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The Supreme Judicial Court examined whether several prosecutorial improprieties created a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice in the defendant’s conviction of first-degree murder. The SJC reprimanded several of the prosecutor’s tactics, including: referring to the defendant’s deceased girlfriend as the “victim” throughout trial; repeatedly inferring the defendant lacked masculinity for his inability to defend himself from his girlfriend without killing her; and characterizing the defendant as a “monster.” Observing the overwhelming evidence against the defendant, the SJC concluded that these transgressions did not give rise to a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice because it was unlikely the prosecutor’s conduct influenced the verdict. Therefore, the errors at trial did not did not necessitate a do over.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court addressed whether the Superior Court erred in denying a motion for mistrial after the jury had inadvertently reviewed a binder containing evidence that had not been admitted during the trial. After the trial judge conducted a voir dire examination of the jury, during which each juror confirmed he or she could disregard the contents of the binder for the deliberation, the trial judge impounded the initial jury slips and issued new ones. Reasoning the trial judge had sufficiently ascertained whether the jury could reach a verdict based on only the admissible evidence in making its findings, the Court upheld denial of the defendant’s motion for mistrial.
An article published by Suffolk University Law Review was cited twenty-four times in various briefs and court documents filed in the United States Supreme Court in the matter of Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins. The article, Antonin Scalia, The Doctrine of Standing as an Essential Element of the Separation of Powers, 17 Suffolk U. L. Rev. 881, 885 (1983), is a revised version of Justice Scalia’s remarks at the Ninth Donahue Lecture at Suffolk University Law School and can be found by clicking the link below.
While sitting for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, Justice Scalia took the time to speak with the Suffolk University Law School community about the relationship between the doctrine of standing and the separation of powers. Now, thanks to the work of our alumni and faculty, Justice Scalia’s lecture has been considered by parties in the United States Supreme Court. Justice Scalia’s lecture, held in March of 1983, was part of the Donahue Lecture Series, an annual series of lectures hosted by Suffolk University Law Review. This year’s lecture series begins on November 12, 2015, when New York Times Bestselling Author, James Bamford, will join Suffolk University Law Review for a discussion on Espionage, Eavesdropping, Edward Snowden and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
We are thrilled to see the work of our alumni pay dividends for Suffolk University Law Review over thirty years later. And we look forward to having this year’s lectures and publications be considered by future academics and advocates.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court addressed whether a former criminal defendant cleared of charges due to insufficient evidence could bring a claim against the Commonwealth for erroneous conviction under M. G. L. c. 258D. The Commonwealth’s erroneous conviction statute requires that the party bringing the claim to have been granted relief in a prior criminal proceeding “on grounds which tend to establish the innocence of the individual.” The Court held that, based on the circumstances before it, acquittal due to insufficient evidence in the underlying criminal proceeding tended to show actual innocence and that it was enough to permit a claim for erroneous conviction.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court considered whether a bank was entitled to equitable subrogation of a mortgage despite the availability of a legal remedy, specifically, a title insurance claim. The Court recognized that Massachusetts courts can exercise equitable jurisdiction despite the availability of legal remedies, but only when those remedies are inadequate and inappropriate. The Court held that the remedy at law available to the bank was inadequate and inappropriate to resolve fairly the issue between the parties and permitted the bank to pursue its equitable subrogation claim.
Generally, Massachusetts courts possess child custody jurisdiction pursuant to M. G. L. c. 209B when the Commonwealth is the child’s home state or when no other state qualifies as the child’s home state and when the best interests of the child indicate jurisdiction may be appropriate. For a state to qualify as a child’s home state, the child must have been in the care of a parent or person acting as a parent in that state for more than six months. Here, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court addressed whether the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court had jurisdiction over a refugee child who resided out-of-state for more than six months under the care of a federal agency. The Court held that because the federal agency did not qualify as a parent pursuant to Chapter 209B, the child lacked a home state. Furthermore, the best interests of the child indicated that the court could exercise jurisdiction.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court considered whether a person who entered a guilty plea or admitted to sufficient facts sufficient to prove to a sex offense, but whose case had been continued without a finding, was required to wear a GPS device pursuant to M. G. L. c. 265, § 47. Generally, that statute requires a person placed on probation for a sex offense to wear a GPS device for the probation’s duration. The Court held that the Legislature intended § 47 to apply only to those defendants placed on probation after a conviction of a sex offense, and that a judge is not required to enforce the statute’s protocols on those defendants whose cases are continued without a finding.
Please join Suffolk Law Review in welcoming New York Times Bestselling Author, James Bamford for a lecture and discussion on Espionage, Eavesdropping, Edward Snowden and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The lecture will take place on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 4 P.M. To attend, please come to the 4th floor at Suffolk Law School, 120 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02108.
Mr. Bamford BA’72, JD’75 is currently a columnist for Foreign Policy Magazine, a contributing editor of Wired magazine, a documentary producer for PBS, and a bestselling author. He is widely noted for his writing about U.S. intelligence agencies, especially the highly secretive National Security Agency. The New York Times has called him “the nation’s premier journalist on the subject of the National Security Agency.” And in a lengthy profile, The New Yorker referred to him as “the NSA’s chief chronicler.” His most recent book, The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA From 9/11 to The Eavesdropping on America, became a New York Times bestseller and was named by The Washington Post as one of “The Best Books of the Year.” It is the third in a trilogy by Mr. Bamford on the NSA, following The Puzzle Palace (1982) and Body of Secrets (2001), also New York Times bestsellers.
In September 2014 he wrote a cover story for Wired based on his three days in Moscow with fugitive NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the longest any journalist has spent with him there. In addition, he has written for the New York Review of Books, New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, Harpers, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. In 2006, he won the National Magazine Award for Reporting, the highest honor in the magazine industry, for his writing in Rolling Stone on the war in Iraq. He also writes and produces documentaries for PBS, including The Spy Factory, based on his most recent book, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2010.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court considered whether a defendant willfully misled police with the intent to impede a criminal investigation after police deliberately crafted a “sham investigation into a fake crime” in order to induce incriminating statements related to an underlying drug investigation. The court reasoned that the defendant could not have formed the intent to mislead police related to a fake investigation and reversed the defendant’s conviction.
Each year, Suffolk Law Review sponsors the Donahue Lecture Series, which attracts top legal scholars from around the world to speak with students about important legal topics.
This year’s speakers will be:
The lectures will be held at Suffolk Law School at 4:00 pm. Check back soon for information on each speaker and please be sure to follow us on Twitter or on Facebook for updates.
The United State Court of Appeals for the First Circuit addressed whether, pursuant to the Massachusetts long-arm statute, it had personal jurisdiction over a Kansas corporation and its president. The corporation and its president had contracted with a Massachusetts employee to perform services for the corporation, but those services took place outside of Massachusetts. The First Circuit determined that because the employee performed work from Massachusetts under his agreement with the corporation and because he worked out of a Massachusetts-based office registered by the corporation, the court could properly exercise personal jurisdiction under the “transacting business” clause of the Massachusetts long-arm statute.
The Massachusetts Appeals Court considered whether two defendants showed a reasonable expectation of privacy concerning their cell phone data after the Commonwealth had monitored defendants’ data for a period of about a week. The court noted that the duration of police surveillance is an important factor when determining whether an individual’s expectation of privacy was reasonable. The court ultimately determined that the week-long surveillance, which covered “both weekdays and weekends” of the defendants’ daily lives, violated the defendants’ reasonable expectations of privacy.