Commonwealth v. ColonAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court Defendant's conviction of first degree murder and declined to exercise its extraordinary powers to grant relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E, holding (1) where a defendant facing trial on a charges of murder, sexual offenses against children, or rape requests individual voir dire on the issue of racial or ethnic prejudice and the defendant and the victim are of different such backgrounds, that request should be granted; but (2) a new trial was not required in this case.
Specifically, the Court held (1) Defendant was not denied the right to a fair and impartial jury when, after members of the jury were exposed to an extraneous influence, the judge did not excuse the entire jury; (2) while the trial judge erred by partially excluding Defendant from the subsequent voir dire of the deliberating jury, Defendant was not prejudiced; (3) Defendant was not deprived of his right to a fair and impartial jury when the judge denied Defendant's request for individual voir dire on questions of ethnic bias; and (4) the judge did not abuse his discretion in certain evidentiary rulings.