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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the Court denying, without a hearing, Petitioner’s petition for extraordinary relief in the nature of mandamus, pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion in denying the petition. In this case, one of several cases relating to Bahig Bishay’s eviction from his home, Bishay appealed from a final judgment. While that appeal was pending, Bishay and National Investigations, Inc. filed a joint petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 seeking, inter alia, an order requiring the superior court judge to incorporate an agreement into the final judgment. The single justice denied the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioners failed to meet their burden of establishing that the normal appellate process was inadequate to provide a remedy. View "Bishay v. Superior Court Department" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant’s convictions of first degree murder on theories of deliberate premeditation, extreme atrocity or cruelty, and felony-murder with armed home invasion and armed robbery as the predicate felonies and discerned no basis to exercise its authority under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E to reduce the degree of guilt or order a new trial, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below. On appeal, Defendant claimed four instances of error in the admission of evidence and that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a new trial. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgments and declined to grant relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E, holding that the evidence of Defendant’s guilt in this case was overwhelming and there was no error requiring reversal. View "Commonwealth v. Moore" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the Court denying, without a hearing, Appellant’s petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 seeking review of the superior court judge’s orders on his motions filed in connection with his motion for a new trial, holding that the single justice neither erred nor abused his discretion in denying the petition. Appellant pleaded guilty to multiple counts of trafficking of a person for sexual servitude and other charges. Appellant subsequently filed a motion for a new trial, seeking to withdraw his pleas, and filed several additional motions in connection with that motion. A single justice denied the petition without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that where Petitioner had an adequate alternative avenue to seek review, his petition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 was properly denied. View "Dew v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed an order of a single justice of this Court dismissing without prejudice Petitioner’s petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 for failure to pay the filing fee or to file a proper affidavit of indigency, holding that the petition was now moot and that the single justice did not err in dismissing the petition. Petitioner filed her petition seeking review of an interlocutory ruling of the trial court denying her late request for a jury trial on a summary process action brought against her. The single justice denied the petition. Thereafter, Petitioner petitioned for review pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. The single justice dismissed the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the petition has become moot because the underlying case proceeded to a final judgment, and the eviction has occurred; (2) the single justice did not err in dismissing the petition for failure to execute a proper affidavit of indigency or infringe on Petitioner’s right of access to the courts in doing so; and (3) Petitioner was unable to demonstrate the unavailability of adequate alternative means of obtaining appellate review. View "Anderson v. Panagiotopoulos" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court reformulated ten reported questions regarding the scope and application of the due process obligations established in Nelson v. Colorado, 137 S. Ct. 1249, 1252 (2017), providing guidance to trial courts and litigants regarding the repayment of probation fees, restitution victim-witness assessments, forfeitures, fines, and court costs after a conviction has been invalidated. In Nelson, the United States Supreme Court held that when a criminal conviction is invalidated and no retrial will occur, the state is required under the Due Process Clause to refund fees, court costs, and restitution exacted from the defendant as a consequence of the conviction. In these cases, after Defendants’ convictions were dismissed with prejudice, Defendants moved for refunds of the money paid in forfeitures, probation fees, and other costs. The judges reported the matters and questions of law to the Appeals Court. The Supreme Judicial Court answered the reported questions and remanded the cases to the reporting courts for proceedings consistent with this opinion. View "Commonwealth v. Martinez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme court affirmed Defendant’s conviction of murder in the first degree and the superior court’s denial of his motion for a new trial, holding that there was no reversible error in the proceedings below and that there was no reason to exercise its authority under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E to reduce the degree of guilt or order a new trial. Specifically, the Court held (1) defense counsel provided constitutionally effective assistance; (2) Defendant’s due process rights were not violated by the Commonwealth’s failure to disclose purported cooperation agreements it had with witnesses; (3) there was no prejudicial error in the admission of evidence of injuries the child sustained; and (4) the prosecutor did not improperly vouch for the credibility of the victim’s mother in her closing argument. View "Commonwealth v. Goitia" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court dismissing as moot Petitioner’s complaint for relief in the nature of mandamus, holding that where Petitioner received the specific relief sought in his complaint, the complaint was properly dismissed as moot. Petitioner pleaded guilty to various offenses. Petitioner later filed two motions seeking to withdraw those guilty pleas. Thereafter, Petitioner filed a complaint in the county court seeking an order direction the superior court to take action on his motions. While the complaint was pending, a superior court judge denied both motions. Accordingly, a single justice of the Court dismissed the complaint as moot. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the complaint was properly dismissed as moot. View "Stacy v. Superior Court Department" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying Petitioners’ petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that Petitioners demonstrated no error of law or abuse of discretion in the denial of extraordinary relief. Petitioners were defendants in a summary process action commenced by a bank. The bank was awarded possession of the property after a trial. The Appellate Division affirmed. Thereafter, an execution issued on the judgment for possession. After moving unsuccessfully to vacate the execution, Petitioners filed a motion to stay or strike the execution. The Appellate Division denied the motion. Petitioners then filed the instant Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition. A single justice of the Court denied the petition without a hearing. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioners had, and to some extent pursued, an avenue for relief in the ordinary appellate process. View "Bishay v. Merrill Lynch Credit Corp." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying Petitioners’ petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice correctly denied extraordinary relief. Petitioners were the defendants in a summary process action commenced in the district court by a bank. A judge found for the bank, and the Appellate Division affirmed. While their application for further appellate review was pending, Petitioners filed this Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition seeking relief from the district court’s denial of their motion to amend their answer to assert new defenses and counterclaims and to request a jury trial. A single justice denied relief on the ground that Petitioners had, and were pursuing, an avenue of relief in the ordinary appellate process. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioners’ claims could be and were raised in the ordinary appellate process. View "Costello v. Merrill Lynch Credit Corp." on Justia Law

Posted in: Civil Procedure

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying, without a hearing, Petitioner’s petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying extraordinary relief. Petitioner, who charged with several motor vehicle offenses, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on the ground that the police failed to file the citations in a timely manner. The motion was denied after an evidentiary hearing. Petitioner then filed this petition. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner did not meet his burden under S.J.C. Rule 2:21 of setting forth the reasons why relief could not adequately be obtained on appeal or by other available means. View "Quigley v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

Posted in: Criminal Law