Commonwealth v. CousinAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the court granting the Commonwealth's petition under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 and ordering that a certain superior court judge be recused from acting on Defendant's postjudgment motion to dismiss the indictments against him or for a new trial in his criminal case, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse her discretion.
Defendant was convicted of murder in the first degree. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the case for consideration of whether Defendant was prejudiced by trial counsel's potential conflicts of interest. On remand, Defendant moved to dismiss the indictments against him or for a new trial on the basis of Brady violations. The motion judge raised the question whether she could be impartial because the prosecutor had since been appointed as a superior cour judge and was now her judicial colleague. The Commonwealth subsequently filed a motion in support of recusal. The judge denied the motion, concluding that she could be fair and impartial. The Commonwealth filed a Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition. A single justice allowed the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the prudent and legally correct result under the circumstances was for the judge to recuse herself.