Commonwealth v. DewAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court vacated Defendant's convictions for five counts of trafficking a person for sexual servitude and a second and subsequent offense of possession of a class A substance with intent to distribute, holding that the conflict of interest inherent in counsel's bigotry against persons of Defendant's faith and race deprived Defendant of his right to effective assistance of counsel.
Defendant, a Black man of the Muslim faith, was appointed counsel who openly shared his hatred of and bigotry against people of the Muslim faith and his racism against Black persons. Counsel advised Defendant to accept a plea deal, which Defendant did. Defendant later filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea and for a new trial, arguing that his counsel had an actual conflict of interest. The motion judge denied the motion. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial, holding that Defendant met his burden to establish that counsel's representation of him was impaired by an actual conflict of interest.