Commonwealth v. SmithAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court remanded this matter to the county court for entry of an order dismissing the Commonwealth's gatekeeper petition filed under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E challenging the decision of the superior court judge granting Defendant's motion for postconviction relief and reducing his conviction, holding that the petition was untimely.
Defendant served forty-four years in prison for his conviction of murder in the first degree. In 2020, Defendant filed a postconviction motion to reduce the verdict from murder in the first degree to murder in the second degree on the grounds that the Commonwealth's 1978 package plea offer violated his right to due process. The motion judge granted the motion and, in 2021, reduced the verdict to murder in the second degree. The Commonwealth filed a notice of appeal but did not file the gatekeeper petition until five and one-half months later, exceeding the thirty-day time limit set out in Mains v. Commonwealth, 433 Mass. 30, 36 n.10 (2000). After a remand, the single justice allowed the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court remanded the matter for entry of an order dismissing the Commonwealth's gatekeeper petition, holding that, with respect to filing deadlines, the Commonwealth is subject to the limitations established in Mains.