Garden v. Commonwealth

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Justia Opinion Summary

The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the court denying Petitioner's petition for extraordinary relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 seeking an order vacating Petitioner's plea to aggravated rape and dismissing the underlying indictment, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying relief.

The issues raised by Petitioner had all been raised and adjudicated through the normal appellate process. Petitioner then filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea. The motion was denied, and the Appeals Court affirmed. In this petition for extraordinary relief, Petitioner sought an order vacating his plea to aggravated rape and dismissing the underlying indictment. The single justice denied relief. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the superintendence power was not available as an additional layer of appellate review once all other avenues had been exhausted.

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NOTICE: All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports. If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 5571030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us SJC-12821 TYRONE GARDEN vs. COMMONWEALTH. April 22, 2020. Supreme Judicial Court, Superintendence of inferior courts. The petitioner, Tyrone Garden, appeals from a judgment of a single justice of this court denying his petition for extraordinary relief under G. L. c. 211, § 3. In substance, Garden sought an order from the single justice vacating his 2012 plea to aggravated rape and dismissing the underlying indictment, which was obtained after the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations. We affirm. The issues raised by Garden have all been raised and adjudicated through the normal appellate process. Garden filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea in the Superior Court in 2017, on the same grounds raised here. The motion was denied, and the defendant appealed. The Appeals Court affirmed the denial. See Commonwealth v. Garden, 93 Mass. App. Ct. 1108 (2018), cert. denied, 139 S. Ct. 1365 (2019). This court denied further appellate review. Commonwealth v. Garden, 480 Mass. 1107 (2018). It is well established that this court's superintendence power is not available as an additional layer of appellate review once all other avenues have been exhausted. See Tavares v. Commonwealth, 481 Mass. 1044, 1045 (2019); Fort v. Commonwealth, 455 Mass. 1006, 1007 (2009); Votta v. Police Dep't of Billerica, 444 Mass. 1001, 1001 (2005). "Our general superintendence power cannot be invoked simply to get another bite of the apple." Votta v. Commonwealth, 444 Mass. 1001, 1001 (2005).1 Garden also raised the statute of limitations issue in a prior petition pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, filed in an 1 2 The single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying relief. Judgment affirmed. Tyrone Gardner, pro se. Ellyn H. Lazar, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth. attempt to obtain interlocutory review of the denial of his motion to dismiss the indictment in Superior Court. We affirmed the denial of that petition on the ground that Garden's claims could be raised and decided during the ordinary course of trial and appeal. Garden v. Commonwealth, 460 Mass. 1018, 1019 (2011). To the extent the present petition can be viewed as a motion for reconsideration of that decision, the single justice was well within his discretion to deny it, as it was filed over seven years after the issuance of that opinion.
Primary Holding
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the single justice's judgment denying Petitioner's petition for extraordinary relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 seeking an order vacating his plea to aggravated rape and dismissing the underlying indictment, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying relief.

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