Men get to spend rest of life in prison for murdering boy delivered by emergency C-section after one of them shot his motherBy adamg - 5/21/13 - 3:39 pm
The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld first-degree murder convictions for two men who decided to escalate an Orange Line staredown with a rival in 2003 by shooting him, only the guy with the gun missed and instead put a bullet into a woman whose baby was only two weeks from term.
The baby was delivered alive in an emergency Caesarian section, but died shortly after.
The state's highest court ruled Chimezie Akara and Andre Green got a fair trial and they can now spend the rest of their lives thinking about the evening of February 5, 2003, when they turned car 1205 on an inbound Orange Line train into a shooting gallery as it pulled into Mass. Ave.:
Court: Doctor not responsible for man's injuries caused when his patient suffered a seizure while driving and crashedBy adamg - 5/13/13 - 11:04 am
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that doctors' first responsibility is to their patients, not to the public at large.
The decision comes in suit by a man who wanted damages from a Mass. General neurologist whose patient suffered a seizure and crashed into him.
Richard Medina required multiple operations to repair the arm damage done in the 2001 crash and said Dr. Fred Hochberg should have done more to keep his patient, Robert Riskind, who had inoperable brain cancer, off the road:
Court: Cops should always cross their Ts in search-warrant requests, but failing to do so doesn't necessarily rule out drugs they findBy adamg - 5/8/13 - 11:15 am
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today Suffolk County prosecutors could use heroin seized from a Forest Hills home as evidence against three men charged with selling it, even though a BPD detective's request for a search warrant for the home wasn't really as detailed as it should have been.
Court tosses loaded gun found in glove box as evidence because the smell of pot not enough to search carBy adamg - 4/5/13 - 11:25 am
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a Boston police officer should not have searched the glove compartment of a car he had stopped in Dorchester because he failed to provide evidence he needed to search the car immediately to protect either his own or the public's safety.
The ruling upholds the decision of a Boston Municipal Court judge to disallow the gun and ammunition, which might make it tough for prosecutors to continue charging Clint Daniel and Alyson Tayetto with illegal possession of a loaded firearm with a defaced serial number and illegal possession of a large capacity feeding device.
Court: No First Amendment right to audio recordings of court proceedings when there's a printed transcriptBy adamg - 3/18/13 - 10:58 am
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a filmmaker making a documentary about a Somerville cop convicted of child rape has no right to a stenographer's audio recording of the trial because he was able to buy a copy of the official transcript she produced.
The Supreme Judicial Court today vacated an order that had prevented a British man from seeing the then 16-year-old Massachusetts girl with whom he had had a dalliance while she and her family were on a European vacation.
After the family returned to the US, the two continued exchanging romantic messages via e-mail and Skype - even after the girl admitted she was only 16 and not 18 - and Gregory James Compton, then 24, eventually booked a flight to Boston in October, 2011, to spend more time with his stateside sweetie.
But when the Essex County girl's father found out about that, he went to court and obtained a "prevention order" under the state's law on domestic abuse that barred the swain from going anywhere near the girl - an order served on him not long after he landed at Logan.
The judge who issued the order shouldn't have, the state's highest court ruled today.
The Supreme Judicial Court today ruled against a Canton company that makes padded hip protectors, saying a Harvard Medical School researcher did not libel it in a medical-journal article that said the devices did not seem to do much to protect the elderly from broken hips.
The state's highest court said HipSaver of Canton failed to prove that Dr. Douglas Kiel and his co-authors had written anything false in their 2007 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Kiel, a specialist in hip fractures among the elderly, was the lead reasearcher in an $8.4-million federally funded study, in which residents of nursing homes wore a hip protector on one hip but not the other. In their article, the researchers wrote it became so obvious the pads were failing to stop broken hips that they called off the study early.
The study did not include any HipSaver products, which the court said also doomed its claim, because Massachusetts defamation law requires proof a statement was aimed at the plaintiff:
Court: Massachusetts stores can't make you provide your Zip code to complete a credit-card transactionBy adamg - 3/11/13 - 11:33 am
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that a chain of arts and craft stores violated a state consumer-privacy law when it used a woman's Zip code on her credit-card transaction to figure out where she lived and start bombarding her with circulars.
