Commonwealth v. PalermoAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court vacated Defendant's conviction of simple assault and threatening to commit a crime, holding that the criminal docket of one of Defendant's friends was improperly admitted as evidence against Defendant and that the jury was permitted to return a guilty verdict without reaching a unanimous consensus as to which facts supported that charge.
Defendant's convictions stemmed from a violent encounter among four men. During trial, the judge allowed into evidence a copy of the certified criminal docket in Defendant's friend's Charles's case, which reflected that Charles had pleaded guilty to assault by means of a dangerous weapon for an incident charged on the same day as the incident in which Defendant was charged. On appeal, Defendant argued that the certified docket sheet from Charles's case should not have been admitted and that the jury should have been given a specific unanimity instruction with respect to the offense of threatening to commit a crime. The Supreme Judicial Court agreed, holding that both claims constituted reversible error. The Court vacated the convictions and remanded the matter for a new trial.