Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Reverses Murder Conviction Due to Unexplained Exclusion of Black Person from Jury, Despite Sufficient Evidence Otherwise to Convict

SUMMARY: The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) reversed a conviction for murder. Despite finding that there was sufficient evidence to support the conviction, the SJC found that the Superior Court had abused its discretion and created a constitutional structural error by failing to require the prosecution to give an adequate and genuine race-neutral reason for [...]

Appeals Court Affirms Sex Offense Convictions, Despite Arguments Raised Regarding the First Amendment, Legislative Intent, and Limiting Instructions to the Jury

SUMMARY: The Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the defendant’s convictions for child rape, child pornography, and dissemination of matter harmful to minors when a 23-year old man and a 13-14 year old girl had sexual contact both in person and via cell phone. The defendant raised arguments based on legislative intent, First Amendment, and Improper jury [...]