Explore our data on prosecutor error in Massachusetts

As part of The Eye’s investigation of prosecutorial missteps, we’re tracking cases in which Massachusetts courts decided that trial error or misconduct by a prosecutor warranted a new trial for defendants or vacating the charges. Here are the cases we’ve found so far, from 1980 through February 2017. The list of prosecutors’ names in the cases is partial, because courts rarely identify them in their reversal decisions, available trial records are incomplete, and our reporting resources are limited.

Do you know the missing identity of the prosecutor in any of the cases listed below, or have examples of other cases we missed? Please send information or court documents to info@necir.org.



Defendant Opinion Date Court citation case_url County / District Attorney’s Office Case history Decision summary Prosecutor Case Citation
Francisco Rojas 5/13/16 Appeals Court 89 Mass. App. Ct. 1123 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2860783-Francisco-Rojas-Appeals-Court-May-2016-order.html Essex In March 2012, Francisco Rojas was charged in Essex County with larceny of a motor vehicle. He was convicted in October 2013. The prosecutor impermissibly commented on the defendant’s character during closing argument. Mark Byron, the prosecutor in the Rojas trial, said he was unable to comment. He is now in private practice. 89 Mass. App. Ct. 1123
Amy B. Beltrandi 3/14/16 Appeals Court 89 Mass. App. Ct. 196 http://masscases.com/cases/app/89/89massappct196.html Hampshire In May 2012, Amy B. Beltrandi was charged by the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. She was convicted in October 2013. The prosecutor used an improper argument suggesting to the jury that a witness’s absence was favorably “convenient” for the defendant when the prosecutor knew the witness was out of state and unavailable. 89 Mass. App. Ct. 196
Jonathan Niemic 9/17/15 Supreme Judicial Court 472 Mass. 665 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/472/472mass665.html Bristol In December 2010, Jonathan Niemic was indicted in Bristol County on charges of first-degree murder on a theory of extreme atrocity or cruelty. He was convicted in June 2012. The decision cited “improprieties” in the prosecutor’s closing argument, including “a highly improper, emotionally charged discussion” characterizing the victim’s last moments. Niemec’s prosecutor was William McCauley, of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Thomas Quinn issued a statement: “I strongly disagree that there was any prosecutorial misconduct in this case. There is a clear distinction between human error and intentional misconduct,” 472 Mass. 665
Ronald Botelho Jr. 8/10/15 Appeals Court 87 Mass. App. Ct. 846 http://masscases.com/cases/app/87/87massappct846.html Bristol In July 2012, Ronald Botelho Jr. was charged in Bristol County with operating while under the influence of alcohol (OUI), second offense. The prosecutor’s closing argument focused the jury’s attention on the defendant’s decision not to testify. 87 Mass. App. Ct. 846
Gaetjens Alphonse 5/5/15 Appeals Court 87 Mass. App. Ct. 336 http://masscases.com/cases/app/87/87massappct336.html Plymouth In May 2012, Gaetjens Alphonse was charged in Plymouth County with assault and battery. The prosecutor’s remarks that the defendant had the opportunity to lie and tailor his testimony because he was not sequestered constituted reversible error. Alphonse’s prosecutor, David Cutshall, works for the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, where spokeswoman Beth Stone said, “We are not going to comment on matters of personnel.” 87 Mass. App. Ct. 336
Clyde Howard 10/2/14 Supreme Judicial Court 469 Mass. 721 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/469/469mass721.html Middlesex In March 2009, Clyde Howard was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of first-degree murder. He was convicted in February 2011. The prosecutor’s closing argument referred to the defendant’s statements to police after he invoked his right to silence, and also used character evidence against him in a “forbidden and prejudicial way.” John W. McEvoy Jr., who prosecuted Howard, currently works in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, which declined to comment on this case. 469 Mass. 721
Melissa Peck 7/16/14 Appeals Court 86 Mass. App. Ct. 34 http://masscases.com/cases/app/86/86massappct34.html Berkshire In November 2009, Melissa Peck was charged in Berkshire County with automobile insurance fraud. She was convicted in July 2011. The prosecutor improperly cross-examined the defendant, insinuating she had confessed to the crimes charged. 86 Mass. App. Ct. 34
Joshua Lewis 5/14/13 Supreme Judicial Court 465 Mass. 119 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/465/465mass119.html Norfolk In September 2006, Joshua Lewis was indicted in Norfolk County on charges of assault with intent to murder and various firearm charges. He was convicted in October 2007. The prosecutor’s repeated use of the term “street thug” in his closing argument was prejudicial, as were his reference to the “entire defense” as a “sham” and his accusation that the defense counsel was a liar. Robert Nelson Jr., who retired in 2012, did not respond to messages about his prosecution of Lewis. 465 Mass. 119
Samson Misquina 7/19/12 Appeals Court 82 Mass.App.Ct. 204 http://masscases.com/cases/app/82/82massappct204.html Suffolk In November 2008, Samson Misquina was charged in Suffolk County with assault and battery. The prosecutor’s closing argument included facts not in evidence, improperly bolstering the credibility of the alleged victim. 82 Mass.App.Ct. 204
Thaddeus L. Hughes 6/21/12 Appeals Court 82 Mass. App. Ct. 21 http://masscases.com/cases/app/82/82massappct21.html Berkshire In March 2008, Thaddeus L. Hughes was indicted in Berkshire County on charges of distribution of cocaine. He was convicted in January 2010. The prosecutor impermissibly suggested in his closing argument that “that the jury could conclude that the Commonwealth’s case was strong, because the defendant chose to put on witnesses even though he had no obligation to do so.” 82 Mass. App. Ct. 21
“Washington W.,” A Juvenile 5/10/12 Supreme Judicial Court 462 Mass. 204 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/462/462mass204.html Norfolk In December 2009, Washington W., a juvenile, was indicted in Norfolk County on charges of statutory rape of another minor. The prosecutor’s refusal to provide information that courts ordered to be disclosed was “deliberate, willful and repetitive.” The SJC determined that dismissal of the indictments with prejudice was an appropriate sanction in light of the prosecutor’s “egregious misconduct.” David Omiunu, who prosecuted Washington W., has served in the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office since 2001. Spokesman David Traub said the prosecutor should have moved to vacate the discovery order rather than refuse to produce the information, and that this information was produced after the S.J.C. ruling. 462 Mass. 204
Linrose Woodbine 3/28/12 Supreme Judicial Court 461 Mass. 720 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/461/461mass720.html Suffolk In April 2004, Linrose Woodbine was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of first-degree murder. He was convicted in October 2007. The prosecutor asked the jury in her closing argument to make an improper inference about the evidence against the defendant, which “substantially amplified” other errors in the trial. 461 Mass. 720
Steven Haggett 3/29/11 Appeals Court 79 Mass. App. Ct. 167 http://masscases.com/cases/app/79/79massappct167.html Plymouth In June 2008, Steven Haggett was indicted in Plymouth County on charges of rape and indecent assault and battery on a child. He was convicted in July 2009. The prosecutor impermissibly attempted to bolster the alleged victim’s credibility. 79 Mass. App. Ct. 167
Bernard F. Baran Jr. 5/15/09 Appeals Court 74 Mass. App. Ct. 256 http://masscases.com/cases/app/74/74massappct256.html Berkshire In November 1984, Bernard F. Baran Jr. was indicted in Berkshire County on charges of rape and assault of a child. He was convicted in January 1985. The prosecutor’s closing argument was impermissibly inflammatory. Daniel Ford is now a Superior Court judge. Ford’s conduct in the Baran trial “has been thoroughly reviewed and found to be fully consistent with the ethical responsibilities of a prosecutor in 1985,” wrote John Egan, his attorney, in a 2014 letter to the Boston Globe. Egan said that the state Bar Counsel investigated and found no violation against Ford. 74 Mass. App. Ct. 256
Jesus Silva-Santiago 5/15/09 Supreme Judicial Court 453 Mass. 782 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/453/453mass782.html Plymouth In September 2003, Jesus Silva-Santiago was indicted in Plymouth County on charges of first-degree murder. He was convicted in June 2006. The prosecutor misstated evidence in his closing argument, particularly by suggesting that two witnesses recognized the defendant as the shooter but were too frightened to say so. The prosecutor also mischaracterized testimony from a key witness as placing the defendant at the precise spot where the shooter first fired, when in fact the witness testified that she did not know where the defendant was at the time of the shooting. 453 Mass. 782
