Commonwealth v. RodriguezAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's conviction for murder in the first degree on the theory of extreme atrocity or cruelty, holding that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in ruling that Defendant's statements made to his doctors before and after the murder regarding his mental health were not admissible for their truth.
On appeal, Defendant argued that the trial judge erred in ruling that Defendant's statements to two doctors about his mental health were not admissible substantively and that the judge's instruction to the jury that they could not consider such statements for the truth of the matter was incorrect as a matter of law. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed and affirmed, holding (1) the judge did not err in ruling that the statements Defendant made to the doctors were not admissible for the truth of the matter or in instructing the jury to that effect; and (2) there was no reason for the Court to exercise its authority under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E to grant a new trial or to reduce or set aside the verdict of murder in the first degree.