Commonwealth v. SullivanAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the order of the motion judgment dismissing indictments against Derrick Gentry-Mitchell and Joseph Sullivan, Springfield police department officers, charging them with misleading investigators, holding that the indictments did not violate article 12 of the Declaration of Rights of the Massachusetts Constitution.
In dismissing the indictments charging misleading investigators, the motion judge, citing Commonwealth v. Barbosa, 421 Mass. 547 (1995), concluded that the indictments presented the possibility that Defendants might be convicted of a felony offense without first being indicted of the same by a grand jury because the indictments charged multiple acts in a single count. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed and remanded this case for further proceedings, holding (1) the indictments charged the essential crime of willfully misleading investigators to impeded the investigation of the same underlying event - the alleged assault of the victim by Defendants, who were off duty at the time; (2) the misleading statements constituted a continuing course of conduct actuated by a single, continuing impulse or intent, or general scheme to conceal that event; and (3) therefore, the indictments did not violate article 12.