Stuart Merry 4/16/09 Supreme Judicial Court 453 Mass. 653 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/453/453mass653.html Suffolk In October 2007, Stuart Merry was charged in Suffolk County with negligent vehicular homicide. He was convicted in March 2008. The prosecutor failed to disclose — albeit unintentionally — a contrary opinion from an accident reconstruction expert, and made improper remarks in closing argument. 453 Mass. 653
Angel Ramos 3/13/09 Appeals Court 73 Mass. App. Ct. 824 http://masscases.com/cases/app/73/73massappct824.html Middlesex In December 2003, Angel Ramos was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of assault with intent to rape a child and indecent assault and battery. He was convicted in January 2007. The prosecutor improperly bolstered the victim’s credibility in his closing argument. Kevin Ryle, who prosecuted Ramos, currently works in the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, which declined to comment on this case. 73 Mass. App. Ct. 824
John R. Irwin 9/15/08 Appeals Court 72 Mass. App. Ct. 643 http://masscases.com/cases/app/72/72massappct643.html Norfolk In January 2004, John R. Irwin was charged in Norfolk County with indecent assault and battery of child. He was convicted in October 2005. The prosecutor suggested through cross-examination and her closing argument that the defendant’s failure to reach out to police and his delay in speaking to them was evidence of consciousness of guilt. 72 Mass. App. Ct. 643
Jameel Williams 3/24/08 Supreme Judicial Court 450 Mass. 894 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/450/450mass894.html Norfolk In August 2002, Jameel Williams was indicted in Norfolk County on charges of first-degree murder as well as armed assault with intent to murder. He was convicted in November 2003. The prosecutor’s closing argument was “replete with prejudicial improprieties,” which included vouching for the credibility of a prosecution witness who had been given a deal in exchange for testimony. Robert Nelson Jr., who prosecuted Williams and retired in 2012, did not respond to messages. 450 Mass. 894
Peter Stuckich 1/16/08 Supreme Judicial Court 450 Mass. 449 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/450/450mass449.html Norfolk In July 2003, Peter Stuckich was indicted in Norfolk County on charges of indecent assault and battery on his daughter. He was convicted in November 2005. The prosecutor improperly attacked the defendant’s character and requested that witnesses comment on the credibility of other witnesses. She also misstated evidence in her closing argument. 450 Mass. 449
Melvin B. Ewing 9/28/07 Supreme Judicial Court 449 Mass. 1035 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/449/449mass1035.html Barnstable In August 2002, Melvin B. Ewing was indicted in Barnstable County on charges of rape. He was convicted in November 2004. The prosecutor”s “egregious conduct” included urging the jury to discredit the defendant because he didn’t seek out police prior to trial to report his version of events, and suggesting that the defendant “used his access to the Commonwealth’s evidence before trial to conform his testimony falsely to fit the evidence.” Ewing’s prosecutor, Sharon Thibeault, currently works at the Cape & Islands District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Michael O’Keefe issued a statement by email: “Nowhere did the Appeals Court or the Supreme Judicial Court use the phrase ‘prosecutorial misconduct.’ All good and conscientious prosecutors review their trial strategies and actions with supervisors to determine how they might perform better and avoid whatever errors may have been made.” 449 Mass. 1035
Kevin S. Broomhead 10/13/06 Appeals Court 67 Mass. App. Ct. 547 http://masscases.com/cases/app/67/67massappct547.html Plymouth In April 2002, Kevin S. Broomhead was charged in Plymouth County with operating under the influence (OUI), second offense. He was convicted in December 2003. The prosecutor “infected the trial with prejudicial error” by suggesting the absence of certain witnesses undermined the defendant’s credibility. 67 Mass. App. Ct. 547
Stephen Ranieri 1/12/06 Appeals Court 65 Mass. App. Ct. 366 http://masscases.com/cases/app/65/65massappct366.html Middlesex In June 2002, Stephen Ranieri was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of operating under the influence. He was convicted in March 2004. The prosecutor questioned the arresting officer about the defendant’s refusal to take a field sobriety test after telling the judge that she would not introduce evidence about such refusal. 65 Mass. App. Ct. 366
John D. Beaudry Jr. 12/20/05 Supreme Judicial Court 445 Mass. 577 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/445/445mass577.html Hampshire In July 2000, John D. Beaudry Jr. was indicted in Hampshire County on charges of child rape. He was convicted in May 2002. The prosecutor’s closing argument referred to facts not supported by evidence, and also asked the jury to speculate. Jane Mulqueen, who prosecuted Beaudry, currently works in the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office. Pointing out that the Appeals Court initially upheld the conviction, Mulqueen issued a statement by email: “The defendant pled guilty before a retrial of the case could take place. No disciplinary action was ever taken or suggested.” 445 Mass. 577
Luis Vazquez 12/19/05 Appeals Court 65 Mass. App. Ct. 305 http://masscases.com/cases/app/65/65massappct305.html Bristol In January 2002, Luis Vazquez was charged in Bristol County with indecent assault and battery of two minors. He was convicted in March 2004. “Serious improprieties” in the prosecutor’s closing argument created a “substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice.” Efforts to reach Jennifer Rose, who prosecuted Vazquez, were unsuccessful. She no longer works at the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. 65 Mass. App. Ct. 305
Tyran Daniels 11/23/05 Supreme Judicial Court 445 Mass. 392 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/445/445mass392.html Hampden In November 1998, Tyran Daniels was indicted in Hampden County on charges of first-degree murder. He was convicted in August 2000. The prosecutor failed to provide “evidence specifically requested by the defendant that was clearly helpful to his defense.” 445 Mass. 392
Richard Harris 3/24/05 Supreme Judicial Court 443 Mass. 714 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/443/443mass714.html Middlesex In February 2002, Richard Harris was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of aggravated rape, kidnapping, intimidation of a witness, assault and battery, assault and battery on a public employee, and resisting arrest. He was convicted in February 2003. The prosecutor knew that the victim was a prostitute but suggested in her closing argument that there was no evidence the victim was a prostitute. Suzanne Kontz, who prosecuted Harris, currently works at the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office. The office declined to comment on this case. 443 Mass. 714
Josue Rivera 2/8/05 Appeals Court 62 Mass. App. Ct. 859 http://masscases.com/cases/app/62/62massappct859.html Hampden In December 2001, Josue Rivera was charged in Hampden County with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. The prosecutor’s improper question about the defendant’s “failure” to volunteer other witnesses and his reference in closing argument to the defense witness’s “failure” to report the incident to police, when considered together, were prejudicial to a fair trial. 62 Mass. App. Ct. 859
Brian Quinn 6/18/04 Appeals Court 61 Mass. App. Ct. 332 http://masscases.com/cases/app/61/61massappct332.html Worcester In November 2000, Brian Quinn was charged in Worcester County with operating while under the influence of alcohol. The prosecutor’s closing argument, by suggesting to jurors that they might be required to explain their verdict to someone outside the courtroom, was improper and prejudicial. 61 Mass. App. Ct. 332
Frank R. Hrabak 1/8/04 Supreme Judicial Court 440 Mass. 650 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/440/440mass650.html Essex In October 1998, Frank R. Hrabak was indicted in Essex County on charges of rape of a six year old boy. He was convicted in February 2000. The prosecutor, in the absence of expert testimony, made a factual statement concerning the flexibility of a child’s rectum, where this matter was of central importance. 440 Mass. 650
