Commonwealth v. JonesAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant’s conviction for murder in the first degree on theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty, holding that the judge who conducted Defendant’s third competency hearing did not err in finding him competent to stand trial notwithstanding testimony from both prosecution and defense experts that he was not competent.
Defendant argued both prior to and during trial that he was not competent to stand trial due to an organic brain injury and a diagnosis of pervasive developmental disorder. Competency hearings were held before five different judges, and Defendant was found competent to stand trial at the first, third, fourth, and fifth hearings. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the judge who conducted the third competency hearing used the correct standard procedure to determine competency, appropriately placed the burden on the Commonwealth to prove competency by a preponderance of the evidence, and properly explained the reasons for his decision, and thus, there was no error in his determination of competency; and (2) a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, imposed on a developmentally disabled individual, does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.