Commonwealth v. LoyaAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's convictions of murder in the first degree and related crimes, holding that Defendant was not deprived of a meaningful defense due to the current law on criminal responsibility and that there was no reason to reduce the verdict under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 28, 33E.
At trial, defense counsel unsuccessfully claimed that a mental disorder caused Defendant to suffer delusions that compelled him to plan and commit the murder. On appeal, however, Defendant argued that the law on criminal responsibility made this defense not viable. Therefore, he argued he was deprived of a meaningful defense. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the trial judge did not commit reversible error by denying two motions filed by Defendant that advocated for a departure from the current la regarding the defense of a lack of criminal responsibility; and (2) while Defendant suffered from a qualifying mental disorder, he was nonetheless able to conform his actions to the law and to understand the wrongfulness of his actions.