Kareed Baker 12/11/03 Supreme Judicial Court 440 Mass. 519 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/440/440mass519.html Suffolk In October 1996, Kareed Baker was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of murder. He was convicted in September 1997. The trial was “replete with evidentiary errors.” The prosecutor initially told the court that she wouldn’t argue the infant victim died after being slammed against a wall, so the trial judge denied the defense funds to hire an engineer to evaluate wall indentations. At trial, however, the prosecutor did argue that the defendant killed the baby by smashing him into a wall — giving the prosecution a strategic advantage over the defendant. The prosecutor also suggested in closing that a hair found in a wall indentation belonged to the infant, but presented no confirming evidence. Subsequent DNA testing determined the hair didn’t belong to the child. Pamela Wechsler, who prosecuted Baker, no longer works at the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office. She is now a television writer for CBS and novelist, and did not respond to questions. 440 Mass. 519
Ronald McCoy 9/15/03 Appeals Court 59 Mass. App. Ct. 284 http://masscases.com/cases/app/59/59massappct284.html Suffolk In December 1998, Ronald McCoy was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of possession of heroin with intent to distribute. He was convicted in April 2000. The prosecutor improperly disparaged the defendant’s character by emphasizing his friendship with a drug criminal, making statements “devoid of evidentiary basis in every material respect.” 59 Mass. App. Ct. 284
Charles Hiotes 6/3/03 Appeals Court 58 Mass. App. Ct. 255 http://masscases.com/cases/app/58/58massappct255.html Bristol In May 1998, Charles Hiotes was indicted in Bristol County on charges of rape. He was convicted in June 1999. The prosecutor’s closing argument was improper, including her assertion that defense counsel’s closing argument was based on prejudice against the mentally ill. 58 Mass. App. Ct. 255
Luis Maldonado 5/23/03 Supreme Judicial Court 439 Mass. 460 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/439/439mass460.html Norfolk In January 1999, Luis Maldonado was indicted in Norfolk County on charges of being an armed career criminal and illegal possession of a firearm. He was convicted in June 2000. The prosecutor impermissibly excluded a juror based on race. 439 Mass. 460
Tony Martin and Rudy Strickland 6/4/04 Supreme Judicial Court 442 Mass. 1002 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/442/442mass1002.html Suffolk In June 1999, Tony Martin and Rudy Strickland were indicted in Suffolk County on charges of cocaine distribution. They were convicted in August 2000. The prosecutor’s repeated references to one defendant’s alias “constituted a gratuitous, improper, and prejudicial attack on the defendant’s character and credibility.” 442 Mass. 1002
Rose M. Monson 4/28/03 Appeals Court 57 Mass. App. Ct. 867 http://masscases.com/cases/app/57/57massappct867.html Hampden In May 2000, Rose M. Monson was indicted in Hampden County on charges of cocaine possession with intent to distribute. She was convicted in November 2000. The judge had excluded from evidence hearsay statements that the police had received a tip that the defendant was selling drugs. The prosecutor impermissibly alluded to the hearsay. 57 Mass. App. Ct. 867
Lancie Andujar 3/6/03 Appeals Court 57 Mass. App. Ct. 529 http://masscases.com/cases/app/57/57massappct529.html Hampden In October 2000, Lancie Andujar was charged in Hampden County with cocaine distribution. While questioning a police officer, a prosecutor elicited “a prohibited comment” that intruded on the defendant’s right to remain silent. 57 Mass. App. Ct. 529
Joseph A. Fredette 10/11/02 Appeals Court 56 Mass. App. Ct. 253 http://masscases.com/cases/app/56/56massappct253.html Worcester In October 1992, Joseph A. Fredette was indicted in Worcester County on charges of molesting two children. He was convicted in July 1995. The prosecutor made a “sweeping proposition” in closing argument that victims of sexual abuse “commonly delay disclosure of that abuse and maintain relationships with their abuser” without any expert opinion to substantiate that assertion. 56 Mass. App. Ct. 253
Kevin M. O’Brien 10/1/02 Appeals Court 56 Mass. App. Ct. 170 http://masscases.com/cases/app/56/56massappct170.html Suffolk In March 2000, Kevin M. O’Brien was charged in Suffolk County with larceny of a snow plow truck. The prosecutor’s closing argued a fact that was not in evidence. She also improperly suggested that the jury should infer the defendant’s guilt from the existence of the charge against him. 56 Mass. App. Ct. 170
Winsome Brissett 9/16/02 Appeals Court 55 Mass. App. Ct. 862 http://masscases.com/cases/app/55/55massappct862.html Suffolk In January 1999, Winsome Brissett was charged in Suffolk County with assault and battery and assault by means of a dangerous weapon. The prosecutor improperly cross-examined the defendant about her pretrial silence. 55 Mass. App. Ct. 862
Ricky Coren 9/10/02 Supreme Judicial Court 437 Mass. 723 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/437/437mass723.html Suffolk In June 1996, Ricky Coren was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of first-degree murder. He was convicted in July 1997. The prosecutor’s “material misstatements of the evidence,” including repeated, unsubstantiated suggestions that the victim “was pleading with Coren not to shoot him” prior to the shooting, required a new trial. Robert Tochka, who prosecuted Coren, is now a Superior Court judge and vice chair of the state Commission on Judicial Conduct. He did not return messages. 437 Mass. 723
Granville Wynter 6/26/02 Appeals Court 55 Mass. App. Ct. 337 http://masscases.com/cases/app/55/55massappct337.html Suffolk In August 1997, Granville Wynter was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, as well as discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling. He was convicted in June 1998. The prosecutor’s “series of evocative and leading questions” were “crafted to imply, without proof, that the defendant had fired the shots” at issue. The court called the prosecutor’s cross-examination “the essence of improper interrogation.” Wynter’s prosecutor, Daniel Hourihan, currently works at the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. Hourihan said he cross-examined the defendant in good faith based on a police report and “didn’t do anything unethical.” He said that he is careful now to make his basis explicit when cross-examining a defendant. 55 Mass. App. Ct. 337
Richard R. Buzzell 12/10/01 Appeals Court 53 Mass. App. Ct. 362 http://masscases.com/cases/app/53/53massappct362.html Worcester In April 1998, Richard R. Buzzell was indicted in Worcester County on charges of rape of a child. The prosecutor, in his closing argument, repeatedly and impermissibly characterized evidence against the defendant as “uncontested.” These remarks “took on a particularly toxic character,” the court determined, in combination with references to the defendant’s failure to testify. 53 Mass. App. Ct. 362
Deborah O’Neil 3/16/01 Appeals Court 51 Mass. App. Ct. 170 http://masscases.com/cases/app/51/51massappct170.html Essex In August 1997, Deborah O’Neil was indicted in Essex County on charges of arson. She was convicted in March 1998. The prosecutor misrepresented an agreement with a key witness to present him as “selfless and inherently credible,” when in reality he was promised leniency in exchange for testimony. The Appeals Court considered the prosecutor’s “apparent misconduct” to be “disingenuous” and “arguably guileful.” Milton E. Cranney Jr., who prosecuted O’Neil, retired from the Essex County District Attorney’s Office in 2003 and is currently in private practice. Cranney declined to comment. 51 Mass. App. Ct. 170
Michael Hill 11/29/00 Supreme Judicial Court 432 Mass. 704 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/432/432mass704.html Hampden In January 1995, Michael Hill was indicted in Hampden County on charges of first-degree murder. He was convicted in January 1996. The prosecutor failed to disclose an agreement with a critical witness, even after the defense specifically requested any such agreements. 432 Mass. 704
Richard Rodriquez 6/8/00 Appeals Court 49 Mass. App. Ct. 370 http://masscases.com/cases/app/49/49massappct370.html Plymouth In February 1996, Richard Rodriquez was indicted in Plymouth County on charges of armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and unlawful posession of a firearm. He was convicted in March 1997. The prosecutor made a “calculated decision” in closing argument to emphasize that a witness to the crime was not called to testify on the defendant’s behalf, after the judge determined such an argument was impermissible. 49 Mass. App. Ct. 370
Tommy Calderon 3/10/00 Supreme Judicial Court 431 Mass. 21 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/431/431mass21.html Hampden In July 1996, Tommy Calderon was indicted in Hampden County on charges of unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition. The prosecutor improperly challenged a potential juror based on her race. 431 Mass. 21
