Commonwealth v. RichardsAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's conviction of murder in the first degree and the denial of his motion for a new trial and declined to exercise its authority under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E to reduce the verdict or order a new trial, holding that none of the errors during trial created a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice.
A jury found Defendant guilty of murder in the first degree on the theories of deliberate premeditation and extreme atrocity or cruelty. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) trial counsel erred by failing to engage a medical expert to opine on the voluntariness of Defendant's statements after surgery and on whether his waiver of Miranda rights was knowing and voluntary, but the error did not create a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice; (2) trial counsel was not ineffective for conceding certain points during closing argument; and (3) the trial judge erred in instructing the jury as to some issues, but the error did not create a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of prejudice.