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.

Commonwealth v. Newton N.

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Berkshire

February 5, 2018

COMMONWEALTH
v.
NEWTON N., a juvenile.

          Heard: November 7, 2017.

         Complaint received and sworn to in the Berkshire County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on June 2, 2016. A motion to dismiss was heard by Judith A. Locke, J.

         The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.

          Kyle G. Christensen, Assistant District Attorney (Joseph A. Pieropan, Assistant District Attorney, also present) for the Commonwealth.

          Laura Chrismer Edmonds for the juvenile.

          The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Miriam H. Ruttenberg, Jennifer Honig, & Phillip Kassel for Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee & others.

          Ryan M. Schiff, Committee for Public Counsel Services, _& Joseph N. Schneiderman for Youth Advocacy Division of the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

          Daniel F. Conley, District Attorney for the Suffolk District, & John P. Zanini, Assistant District Attorney, for District Attorney for the Suffolk District.

          Present: Gants, C.J., Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.

          GANTS, C.J.

         This case presents two important issues relevant to a Juvenile Court judge's consideration of a prearraignment motion to dismiss a delinquency complaint. First, we hold that a judge, in weighing whether the information contained within the "four corners" of the complaint application and related exhibits constitutes probable cause, may not consider whether a juvenile was criminally responsible for the charged offenses or whether the juvenile's mental impairment rendered the juvenile incapable of having the requisite criminal intent. Second, we hold that, where a prosecutor exercises his or her discretion to proceed to arraignment on a delinquency complaint supported by probable cause, the judge may not dismiss the complaint before arraignment on the grounds that dismissal of the complaint is in the best interests of the child and in the interests of justice. Because the judge in this case dismissed the delinquency complaint before arraignment where the complaint was supported by probable cause and where the prosecutor wished to proceed to arraignment, we vacate the dismissal and remand the case to the Juvenile Court.[1]

         Background.

         On May 25, 2016, a police officer applied for and obtained a delinquency complaint from a clerk-magistrate, charging the juvenile with breaking and entering into a building in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony, in violation of G. L. c. 266, § 16; breaking and entering into a vehicle in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony, in violation of G. L. c. 266, § 16; larceny over $250, in violation of G. L. c. 266, § 30 (1); and disorderly conduct, in violation of G. L. c. 272, § 53. The Commonwealth moved for arraignment and the juvenile moved prearraignment to dismiss the delinquency complaint. The Juvenile Court judge, based on the documents that were submitted as part of the police officer's complaint application, allowed the juvenile's motion to dismiss and later issued written findings of fact and conclusions of law.

         We summarize the judge's material findings. On May 19, 2016, at approximately 1:35 A.M., police officers were dispatched to a multiunit apartment complex in North Adams in response to a report that a young boy wearing an orange shirt and shorts was making noise and carrying a gun. When the officers arrived on the scene, they found two long rifles on the ground near one of the apartments. The officers later recovered a revolver in the area.

         Officer Ivan Cardeno spoke to the person who had reported the incident, who told him that she had observed a young male, approximately ten to twelve years old, enter two vehicles in the parking lot while carrying a long rifle. She noted that she saw the boy holding the rifle up and repeatedly pulling the trigger, without aiming it.

         Shortly thereafter, Officer Cardeno was informed that the boy had been located. As Officer Cardeno approached the boy, who was wearing an orange T-shirt and shorts and whom he recognized as the juvenile, he heard the boy loudly cursing at the officers and attempting to pull away from them. The juvenile continued this behavior as the ...


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.