The opinion, however, does not mean Melissa Tyler gets anything, because her suit against Michaels is in federal court and the state's highest court was merely providing answers about state consumer-laws to a federal judge hearing her case - where the ultimate decision will come.
UPDATE: Reactions from the DA's office and the victim's family in the comments below.
The Supreme Judicial Court today ordered a new trial for Lamory Gray, ruling the Heath Street gang member got an unfair trial before he was convicted of murdering somebody he thought was a member of the rival H-Block gang in 2006.
The court ruled a rap video, in which Gray was seen apparently pledging as a member of Heath Street, should not have been entered as evidence in his 2009 trial because it unfairly prejudiced the jury against him without having any direct connection to Herman Taylor's murder. Taylor was a Metco student who had nothing to do with gangs.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a state board was wrong to bar an embalmer from working in Massachusetts because he agreed to an interview with the Boston Phoenix.
In a ruling today, the state's highest court said the Board of Registration of Funeral Directors and Embalmers simply went too far in banishing Troy Schoeller for allegedly speaking in "an undignified and salacious manner about the condition of dead bodies."
The Supreme Judicial Court today dismissed a complaint by a teacher at a Newton Hebrew school that she was fired because of her age, saying the First Amendment prohibits government from interfering in how religious organizations teach their young.
Gaye Hilsenrath, who had been a part-time teacher at Temple Emanuel's Hebrew school for more than 24 years, filed an age-discrimination complaint with the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination when the school let her go in 2007 as part of an overall reorganization.
In its ruling today, the state's highest court said a US Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that gave religious organizations a "ministerial exception" to workplace bias complaints applied in Hilsenrath's case:
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that a Concord company's First Amendment rights weren't violated just because its landlord tried to evict it for non-payment of rent while it was negotiating with the town over getting rid of "85,000 yards of unscreened compost material."
Court: Sorry, but Roslindale man arrested over false accusation by extortionist cannot have his police, court records deletedBy adamg - 9/6/12 - 11:23 am
The Supreme Judicial Court today denied a Roslindale man's request to expunge court records showing he was arrested and arraigned on what turned out to be a bogus claim he'd used a gun to threaten a worker - who made up the whole story to try to extort money from him.
The court said the man, identified only by a pseudonym in its ruling, could, however, file a request to have the records of his arrest and court proceedings sealed, so that they could not legally be used to deny him a state job or shown to anybody.
In its ruling, the court described the start of the man's troubles:
Getting death threats after being libeled by the Herald not necessarily enough for a disability pension, court rulesBy adamg - 8/31/12 - 10:57 am
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that a former Superior Court judge is not entitled to a disability pension for the permanent psychiatric problems he says he suffered after receiving cartons of hate mail and death threats after Herald articles and a reporter's comments that were ultimately ruled libelous.
At issue was not whether Ernest Murphy had severe enough psychiatric problems to keep him from working as a judge, but whether he read the death threats - which came after a Herald reporter claimed on the Bill O'Reilly show the judge had told a rape victim to "get over it" - while performing his job as a judge. The court concluded he failed to produce evidence he had read them while working as a judge, even though he reported receiving them in his judicial chambers:
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a former executive at an Amazon subsidiary owes the state more than $320,000 - and interest - on Amazon stock he bought and then sold while living in the Back Bay.
Kenneth Dotson, originally a Florida resident, had argued he didn't owe the money on the $5.3 million he made selling the stock because he never intended to stay in Massachusetts and was in the process of moving to Florida.
The court, noting that Dotson had bought a condo in the Back Bay, had his mail delivered there, got a landline phone there, joined a local gym and obtained a subscription to an unnamed Boston newspaper, said he was most definitely a Massachusetts resident when he executed the options and sold the stock. Even though he was in the process of fleeing the state, he had not yet actually taken up residence again in Florida, the court said.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that two adopted brothers have no right to a share of their great-grandmother's estate because the legislature had no right to extend a 1958 law to treat adopted children the same as biological ones to wills written even earlier.
The ruling benefits the two men's sister, who is biologically related to Anna Bird, who wrote her will in 1941. She sued after the Bird trust's executor sent her a notice saying it would start paying her brothers shares of the trust because of a 2009 amendment to the law that applied it to all wills, regardless of when written.
