Justia Massachusetts Supreme Court Opinion Summaries

Commonwealth v. Bigelow

By
After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of two counts of criminal harassment. The convictions were based on five letters that Defendant wrote and sent to Michael and Susan Costello after a local election in which Michael had been elected as a town selectman. The Supreme Court reversed and dismissed Defendant’s conviction of criminal harassment of Michael and vacated Defendant’s conviction of criminal harassment of Susan and remanded for a new trial on that count, holding (1) in light of First Amendment constitutional protections afforded to political speech and the lack of evidence of serious alarm of Michael’s part, the evidence was not sufficient to support Defendant’s conviction of criminal harassment of Michael; and (2) the speech on which the complaint of criminal harassment of Susan is premised might be found to qualify as fitting within a constitutionally unprotected category of speech that may be subject to prosecution as a form of criminal harassment. View "Commonwealth v. Bigelow" on Justia Law