Heard: November 1, 2017.
received and sworn to in the Edgartown Division of the
District Court Department on October 30, 2014. Pretrial
motions to suppress evidence heard by J. Thomas Kirkman, J.
for leave to prosecute interlocutory appeals were heard by
Barbara A. Lenk, J., and Margot Botsford,
J., in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk,
and each appeal was reported to the Appeals Court.
Timothy M. Moriarty for the defendant.
L. Johnston, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Green, C.J., Rubin, & Kinder, JJ.
altercation outside a party on Martha's Vineyard led to a
complaint charging the defendant with two counts of felony
assault and battery. He now appeals from two orders of a
District Court judge denying his motions to suppress (1)
evidence of an out-of-court identification made by an assault
victim, and (2) statements the defendant made to police after
suggestions by an officer that his cooperation would avoid a
felony charge. We affirm the order denying suppression of
the identification. However, we agree with the defendant that
the Commonwealth did not meet its burden to prove, beyond
reasonable doubt, that the defendant's statements were
voluntary, and accordingly we reverse the order denying his
motion to suppress them.
summarize the motion judge's subsidiary findings of fact,
which the defendant does not contest.
28, 2014, the victim went to a party in West Tisbury before
going to a party in Oak Bluffs. He had three or four beers
that evening and it was "possible" he had some
the victim arrived at the Oak Bluffs party he encountered
Matt Brown, whose sister the victim had been dating.
Believing Brown was going to attack him, the victim struck
Brown first and was then attacked by several others who
cornered him in a parking lot. The victim was between several
cars when he struck Brown, and then the defendant struck the
victim in the face twice. The defendant tackled the victim
and then sat on his chest while hitting him some more. While
the defendant was hitting the victim, a third member of the
group, Riley Dobel, came over and began
"down-force" kicking and "stomping" the
victim in the face and arms. The attackers then ran away and
the victim was helped by two others, who drove him to the
victim had seen the defendant earlier at the party, and
extended congratulations to him for his brother's new
child. The victim was also introduced to the defendant's
friend Dobel, and talked to him about playing golf with
Dobel's father in a "men's league at Farm
Neck." The victim saw the defendant and Dobel at other
times during the party up until the attack.
victim knew the defendant as an "island kid, " knew
his father, knew his older brother, and knew that the
defendant lived at his grandmother's house around the
corner from the victim's house. As a result, he saw the
defendant often; he also periodically saw pictures of the
defendant in the newspapers for his athletic accomplishments.
The victim had seen the defendant, and Dobel, more than a
"hundred times" around town.
around 2:00 A.M., on June 28, 2014, Detective James Morse of
the Oak Bluffs police department was dispatched to the
Martha's Vineyard Hospital to interview the victim, who
was hospitalized for treatment following the attack. The
victim had suffered multiple facial fractures on both sides
of his head. Detective Morse noticed that the victim had a
"fractured orbit" and seemed "a little
off." Over the course of an interview lasting three or
four minutes, the victim told Detective Morse that he had