, and to four concurrent life terms on the remaining convictions.  Commonwealth v. Shipps, 399 Mass. 820 (1987).  Thereafter, Shipps filed three motions seeking a new trial in the Superior Court, all of which were denied.  Commonwealth v. Shipps, 440 Mass. 1018, 1019 (2003), cert. denied, 541 U.S. 910 (2004).  A single justice of this court denied leave to appeal from the ruling on the third motion, pursuant to the “gatekeeper” provision of G. L. c. 278, § 33E, and we dismissed Shipps’s appeal from that ruling.  Id.   1.  In 2014, Shipps filed a complaint for declaratory relief in the county court, seeking a determination that the imposition of his sentence (indeed, any sentence at all) for his convictions of murder in the first degree violated the ex post facto and due process clauses of the United States Constitution because the sentencing statute applicable at the time of his offenses, G. L. c. 265, § 2, as amended by St. 1979, c. 488, § 2, provided for no penalty other than death, which by the time of his offenses had been ruled unconstitutional.  See District Attorney for the Suffolk Dist. v. Watson, 381 Mass. 648 (1980).  It is well established that declaratory relief ordinarily is not available in the context of pending criminal cases.  Id. at 659.  Similarly, a complaint seeking declaratory relief may not be used postconviction to avoid the gatekeeper provision of G. L. c. 278, § 33E, or to challenge the legality of a sentence by contesting the constitutionality of the statute under which the plaintiff (the defendant in the underlying criminal case) was sentenced.  […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 6, 2015 at 11:49 pm

Categories: News   Tags: , , , , , ,