Darren M. Lindsey 2/24/00 Appeals Court 48 Mass. App. Ct. 641 http://masscases.com/cases/app/48/48massappct641.html Berkshire In December 1996, Darren M. Lindsey was indicted in Berkshire County on charges of trafficking cocaine. He was convicted in June 1997. The prosecutor improperly vouched for witnesses, and also “corrupted the atmosphere of the trial” by improperly remarking on the “subculture” of drug dealers and making inflammatory remarks about Central American countries and police officers risking their lives. 48 Mass. App. Ct. 641
Alton Clarke 1/27/00 Appeals Court 48 Mass. App. Ct. 482 http://masscases.com/cases/app/48/48massappct482.html Suffolk In May 1995, Alton Clarke was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of aggravated rape and kidnapping. He was convicted in August 1997. The prosecutor’s closing argument to the jury improperly implied that the defendant’s silence was evidence of fabrication, and that his declining to answer further police questions constituted consciousness of guilt. 48 Mass. App. Ct. 482
Jose Luis Rendon-Alvarez 10/22/99 Appeals Court 48 Mass. App. Ct. 140 http://masscases.com/cases/app/48/48massappct140.html Essex In February 1995, Jose Luis Rendon-Alvarez was indicted in Essex County on charges of trafficking in cocaine in excess of 200 grams. He was convicted in September 1996. The prosecutor improperly argued the defendant’s silence as reflecting on the credibility of his testimony. 48 Mass. App. Ct. 140
George Awad 6/16/99 Appeals Court 47 Mass. App. Ct. 139 http://masscases.com/cases/app/47/47massappct139.html Worcester In April 1995, George Awad was indicted in Worcester County on charges of armed robbery and assault. He was convicted in April 1996. The prosecutor’s “inexcusable” closing argument — during which he made disparaging remarks about defense counsel and trivialized such principles as burden of proof and presumption of innocence — demanded a new trial. 47 Mass. App. Ct. 139
Paul Arnette Griffith 11/20/98 Appeals Court 45 Mass. App. Ct. 784 http://masscases.com/cases/app/45/45massappct784.html Hampden In September 1993, Paul Arnette Griffith was charged in Hampden County with distributing marijuana. He was convicted in January 1994. There were “multiple instances of prosecutorial misconduct,” including an inflammatory opening statement and remarks in closing argument that were not supported by the evidence. 45 Mass. App. Ct. 784
Edward H. Hubbard 8/5/98 Appeals Court 45 Mass. App. Ct. 277 http://masscases.com/cases/app/45/45massappct277.html Worcester In November 1994, Edward H. Hubbard was charged in Worcester County with simple assault and assault with a dangerous weapon. The prosecutor’s opening statement, closing argument, and questions during cross-examination contained statements without support in the admissible evidence. 45 Mass. App. Ct. 277
George E. Jones 7/29/98 Appeals Court 45 Mass. App. Ct. 254 http://masscases.com/cases/app/45/45massappct254.html Hampden In August 1989, George E. Jones was indicted in Hampden County on charges of breaking and entering, possession of burglarious implements, and willful and malicious damage to property. He was convicted in December 1989. The prosecutor improperly suggested in closing argument that the defendant had used the discovery process to tailor his testimony to the evidence. 45 Mass. App. Ct. 254
Christina Martin 7/15/98 Supreme Judicial Court 427 Mass. 816 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/427/427mass816.html Bristol In April 1990, Christina Martin was indicted in Bristol County on charges of first-degree murder. She was convicted in November 1992. The prosecutor failed to inquire about, obtain, and disclose the existence of potentially exculpatory laboratory tests. 427 Mass. 816
Charles L. Worcester 2/5/98 Appeals Court 44 Mass. App. Ct. 258 http://masscases.com/cases/app/44/44massappct258.html Suffolk In March 1993, Charles L. Worcester was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of first-degree murder. The prosecutor’s improper appeal to the sympathy of the jury in closing argument, impermissible use of criminal records, and argument of facts not in evidence, cumulatively constituted prejudicial error. 44 Mass. App. Ct. 258
Thomas West 1/15/98 Appeals Court 44 Mass. App. Ct. 150 http://masscases.com/cases/app/44/44massappct150.html Suffolk In February 1994, Thomas West was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm without a license. He was convicted in September 1994. The prosecutor’s “grave and numerous” transgressions in his closing argument made the court unable to conclude the defendant was given a fair trial. 44 Mass. App. Ct. 150
Luis Egardo 10/29/97 Supreme Judicial Court 426 Mass. 48 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/426/426mass48.html Suffolk In October 1990, Luis Egardo was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of drug trafficking. He was convicted in February 1991. The prosecutor improperly addressed the defendant’s postarrest silence in closing argument, which “unfairly and unconstitutionally impeached the defendant’s trial testimony.” 426 Mass. 48
Felix Santiago 7/21/97 Supreme Judicial Court 425 Mass. 491 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/425/425mass491.html Suffolk In August 1994, Felix Santiago was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of murder, armed assault, and firearm charges. He was convicted in June 1996. The prosecutor improperly argued highly inflammatory facts not in evidence in his closing argument, saying the defendant had used an 8-year-old as a shield in a shootout when no evidence supported that assertion. 425 Mass. 491
Michael Bennett 7/16/97 Appeals Court 43 Mass. App. Ct. 154 http://masscases.com/cases/app/43/43massappct154.html Worcester In April 1992, Michael Bennett was indicted in Worcester County on charges of unarmed robbery. He was convicted in October 1992. The Commonwealth withheld exculpatory evidence until after the defendant was convicted. 43 Mass. App. Ct. 154
Warren Demars 1/6/98 Supreme Judicial Court 426 Mass. 1008 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/426/426mass1008.html Hampden In September 1992, Warren Demars was indicted in Hampden County on charges of rape of a minor and assault and battery. He was convicted in June 1993. The prosecutor committed repeated instances of misconduct — including argument of a fact not in evidence, offering evidence previously excluded, improperly asking the defendant to comment on the credibility of a police witness, taunting the defendant, asking the defendant questions without any factual basis, and insinuating the defendant had a propensity to commit such crimes. 426 Mass. 1008
Gary E. Lavin 5/27/97 Appeals Court 42 Mass. App. Ct. 711 http://masscases.com/cases/app/42/42massappct711.html Middlesex In June 1995, Gary E. Lavin was charged in Middlesex County with operating under the influence (OUI). The prosecutor violated a pretrial agreement not to introduce certain evidence. 42 Mass. App. Ct. 711
John A. Meuse, Robert L. Stephens and Ronald Stephens 12/5/96 Supreme Judicial Court 423 Mass. 831 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/423/423mass831.html Essex In March 1992, John A. Meuse, Robert L. Stephens and Ronald Stephens were indicted in Essex County on charges of armed robbery while masked, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, and possession of a firearm without an identification card. They were convicted in February 1993. The prosecutor improperly vouched for the credibility of a witness who testified under a plea agreement. 423 Mass. 831
Gail C. Seymour 1/24/96 Appeals Court 39 Mass. App. Ct. 672 http://masscases.com/cases/app/39/39massappct672.html Essex In July 1993, Gail C. Seymour was charged in Essex County with driving under the influence. The prosecutor improperly argued that the defendant’s refusal to take a breathalyzer test demonstrated consciousness of guilt, and commented on her alleged failure to cooperate with police in her closing argument. 39 Mass. App. Ct. 672
Ruddy Lara 12/19/95 Appeals Court 39 Mass. App. Ct. 546 http://masscases.com/cases/app/39/39massappct546.html Suffolk In September 1990, Ruddy Lara was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of trafficking cocaine. The prosecutor’s “persistent injection of irrelevant references to the ethnicity of the defendant,” the court determined, “served no apparent purpose other than to play on the fears and possible prejudices of the jury.” 39 Mass. App. Ct. 546
Joseph Loguidice 6/8/95 Supreme Judicial Court 420 Mass. 453 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/420/420mass453.html Middlesex In June 1991, Joseph Loguidice was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of rape of a child under sixteen years by force. He was convicted in November 1992. The prosecutor twice misstated evidence in her closing argument. Martha Coakley, who prosecuted Loguidice, later served as district attorney for Middlesex County and state attorney general. “I’ve always prided myself — both as an assistant district attorney and as D.A. — on being fair. Sometimes the courts reach a different conclusion,” Coakley said in a phone interview. She acknowledged at the time of the appeal that one of her statements was an error, but maintains that the other was a reasonable inference. 420 Mass. 453
