Commonwealth v. SantiagoAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for murder in the first degree, holding that any claimed instructional errors did not give rise to a substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice and that Defendant did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel.
On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial court erred by failing to instruct the jury concerning a lack of criminal responsibility and mental impairment and erred by failing properly to instruct the jury that they could consider evidence of intoxication when determining whether a murder was committed with extreme atrocity or cruelty. Defendant further argued that trial court's failure to remedy the instructional errors deprived him of the effective assistance of counsel. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) there was no error in the jury instructions and, accordingly no substantial likelihood of a miscarriage of justice in counsel's handling of the instructions; and (2) there was no reason to reduce the verdict to one of murder in the second degree.