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Commonwealth v. Hamilton

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Worcester

April 13, 2015

Commonwealth
v.
Brad D. Hamilton

Argued December 12, 2014.

Indictment found and returned in the Superior Court Department on December 13, 2012.

The case was tried before Daniel M. Wrenn, J.

Rebecca Kiley, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for the defendant.

Stephen J. Carley, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.

Present: Rubin, Milkey, & Carhart, JJ.

OPINION

[28 N.E.3d 501] Carhart, J.

The defendant appeals from his conviction of assault and battery by means of a hypodermic syringe or needle (hypodermic needle, or needle) in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 15C( b ),[1] arguing that the evidence [28 N.E.3d 502] was insufficient to support a conviction and that the trial judge erroneously instructed the jury. We affirm.

Page 275

Background.

" Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the Commonwealth, the jury could have found the following facts." Commonwealth v. Angelo Todesca Corp., 446 Mass. 128, 129, 842 N.E.2d 930 (2006).

On July 16, 2012, Worcester police Officer Ryan Stone responded to a call for a " wellness check" at a Price Chopper store and was directed to the bathroom. Officer Stone entered the bathroom and ordered the person inside the stall to come out. The defendant came out of the stall and put his hands on the wall. Officer Stone observed items used to clean or use a hypodermic needle on the back of the toilet in the stall, and also observed something in the defendant's right hand. He asked the defendant to drop what he was holding, but the defendant did not do so. The officer asked the defendant " where the needle was," and the defendant answered that the needle was in his pocket. Officer Stone told the defendant that he was going to be placed in handcuffs and asked him to put his hands behind his back. Receiving no response from the defendant, Officer Stone took the defendant's left hand, placed it behind his back, and cuffed it. As the officer reached for the defendant's right hand, he again ordered the defendant to drop whatever was in his right hand. Officer Stone felt the defendant tense up, and as the officer attempted to cuff his hand, the defendant jerked and thrust it at Officer Stone. Officer Stone " felt a stinging sensation" in his hand and realized that he had been pricked by the needle.[2] An ambulance arrived and took both men to the hospital for treatment.

At trial, the defendant argued that he accidentally struck Officer Stone with the needle. After the close of evidence, the judge heard requests for jury instructions. He denied the defendant's request for insertion of one line into the portion of the charge ...


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