Commonwealth v. TavaresAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the motion judge allowing Defendant's motion for a new trial after the trial court convicted him of murder in the first degree, holding that the motion judge did not abuse her discretion in concluding that counsel's assistance was constitutionally ineffective.
During the proceedings, counsel was informed of a proffer indicating that someone other than Defendant had gone to the victim's home on the evening of the killing and carrying the same caliber firearm as was used in the killing. In his motion for a new trial, Defendant argued that his counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to investigate the exculpatory evidence provided by the Commonwealth. The motion judge allowed the motion. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) use of the proffer evidence could have raised a reasonable doubt as to whether Defendant murdered the victim; and (2) therefore, the motion judge's denial of Defendant's motion for a new trial was an abuse of discretion.