The Supreme Judicial Court today upheld Neil Entwistle's convictions for killing his wife and infant daughter in their Hopkinton home, meaning that unless he can get a federal court to overturn the decisions, he will spend the rest of his life in prison without chance of parole.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today a commission investigating possible anti-police bias by a Boston judge cannot take a look at any memos or documents that might point to his thinking on his rulings and verdicts.
The commission had issued a subpoena to Boston Municipal Court Judge Raymond Dougan for "any notes, notebooks, bench books, diaries, memoranda, recordation or other written recollections," related to cases specifically mentioned in a complaint by Suffolk County DA Dan Conley and a lengthy Globe article.
But the state's highest court said the finality of verdicts is a cornerstone of American justice that could be undermined by using a judge's own writings to potentially impeach what he decided:
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that if Go-Best Assets Ltd. wants the $5 million disgraced lawyer Morris Goldings stole from it, it's going to have to go after him, rather than the bank from which he drained the money.
Court voids one same-sex marriage because one spouse had a civil union with somebody else in VermontBy adamg - 7/26/12 - 11:36 am
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that people joined under Vermont's old civil-union law first have to dissolve those bonds before they can marry somebody else in Massachusetts.
The ruling comes in a divorce case in which one of the parties discovered the other was still legally a partner with somebody else in a civil union in Vermont. That state has since ditched civil unions in favor of full marriages, but it did not automatically grant people in civil unions an upgrade to marriage status.
The state's highest court ruled a Vermont civil union was the equivalent of a marriage in Massachusetts and therefore falls under state laws against bigamy and polygamy.
Under Massachusetts law, polygamy is against public policy, and there is no good faith exception. Commonwealth v. Mash, 7 Met. 472 (1844) (ignorance of or honest belief about spouse's death no defense to crime of polygamy). The plaintiff has a spouse in Vermont; therefore, his marriage to the defendant was void ab initio [from the beginning] G.L. c. 207, § 8.
Dorchester man to get new trial for setting daughter on fire; court says admission to a psychiatrist shouldn't have been allowedBy adamg - 7/26/12 - 11:14 am
The Supreme Judicial Court today ordered a new trial for Dung Van Tran, who was sentenced to 50 years in prison for setting his 14-month-old daughter and himself on fire in what he claimed was a failed suicide bid not intended to harm her.
However Tran won't be walking free anytime soon. The ruling applies only to his conviction for assault with intent to murder; the court left standing his 40-50 year sentence for armed home invasion.
The court said the judge in the case shouldn't have allowed a psychiatrist who interviewed Tran during his hospital stay to testify on what he had said about the fire, because Tran never attempted to make his mental condition part of his defense - he claimed only that the severe burns on his daughter and two other people were an accidental byproduct of his self-immolation attempt.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that four men convicted of first-degree murder for the beating and stabbing death of Io Nachtwey in 2001 got a fair trial.
The ruling means the four men - all frequent visitors to the area behind the Harvard Square T stop, as was their victim - will spend the rest of their lives in prison for murdering Nachtwey on the train bridge across the Charles by the BU Bridge. Two other Pit habitues received reduced sentences in exchange for their testimony against the four.
The decision by the state's highest court lays out the legal arguments for ensuring the four will never see freedom again. But it also details the violent and sad lives of a group of homeless people who hung out at the Pit who decided to form a Harvard Square chapter of the Crips:
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today that if you're facing criminal charges and want a court-appointed lawyer, you're going to have to prove you really are indigent - and that if you live at home, your parents or even significant others will have to chip in.
The state's highest court made its rulings in two separate cases today.
A day after we learned the alleged final cost of the Big Dig, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled the way the then turnpike authority shifted toll revenues to Big Dig construction costs was perfectly legal.
A bunch of turnpike commuters had challenged the money shifting, arguing it amounted to an unconstitutional tax, because they were paying for a new road system they might not use.
Au contraire, the state's highest court ruled: It didn't think the use of turnpike money on the Big Dig was a tax, but even if it were, the fact that the legislature approved it made it OK
Because we conclude that the tolls collected by the authority on the MHS were fees, and because we conclude that they would still be constitutional excise taxes even if they were taxes, we affirm the dismissal of the plaintiffs' State constitutional claims.
The Supreme Judicial Court ruled today Saugus could charge a developer a special fee to connect to its sewer system.
At issue was whether the required payment was a fee, which towns can charge, or a tax, which they cannot, at least not without permission from the legislature.