Edward Lorette 5/28/96 Supreme Judicial Court 422 Mass. 1014 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/422/422mass1014.html Berkshire In November 1990, Edward Lorette was indicted in Berkshire County on charges of rape and abuse of a child. The prosecutor impermissibly appealed to the emotions of the jury in closing argument. 422 Mass. 1014
Thomas Carleton 11/10/94 Supreme Judicial Court 418 Mass. 773 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/418/418mass773.html Middlesex In September 1992, Thomas Carleton was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of criminal contempt for violating an injunction issued by a judge against obstructing access to abortion facilities. He was convicted in December 1992. The prosecutor improperly challenged three jurors based on their ethnicity. 418 Mass. 773
Ronald E. Burnett 11/10/94 Supreme Judicial Court 418 Mass. 769 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/418/418mass769.html Suffolk In March 1990, Ronald E. Burnett was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of robbery, assault and battery, and threatening to commit assault and battery. The prosecutor impermissibly challenged a prospective juror on the basis of his race. 418 Mass. 769
Jeffrey W. Kines 10/24/94 Appeals Court 37 Mass. App. Ct. 540 http://masscases.com/cases/app/37/37massappct540.html Norfolk In November 1990, Jeffrey W. Kines was charged in Norfolk County with assault and battery on a police officer. The prosecutor injected a “non-existent racial issue” into his closing argument, and also asked the defendant to assess the credibility of a police officer with a conflicting account of the incident in question. 37 Mass. App. Ct. 540
Bruce Turner 10/5/94 Appeals Court 37 Mass. App. Ct. 385 http://masscases.com/cases/app/37/37massappct385.html Middlesex In December 1990, Bruce Turner was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. He was convicted in July 1992. The prosecutor threatened two witnesses, as a result of which they refused to testify on behalf of the defendant. 37 Mass. App. Ct. 385
Adam Kelly 3/11/94 Supreme Judicial Court 417 Mass. 266 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/417/417mass266.html Middlesex In May 1991, Adam Kelly was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of carrying a firearm without a license. He was convicted in February 1992. The prosecutor’s closing argument “contained improper comments that could have influenced the jury to return their verdict.” 417 Mass. 266
John Powers 2/17/94 Appeals Court 36 Mass. App. Ct. 65 http://masscases.com/cases/app/36/36massappct65.html Suffolk In March 1991, John Powers was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of indecent assault and battery upon a child. The prosecutor improperly questioned witnesses. 36 Mass. App. Ct. 65
Norman A. Sasville Jr 7/23/93 Appeals Court 35 Mass. App. Ct. 15 http://masscases.com/cases/app/35/35massappct15.html Plymouth In April 1990, Norman A. Sasville Jr was indicted in Plymouth County on charges of rape of a child under sixteen years of age. He was convicted in August 1991. The district attorney’s office allowed the destruction of potentially exculpatory evidence — tissue from an aborted fetus — making the defendant unable to conduct blood tests to establish his nonpaternity. 35 Mass. App. Ct. 15
William Pavao 6/11/93 Appeals Court 34 Mass. App. Ct. 577 http://masscases.com/cases/app/34/34massappct577.html Bristol In December 1987, William Pavao was indicted in Bristol County on charges of second-degree murder. The prosecutor’s misstatements of evidence during his closing argument were “intentional and prejudicial.” 34 Mass. App. Ct. 577
Ermides Martinez 2/17/93 Appeals Court 34 Mass. App. Ct. 131 http://masscases.com/cases/app/34/34massappct131.html Middlesex In December 1990, Ermides Martinez was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of rape. The prosecutor “pummel[ed] the defendant with improper questions” during cross-examination, particularly by asking about his failure to come forward and provide statements, hair samples, blood samples, and the underwear he was wearing on the evening in question. 34 Mass. App. Ct. 131
Michael H. Kowalski 7/23/92 Appeals Court 33 Mass. App. Ct. 49 http://masscases.com/cases/app/33/33massappct49.html Hampshire In June 1985, Michael H. Kowalski was indicted in Hampshire County on charges of rape. The prosecutor improperly sought in his closing argument to have the jury draw an inference of guilt from the fact that the defendant remained silent until he testified and had the opportunity to read the complainant’s statement. 33 Mass. App. Ct. 49
Daniel F. Vaughn 4/24/92 Appeals Court 32 Mass. App. Ct. 435 http://masscases.com/cases/app/32/32massappct435.html Plymouth In August 1986, Daniel F. Vaughn was indicted in Plymouth County on charges of burglary and arson. He was convicted in April 1987. The prosecutor failed to disclose a material change in testimony by one of the police officers who investigated the crime scene, behavior the court found “amounts to much more than a mere error of judgment or an instance of inadvertence or carelessness by the prosecutor.” 32 Mass. App. Ct. 435
David W. Tucceri 4/9/92 Supreme Judicial Court 412 Mass. 401 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/412/412mass401.html Middlesex In June 1978, David W. Tucceri was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of rape, kidnapping, robbery, mayhem and assault and battery. He was convicted in October 1978. The prosecutor failed to disclose a potentially exculpatory mugshot. J. William Codinha, who prosecuted Tucceri and is now in private practice, was nominated to the state Judicial Nominating Commission in 2013. In a brief phone interview, Codinha said he didn’t remember the case, out of the many he prosecuted. He didn’t respond to subsequent questions. 412 Mass. 401
Thomas Rosa Jr. 3/9/92 Supreme Judicial Court 412 Mass. 147 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/412/412mass147.html Suffolk In February 1986, Thomas Rosa Jr. was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, and aggravated rape. The prosecutor’s closing argument improperly urged the jury to use testimony admitted for the limited purpose of impeaching a witness as substantive evidence to cast doubt on the defendant’s alibi and to support an eyewitness identification. 412 Mass. 147
Larry Mathews 11/20/91 Appeals Court 31 Mass. App. Ct. 564 http://masscases.com/cases/app/31/31massappct564.html Suffolk In June 1988, Larry Mathews was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of sexual assault. He was convicted in May 1989. The prosecutor’s peremptory challenge of a black juror was improperly based on race. The court also ruled that his closing argument improperly charged the jury to convict the defendant as “the conscience of the community,” rather than as impartial fact-finders. 31 Mass. App. Ct. 564
Oliver F. Beauchemin 5/20/91 Supreme Judicial Court 410 Mass. 181 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/410/410mass181.html Norfolk In January 1989, Oliver F. Beauchemin was charged in Norfolk County with assault and battery on a child over the age of fourteen, and of being a lewd, wanton and lascivious person. He was convicted in January 1990. The prosecutor took unfair advantage of three defense witnesses, and improperly characterized their testimony as “rehearsed” in his closing argument. 410 Mass. 181
John Thomas McLeod 5/7/91 Appeals Court 30 Mass. App. Ct. 536 http://masscases.com/cases/app/30/30massappct536.html Hampshire In July 1988, John Thomas McLeod was indicted in Hampshire County on charges of aggravated rape and kidnapping. The prosecutor unfairly exploited the victim’s expression of emotion in his closing argument by telling the jury that it was a “tragedy” and that the victim “had to take the witness stand, sobbing and hysterical, and [had] to explain her whole humiliation in public.” 30 Mass. App. Ct. 536
Stacey Harris 3/6/91 Supreme Judicial Court 409 Mass. 461 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/409/409mass461.html Middlesex In March 1987, Stacey Harris was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of murder in the second degree. The prosecutor’s challenge of a juror was “suffused” with “racial and gender-based overtonees.” 409 Mass. 461
Stanley James McMiller 10/17/90 Appeals Court 29 Mass. App. Ct. 392 http://masscases.com/cases/app/29/29massappct392.html Middlesex In June 1986, Stanley James McMiller was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of drug trafficking. The prosecutor refused to disclose the identity of an informant, and then threatened the informant with prosecution if she testified. 29 Mass. App. Ct. 392
Willie Ward 2/23/90 Appeals Court 28 Mass. App. Ct. 292 http://masscases.com/cases/app/28/28massappct292.html Suffolk In April 1986, Willie Ward was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of armed robbery and assault and battery by means of dangerous weapons, a handgun and a sharp instrument. The prosecutor’s closing argument “played impermissibly on the jury’s emotions and pandered to their fears.” 28 Mass. App. Ct. 292
