Commonwealth v. SimmonsAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice of the court denying the Commonwealth's petition pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 seeking review of, and relief from, the judge's discovery orders in a criminal case, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying relief.
Defendant pleaded guilty to several drug crimes. Defendant later filed a motion for a new trial seeking to withdraw his guilty pleas on the grounds that chemist Sonja Farak analyzed the drugs at issue while she was employed at the William A. Hinton State Laboratory Institute. The judge issued rulings related to the district attorney's obligations to review the facts related to Farak's performance and to disclose any exculpatory information to Defendant. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) produced thousands of pages of documents. The district attorney proposed to turn over all of the documents to Defendant without first reviewing them herself. The judge rejected this "open file" discovery approach, the Commonwealth filed the petition at issue. The single justice denied the petition on the merits. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the Commonwealth was not entitled to review as of right pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 in these circumstances.