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Commonwealth v. Collins

Appeals Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk

October 18, 2017

COMMONWEALTH
v.
MOSES COLLINS.

          Heard: September 5, 2017.

         Complaint received and sworn to in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court Department on March 23, 2015.

         The case was tried before Thomas S. Kaplanes, J.

          Christie L. Nader (Dana Alan Curhan also present) for the defendant.

          Cailin M. Campbell, Assistant District Attorney (Dana M. Goheen, Assistant District Attorney, also present) for the Commonwealth.

          Present: Milkey, Hanlon, & Shin, JJ.

          SHIN, J.

         A jury convicted the defendant of assault and battery and threatening to commit a crime against the person or property of another. On appeal the defendant argues that the trial judge abused his discretion in admitting the victim's in-court identification of the defendant, that the prosecutor elicited inadmissible testimony identifying the defendant as one of the people seen on video surveillance footage, and that the prosecutor made improper statements in his closing argument. We affirm.

         Background.

         The jury could have found the following facts. On the day of the crime, the victim, Alejandro Gonzalez, and his supervisor, Susan Wall, both letter carriers for the United States Postal Service, were working in the Roxbury section of Boston. After delivering mail to a pizzeria and exiting onto the sidewalk, Gonzalez encountered a man who looked at him as though he recognized him. The man then grabbed Gonzalez by the shoulder, hit him on the head, and pointed at him with his hand in the shape of a gun and stated, "I know your face. Boom, boom, boom."

         Gonzalez immediately went to Wall and told her what had happened. They returned to the pizzeria, where Gonzalez pointed out a man inside as the person who attacked him. Wall confronted the man and told him not to put his hands on a postal worker.

         About a month later, a Boston police detective showed Gonzalez a photographic array consisting of eight photographs.[1]Gonzalez initially believed that two of the photographs looked similar to his assailant but, after reviewing those two, made a positive identification of the defendant, writing underneath his photograph, "He looks like the person." At that point the detective placed the defendant's photograph facedown and showed Gonzalez the rest of the photographs in the array; Gonzalez did not identify anyone else as the person who assaulted him.

         The detective separately showed Wall a photographic array consisting of eight photographs. Wall also made a positive identification of the defendant, writing underneath his photograph, "'[E]yes' seem familiar." The detective proceeded to show Wall the rest of the photographs, but she did not identify any of them as the man she confronted in the pizzeria.

         D ...


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