Commonwealth v. MazzaAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the order of the superior court denying Defendant's motion for a new trial and set aside the jury's verdicts of first degree murder and robbery, holding that a recently discovered witness statement made to the police ago constituted newly discovered evidence that "would probably have been a real factor in the jury's deliberations."
At issue was Defendant's sixth motion for a new trial, which was predicated on newly discovered evidence consisting of, among other things, a recently discovered statement made to the police in 1972. The superior court denied the motion. As to the police statement, the judge found that it did not constitute newly discovered evidence because Defendant failed to establish that defense counsel did not have possession of it at the time of trial. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial, holding (1) Defendant sustained his burden of establishing that defense counsel did not have the 1972 police statement prior to or at trial, and therefore, the statement constituted newly discovered evidence; and (2) there was a substantial risk that the jury would have reached a different conclusion had the evidence been admitted at trial.