Leon R. Gallego 8/18/89 Appeals Court 27 Mass. App. Ct. 714 http://masscases.com/cases/app/27/27massappct714.html Suffolk In July 1987, Leon R. Gallego was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of trafficking in cocaine. The prosecutor attempted to “sway the jury toward conviction” by appealing to public anxiety, and tried to take advantage of “any xenophobic feelings that might be latent in the jury.” 27 Mass. App. Ct. 714
Lawrence Hudson 7/14/88 Appeals Court 26 Mass. App. Ct. 936 http://masscases.com/cases/app/26/26massappct936.html Suffolk Lawrence Hudson was charged in Suffolk County with unlawfully carrying a firearm. The prosecutor “improperly inquired, without objection, about the defendant’s failure to tell his exculpatory story to the police following his arrest.” 26 Mass. App. Ct. 936
Gregory Salone 7/8/88 Appeals Court 26 Mass. App. Ct. 926 http://masscases.com/cases/app/26/26massappct926.html Hampden Gregory Salone was indicted in Hampden County on charges of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and witness intimidation. The prosecutor’s theme in cross-examination and in his closing argument that the defendant had a “bad temper” was prejudicial. 26 Mass. App. Ct. 926
Barbara A. Cameron 3/30/88 Appeals Court 25 Mass. App. Ct. 538 http://masscases.com/cases/app/25/25massappct538.html Middlesex In February 1986, Barbara A. Cameron was charged in Middlesex County with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor. Prosecutors and police failed to properly respond to the defendant’s inquiries about a potentially exculpatory video of her booking, such that the defendant was prejudiced by its loss or destruction. 25 Mass. App. Ct. 538
Johnnie H. Person 6/1/87 Supreme Judicial Court 400 Mass. 136 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/400/400mass136.html Hampden In August 1982, Johnnie H. Person was indicted in Hampden County on charges of second-degree murder. The prosecutor’s closing argument included improper remarks about the defendant’s trial conduct. The court also ruled that the prosecutor’s suggestion that the jury should draw an inference of guilt from the defendant’s decision to consult an attorney promptly after the shooting was prejudicial. 400 Mass. 136
Holly Kozec 3/24/87 Supreme Judicial Court 399 Mass. 514 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/399/399mass514.html Essex In September 1983, Holly Kozec was indicted in Essex County on charges of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon upon a person 65 years of age or older. She was convicted in August 1984. The prosecutor improperly used evidence and arguments to portray the defendant “as a prostitute with a background as a jello wrestler” and as someone who “showed guilt by being sorry in the courtroom. None of this was proper.” Kozec’s prosecutor, Howard Whitehead, became a judge in 1993. After retiring from the bench in 2014, he joined the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office as special counsel. Judge Whitehead believes he was arguing the evidence appropriately in the Kozec case. “For years after and still today, I tell ADAs and defense counsel that before making closing, they should read Kozec,” he said in a phone interview. 399 Mass. 514
David Young Jr. 3/24/87 Supreme Judicial Court 399 Mass. 527 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/399/399mass527.html Suffolk In March 1977, David Young Jr. was indicted in Suffolk County for the murder of two brothers. He was convicted in March 1985. The prosecutor’s closing argument improperly urged the jury to draw adverse inferences because the defendant sat impassively during the trial. 399 Mass. 527
Robert N. Clark 1/13/87 Appeals Court 23 Mass. App. Ct. 375 http://masscases.com/cases/app/23/23massappct375.html Hampshire In January 1985, Robert N. Clark was indicted in Hampshire County on charges of assault and battery as well as breaking and entering. It was improper for the prosecutor to introduce evidence of the complainant’s “character for truthfulness.” 23 Mass. App. Ct. 375
James J. Gallarelli 1/12/87 Supreme Judicial Court 399 Mass. 17 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/399/399mass17.html Suffolk In January 1983, James J. Gallarelli was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. The prosecutor failed to obtain and disclose a potentially exculpatory forensic report. 399 Mass. 17
Charles S. Gliniewicz and John A. Durning Jr. 12/9/86 Supreme Judicial Court 398 Mass. 744 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/398/398mass744.html Plymouth In April 1982, Charles S. Gliniewicz and John A. Durning Jr. were indicted in Plymouth County on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, as well as breaking and entering. The prosecutor violated a pretrial written agreement by ordering forensic testing that destroyed evidence so that comparable testing by the defense was no longer possible. 398 Mass. 744
Haven Triplett 11/18/86 Supreme Judicial Court 398 Mass. 561 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/398/398mass561.html Hampden In July 1984, Haven Triplett was indicted in Hampden County on charges of first-degree murder. He was convicted in January 1985. The prosecutor improperly used evidence of prior misconduct to demonstrate that the defendant was violent and dangerous, and repeatedly asked improper questions during cross-examination of the defendant. 398 Mass. 561
Steven A. Schatvet 11/12/86 Appeals Court 23 Mass. App. Ct. 130 http://masscases.com/cases/app/23/23massappct130.html Bristol In May 1984, Steven A. Schatvet was charged in Bristol County with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. The prosecutor’s cross-examination invited jurors to infer that the defendant refrained from calling potential witnesses because he knew their testimony would be damaging. 23 Mass. App. Ct. 130
Phillip Pullum 7/7/86 Appeals Court 22 Mass. App. Ct. 485 http://masscases.com/cases/app/22/22massappct485.html Suffolk In December 1983, Phillip Pullum was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of breaking and entering. The prosecutor’s closing argument “asked the jury to draw inferences from the defendant’s deportment at trial which the record does not justify” and also “underlined the defendant’s failure to testify.” 22 Mass. App. Ct. 485
Neal F. Sevieri 3/27/86 Appeals Court 21 Mass. App. Ct. 745 http://masscases.com/cases/app/21/21massappct745.html Suffolk In December 1983, Neal F. Sevieri was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of assault with intent to rape. He was convicted in October 1984. The prosecutor impermissibly appealed to the emotions and fears of the jurors in his closing argument. 21 Mass. App. Ct. 745
Richard L. Bassett and Joseph S. Walmsley 3/24/86 Appeals Court 21 Mass. App. Ct. 713 http://masscases.com/cases/app/21/21massappct713.html Barnstable In September 1984, Richard L. Bassett and Joseph S. Walmsley were indicted in Barnstable County on charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Walmsley was also indicted for assault with attempt to rape. The prosecutor’s improper arguments presented a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice. 21 Mass. App. Ct. 713
Michael Donahue 1/21/86 Supreme Judicial Court 396 Mass. 590 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/396/396mass590.html Berkshire In July 1979, Michael Donahue was charged in Berkshire County with masked armed robbery. The prosecutor failed to attempt to obtain exculpatory evidence: reports of interviews with a potential alibi witness. 396 Mass. 590
Willie Miles Johnson 10/8/85 Appeals Court 21 Mass. App. Ct. 28 http://masscases.com/cases/app/21/21massappct28.html Hampden In December 1981, Willie Miles Johnson was indicted in Hampden County on charges of assault and battery, threatening to commit murder, and various firearm charges. He was convicted in March 1982. The prosecutor failed to disclose evidence suggesting a key witness testified in expectation of receiving favorable disposition of pending criminal charges. Henry Rigali, who prosecuted Johnson, currently works in the Hampden County District Attorney’s Office. Governor Mitt Romney attempted to appoint Rigali to the bench in 2005, but withdrew his name upon opposition from the nominating panel. Rigali said he was cleared of any misconduct upon investigation by the state Board of Bar Overseers. “Had the case been properly investigated the reversal would never have occurred,” Rigali said by email. 21 Mass. App. Ct. 28
Raphael Cancel 4/17/85 Supreme Judicial Court 394 Mass. 567 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/394/394mass567.html Hampden In September 1982, Raphael Cancel was indicted in Hampden County on charges of arson. The prosecutor’s improper reference in closing argument to the defendant’s lack of an alibi defense was prejudicial in combination with other errors in the trial. 394 Mass. 567
