Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

06/09/78 COMMONWEALTH v. CARL THOMAS HOFFER

June 9, 1978

COMMONWEALTH
v.
CARL THOMAS HOFFER



Suffolk. Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court on August 3, 1976. The case was tried before Griffin, J.

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

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

Evidence, Other offense, On cross-examination, On redirect examination, Collateral matter, Record of past knowledge, Relevancy and materiality. Practice, Criminal, Mistrial, Directed verdict, Argument by prosecutor. Witness, Cross-examination, Redirect examination.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Abrams

At a criminal trial, there was no error in admitting evidence tending to show that the defendant had a bad character and had committed other crimes where some of the evidence was relevant to the crime being tried and the probative value of the rest was not outweighed by any danger of prejudice. [372-373]

The defendant at a murder trial was not prejudiced by testimony tending to show that he had committed other crimes where the Judge immediately struck the testimony and instructed the jury to disregard it. [372-373]

The Judge at a criminal trial did not abuse his discretion in excluding a question by defense counsel on cross-examination of a witness where the substance of the question was thoroughly covered in several other questions. [373-374]

The admission of certain evidence at a criminal trial did not constitute prejudicial error where the evidence was merely cumulative. [374-375]

At a criminal trial, there was no error in the admission on redirect examination of a witness's prior consistent statements where portions of the prior statement were the subject of cross-examination. [375-376]

At a criminal trial, there was no error in permitting a witness to refer to statements she had made to the police and to her grand jury testimony in order to refresh her memory. [376]

Any weakness in the chain of custody of evidence at a criminal trial affected only the weight of the evidence, not its admissibility. [377]

There was no merit in a criminal defendant's contention that the Judge erred in denying his motions for directed verdicts made on the ground that the testimony of the Commonwealth's chief witness was so inherently contradictory and had been so fully impeached that it was incredible as matter of law. [377]

A prosecutor's comments in his closing argument, which were based on the evidence and the fair inferences which could be drawn therefrom, were not improper. [377-380]

The defendant Carl Thomas Hoffer was indicted for murder in the first degree and armed robbery. After a trial by jury he was convicted of murder in the first degree and larceny. *fn1 We conclude that there was no prejudicial error at the trial and that exercise of our powers under G. L. c. 278, § 33E, is not warranted. We affirm the convictions and the judgment entered as a result of the conviction of murder in the first degree.

We summarize first the evidence presented at the trial by the main witness for the Commonwealth, Gale Dubuque Hoffer (Gale), the wife of the defendant. During the early morning hours of November 10, 1974, Hoffer and John O'Sullivan (O'Sullivan) arrived at Gale's home. At this time Gale was Hoffer's girl friend. He asked Gale to drive someone back to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Walpole. Hoffer, O'Sullivan, and Gale then picked up this person and drove to Walpole.

During the drive, the defendant removed a box from a duffel bag which he was carrying. Gale testified that Hoffer took a "rifle," *fn2 ammunition, and surgical gloves from the box. There was some general conversation concerning the possibility of going target shooting; the defendant said that he wanted "to show [O'Sullivan] how to use the gun so that in case they got into trouble robbing the bank he would know what he was doing."

When they arrived at Walpole, the prisoner directed Gale to drive around to the side away from the front entrance because he was returning late from furlough. Although Gale thought the man walked to the front ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.