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04/20/78 COMMONWEALTH v. DELMER T. AMAZEEN

April 20, 1978

COMMONWEALTH
v.
DELMER T. AMAZEEN



Berkshire. Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court on October 9, 1974. Pretrial motions to suppress evidence were heard by Tamburello, J., and the case was tried before him.

Hennessey, C.j., Quirico, Kaplan, Liacos, & Abrams, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Constitutional Law, Admissions and confessions, Waiver of constitutional rights. Waiver. Practice, Criminal, Directed verdict, Charge to jury, Empanelling of jury. Jury and Jurors. Evidence, Photograph, Judicial discretion, Admissions and confessions.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Abrams

There is no requirement that police officers must advise an individual that he is charged with a crime or that he is a suspect before a valid waiver of Miranda rights may be obtained. [76-78]

Evidence presented at a hearing on the defendant's motion to suppress inculpatory statements amply supported the finding that the defendant had made a valid waiver of his Miranda rights. [78-79]

Evidence at a murder trial was sufficient to establish malice and warranted the Judge's denial of the defendant's motions for a directed verdict of not guilty on so much of the indictment as charged murder in the first degree and murder in the second degree. [79-81]

A defendant was not entitled to have instructions given to the jury in the precise terms which he requested where the Judge instructed the jury as to the substance of the defendant's request. [81-82]

At a murder trial, the Judge's instruction, in response to a jury question, that "panic" could be considered in connection with manslaughter but that neither side had the burden of establishing the existence of panic did not, in the context of his entire charge, constitute reversible error. [82]

A Judge who had earlier given thorough instructions concerning murder in the first and second degree as well as manslaughter was not required to repeat the instructions on manslaughter when asked by the jury to explain what constitutes murder in the first and second degree. [82]

There was no merit to the defendant's argument that the exclusion from the jury of a prospective juror because of his prior criminal record denied the defendant his right to a jury composed of a cross section of the community. [82-83]

A Judge did not abuse his discretion in refusing to excuse for cause a juror who was acquainted with the prosecutor, nor was the defendant harmed by the refusal where he peremptorily challenged the juror and did not exhaust all his peremptory challenges in the jury selection process. [83-84]

At a murder trial, there was no error in the admission of photographs of the victim's body. [84]

At a murder trial, no error was shown by the fact that a State police officer was permitted to read to the jury the defendant's written statement after it had been introduced in evidence. [84]

Pursuant to G. L. c. 278, ยงยง 33A-33G, the defendant, Delmer T. Amazeen, appeals his conviction of murder in the second degree on an indictment which charged murder in the first degree. Amazeen argues assignments of error concerning (1) the denial of a pre-trial motion to suppress inculpatory statements made by him; (2) the denial of his motions for a directed verdict of not guilty; (3) the Judge's instructions to the jury; (4) the selection of the jurors; (5) the admission of color photographs of the deceased; and (6) the reading of his written statement to the ...


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