Craig Yelle 3/12/85 Appeals Court 19 Mass. App. Ct. 465 http://masscases.com/cases/app/19/19massappct465.html Hampden In April 1982, Craig Yelle was indicted in Hampden County on charges of rape. The prosecutor’s “overreaching” consisted of questioning a witness about an irrelevant event in a manner that was “calculated to create unfair prejudice.” 19 Mass. App. Ct. 465
James T. Long 4/5/84 Appeals Court 17 Mass. App. Ct. 707 http://masscases.com/cases/app/17/17massappct707.html Norfolk In January 1982, James T. Long was indicted in Norfolk County on charges of second-degree murder. In “at least a hundred improper questions,” the prosecutor attempted to “tempt the defendant to comment on inconsistencies between his testimony and that of the other witnesses.” 17 Mass. App. Ct. 707
Robert B. Haraldstad and Michael J. Purcell 8/25/83 Appeals Court 16 Mass. App. Ct. 565 http://masscases.com/cases/app/16/16massappct565.html Plymouth In November 1980, Robert B. Haraldstad and Michael J. Purcell were indicted in Plymouth County on charges of rape and assault by means of a dangerous weapon. The prosecutor “exploited the absence of evidence he had succeeded in excluding” in his closing argument, a tactic the court characterized as “reprehensible.” 16 Mass. App. Ct. 565
Barbara Felton 5/20/83 Appeals Court 16 Mass. App. Ct. 63 http://masscases.com/cases/app/16/16massappct63.html Middlesex In October 1981, Barbara Felton was charged in Middlesex County with assault by means of a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a police officer. The prosecutor broke a promise not to impeach the defendant’s credibility with her prior convictions. 16 Mass. App. Ct. 63
Abdul J. Mahdi 4/8/83 Supreme Judicial Court 388 Mass. 679 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/388/388mass679.html Hampden In January 1968, Abdul J. Mahdi was indicted in Hampden County on charges of murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and armed robbery. He was convicted in May 1968. The prosecutor’s inflammatory references to the defendant’s racial origins and religious beliefs in his cross-examination of the defendant and in his closing argument were improper since no evidence was presented to indicate that the crimes were motivated by racial hatred or religious fanaticism. 388 Mass. 679
Stephen E. Smith 1/11/83 Supreme Judicial Court 387 Mass. 900 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/387/387mass900.html Middlesex In January 1979, Stephen E. Smith was indicted in Middlesex County on charges of first-degree murder, arson and armed robbery. He was convicted in February 1980. The “deliberate, repeated, and improper tactics used by this experienced prosecutor created a significant danger of prejudice to the defendant.” J. William Codinha, who prosecuted Smith and is now in private practice, was nominated to the state Judicial Nominating Commission in 2013. In a brief phone interview, Codinha said he didn’t remember the case, out of the many he prosecuted. He didn’t respond to subsequent questions. 387 Mass. 900
Vincent Francis Collins 4/29/82 Supreme Judicial Court 386 Mass. 1 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/386/386mass1.html Hampden In October 1975, Vincent Francis Collins was indicted in Hampden County on charges of robbery and first-degree murder. He was convicted in April 1976. The prosecutor failed to disclose an agreement with the key prosecution witness and told the jury in a “blatant misrepresentation” that there was nothing he or the Commonwealth could do for the key cooperating witness. 386 Mass. 1
Charles Mosby 12/12/80 Appeals Court 11 Mass. App. Ct. 1 http://masscases.com/cases/app/11/11massappct1.html Suffolk In April 1979, Charles Mosby was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of rape. In a “grossly improper” closing argument, the prosecutor suggested the defendant’s silence in the face of allegations was evidence of his guilt. 11 Mass. App. Ct. 1
Aaron Dirgo 6/21/16 Supreme Judicial Court 474 Mass. 1012 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/474/474mass1012.html Hampden In July 2011, Aaron Dirgo was indicted in Hampden County on charges of aggravated rape and abuse of a child, as well as indecent assault and battery on a child under fourteen years of age. He was convicted in June 2013. Improper statements in the prosecutor’s closing argument created a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice. Eileen Sears, who prosecuted Dirgo, didn’t return messages seeking comment. 474 Mass. 1012
Mack A. McCray 5/28/96 Appeals Court 40 Mass. App. Ct. 936 http://masscases.com/cases/app/40/40massappct936.html Suffolk In October 1992, Mack A. McCray was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of rape. He was convicted in March 1994. The prosecutor made a “forbidden inference” by suggesting that the defendant changed his story to conform it to the testimony of the complainant. 40 Mass. App. Ct. 936
George E. Hogan 11/25/81 Appeals Court 12 Mass. App. Ct. 646 http://masscases.com/cases/app/12/12massappct646.html Suffolk In April 1990, George E. Hogan was charged in Suffolk County with assault with intent to commit murder and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. The prosecutor “intentionally elicited […] prejudicial testimony” during questioning of the victim, and impermissibly labelled the defendant as a “hitman” during closing argument. 12 Mass. App. Ct. 646
Michael Karnes 4/25/07 Appeals Court 68 Mass. App. Ct. 1118 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106690-Michael-Karnes-Appeals-128-clean.html Norfolk In June 2004, Michael Karnes was indicted in Norfolk County on charges of assault and battery of a correction officer. He was convicted in Feburary 2005. The prosecutor elicited testimony in violation of the judge’s directive, and made an inflammatory remark in closing argument. 68 Mass. App. Ct. 1118
Melvin E. Sanders 5/11/09 Appeals Court 74 Mass. App. Ct. 1110 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106718-Melvin-Sanders-Appeals-128-clean.html Hampden In 2003, Melvin E. Sanders was charged in Hampden County with distribution of crack cocaine. The prosecutor pursued an “improper line of questioning” and highlighted prejudicial information about the defendant in closing argument. 74 Mass. App. Ct. 1110
Eduardo Alvarez 6/19/06 Appeals Court 66 Mass. App. Ct. 1112 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106745-Eduardo-Alvarez-Appeals-128-clean.html Hampden Eduardo Alvarez was charged in Hampden County with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, and unlawful possession of a firearm. The prosecutor’s lengthy and “improper interrogation” of witnesses violated guiding principles for effort to impeach testimony. 66 Mass. App. Ct. 1112
Trini Taliba (aka Troy Tanner) 7/19/10 Appeals Court 77 Mass. App. Ct. 1110 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106756-Trini-TALIBA-Appeals-128-clean.html Hampden Trini Taliba (aka Troy Tanner) was indicted in Hampden County on charges of marijuana possession and cocaine possession with intent to distribute, as well as assault by means of a dangerous weapon and resisting arrest. An assertion in the prosecutor’s closing argument “lacked any basis in the evidence.” The court reversed the drug convictions but affirmed the others. 77 Mass. App. Ct. 1110
Charlie Dontay Vick 1/28/16 Appeals Court 89 Mass. App. Ct. 1103 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106775-Charlie-Dontay-Vick-Appeals-128-clean.html Suffolk In December 2011, Charlie Dontay Vick was charged in Suffolk County with assault and battery, and firearm charges. He was convicted in September 2013. The prosecutor improperly attacked the defendant’s character and went beyond the evidence in her closing argument. 89 Mass. App. Ct. 1103
Daniel Scott Hunt 11/5/12 Appeals Court 82 Mass. App. Ct. 1119 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106944-Daniel-Scott-Hunt-Rule-128-clean.html Middlesex Daniel Scott Hunt was charged in Middlesex County with receiving a stolen vehicle. The prosecutor referred in her opening statement to evidence that had been excluded. 82 Mass. App. Ct. 1119
John Jice 12/19/01 Appeals Court 53 Mass. App. Ct. 1108 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106949-John-Jice-Appeals-128-clean.html Bristol John Jice was charged in Bristol County with distributing a Class B substance. The prosecutor “impermissibly touched upon the defendant’s postarrest silence” during cross-examination and closing argument. 53 Mass. App. Ct. 1108
Basilio Ayala 6/23/03 Appeals Court 58 Mass. App. Ct. 1106 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106962-Basilio-Ayala-Appeals-128-clean.html Hampden Basilio Ayala was charged in Hampden County with possession of heroin with intent to distribute. The prosecutor improperly vouched for the credibility of a police officer who testified against the defendant. 58 Mass. App. Ct. 1106
Carmen Bonifacio 3/23/16 Appeals Court 89 Mass. App. Ct. 1113 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106982-CARMEN-BONIFACIO-Rule-128-clean.html Suffolk In July 2012, Carmen Bonifacio was charged in Suffolk County with assault and battery on her three-year-old son. She was convicted in December 2013. The prosecutor “improperly argued facts not in evidence” in her closing argument, in a way that compounded prejudice resulting from improperly admitted evidence. 89 Mass. App. Ct. 1113
Carter C., a juvenile 12/5/14 Appeals Court 2013-P-0030 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3106995-CARTER-C-a-Juvenile-Rule-128-clean.html Bristol Carter C., a juvenile, was charged in Bristol County with possessing an unlicensed firearm. The prosecutor erroneously summarized statistical data in his closing argument in a prejudicial manner. 2013-P-0030
Nicholas M. Bryant 8/3/12 Appeals Court 2009-P-1271 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3107000-Nicholas-M-Bryant-Rule-128-clean.html Hampshire Nicholas M. Bryant was charged in Hampshire County with indecent assault and battery. The prosecutor “contravened the clear and longstanding admonition” by suggesting in her closing argument “that a victim would not subject herself to trial unless she was telling the truth.” 2009-P-1271
Benjamin A. Brown 2/22/12 Appeals Court 2010-P-1310 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108800-BENJAMIN-a-BROWN-Rule-128-clean.html Suffolk Benjamin A. Brown was charged in Suffolk County with unlawful possession of a firearm. The prosecutor conjured up a “prejudicial straw man” in closing argument, which had the effect of improperly vouching for prosecution witnesses. 2010-P-1310
Daniel W. Mowry 12/21/11 Appeals Court 81 Mass. App. Ct. 1105 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108810-Daniel-MOWRY-Rule-128-clean.html Bristol Daniel W. Mowry was charged in Bristol County with operating a motor vehicle under the influence and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. The prosecutor’s “impermissible” comment and questions regarding the defendant’s postarrest silence “resulted in a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice.” 81 Mass. App. Ct. 1105
Melvin Jones 11/6/09 Appeals Court 75 Mass. App. Ct. 1111 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108813-MELVIN-JONES-Rule-128-clean.html Suffolk Melvin Jones was charged in Suffolk County with criminal trespass. The prosecutor’s opening statement “set out a road map of evidence that was specifically prohibited by the judge.” 75 Mass. App. Ct. 1111
Cynthia L. Schneider 2/4/09 Appeals Court 73 Mass. App. Ct. 1119 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108821-CYNTHIA-L-SCHNEIDER-Rule-128-clean.html Berkshire Cynthia L. Schneider was charged in Berkshire County with larceny over $250. The prosecutor improperly appealed to sympathy in closing argument and also referred to facts not in evidence. 73 Mass. App. Ct. 1119
Miguel K. Alejandro 9/12/08 Appeals Court 72 Mass. App. Ct. 1116 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108822-MIGUEL-K-ALEJANDRO-Rule-128-clean.html Bristol Miguel K. Alejandro was charged in Bristol County with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The prosecutor improperly vouched for the integrity of the case in his closing argument and vouched for the credibility of the Commonwealth’s witnesses. 72 Mass. App. Ct. 1116
Luis Negron and Frank Vasquez 6/7/06 Appeals Court 66 Mass. App. Ct. 1110 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108854-LUIS-NEGRON-Frank-Vasquez-Rule-128-clean.html Hampden In November 2003, Luis Negron and Frank Vasquez were indicted in Hampden County on charges of armed robbery. They were convicted in September 2004. The prosecutor’s characterization of the defense in closing argument “was erroneous, unfairly demeaning, and pervasive” and “distorted an issue central to the case.” 66 Mass. App. Ct. 1110
Kenneth Osbourne 12/13/05 Appeals Court 65 Mass. App. Ct. 1108 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108877-KENNETH-OSBOURNE-rule-128-clean.html Suffolk Kenneth Osbourne was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of assault with intent to rape and indecent assault and battery. The prosecutor made “misleading” remarks in closing argument that went beyond the evidence. 65 Mass. App. Ct. 1108
David Richard Scrima 12/18/03 Appeals Court 60 Mass. App. Ct. 1108 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108940-DAVID-RICHARD-SCRIMA-Rule-128-clean.html Suffolk David Richard Scrima was charged in Suffolk County with trespass. The prosecutor’s “repeated references to the evidence as uncontroverted” in his closing argument “invited the jury to draw a negative inference against the defendant for failing to testify.” 60 Mass. App. Ct. 1108
Arthur Buteas 3/24/97 Appeals Court 42 Mass. App. Ct. 1112 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108946-ARTHUR-BUTEAS-Rule-128-clean.html Essex Arthur Buteas was charged in Essex County with operating a motor vehicle negligently. The prosecutor’s closing argument was “tainted” by “the prosecutor’s ill-advised comment, which in essence vouched for the Commonwealth’s expert” while questioning the credibility of a crucial defense witness. 42 Mass. App. Ct. 1112
Kenneth Estrada 11/14/06 Appeals Court 67 Mass. App. Ct. 1114 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3108952-KENNETH-ESTRADA-Rule-128-clean.html Worcester Kenneth Estrada was indicted in Worcester County on charges of assault with intent to rob. The prosecutor improperly suggested to jurors in his closing argument “that he had knowledge of relevant facts and issues independent of the evidence before the jury,” as well as made “blatant, obvious and repeated appeals to the sympathy of the jury.” 67 Mass. App. Ct. 1114
Ezequial Torres 9/2/16 Appeals Court 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1104 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3222261-EZEQUIAL-TORRES-Rule-1-28-Decision.html Hampden Ezequial Torres was indicted in Hampden County on charges of rape and assault and battery. The prosecutor repeatedly used “conclusory” and “loaded terms” such as “rape” and “sexual assault” without eliciting facts to support their use, as well as misstated evidence as to one of the rape allegations. 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1104
Monte M. Curry 9/19/16 Appeals Court 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1105 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3222349-MONTE-M-CURRY-Rule-1-28-Decision.html Barnstable In February 2014, Monte M. Curry was indicted in Barnstable County on charges of trafficking in cocaine. He was convicted in November 2014. The prosecutor “appealed to the jury’s worst biases and prejudices” in closing argument by emphasizing the defendant’s appearance, as well as improperly “painted the defendant as an immoral individual who cared only for himself” and his conduct as “shameful.” Nicole Manoog, who prosecuted Curry, currently works with the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Office. An email from Michael O’Keefe, the district attorney, said: “The prosecutor would have been better off omitting both lines of argument but I’m often struck by opinions like this which fail in my opinion to properly credit the ability of jurors to reach appropriate verdicts.” 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1105
Jonathan E. Brown 9/30/16 Appeals Court 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1107 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3319682-JONATHAN-E-BROWN-Rule-1-28-Decision-clean.html Essex In 2012, Jonathan E. Brown was charged in Essex County with deriving support from prostitution. The prosecutor “greatly exaggerated the Commonwealth’s case by suggesting, without evidentiary support, that the defendant made his living as a pimp, and that the incident at issue was but a sample of his unlawful behavior.” 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1107
Wilson Clay 1/9/17 Appeals Court 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1124 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3461064-16-P-178-Wilson-Clay-Rule-1-28-clean.html Hampden In May 2015, Wilson Clay was charged in Hampden County with assault with a dangerous weapon. He was convicted in October 2015. The prosecutor attempted “to undermine the credibility of the defendant’s version” of events by asking an improper question about his postarrest silence. 90 Mass. App. Ct. 1124
Calvin Horne 1/10/17 Supreme Judicial Court 476 Mass. 222 http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/476/476mass222.html Suffolk In October 2012, Calvin Horne was indicted in Suffolk County on charges of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. He was convicted in January 2014. The prosecutor introduced “inherently prejudicial” profiling evidence, which amounted to “an attempt to convince the jury to determine a defendant’s guilt by comparing him or her to stereotypes.” 476 Mass. 222
Donald McMullin 2/17/17 Appeals Court 91 Mass. App. Ct. 1106 https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3477208-DONALD-McMULLIN-Appeals-Court-1-28-Ruling.html Norfolk Donald McMullin was charged in Norfolk County with violation of an abuse prevention order. The prosecutor “unduly exaggerated” evidence of the defendant’s prior bad acts, which was one of a number of errors that entitled the defendant to a new trial. 91 Mass. App. Ct. 1106

Last updated March 2, 2017.