March 12, 2019
Harassment Prevention . Practice, Criminal,
Required finding, Directed verdict, Stipulation.
COMPLAINT received and sworn to in the Brighton Division of
the Boston Municipal Court Department on March 8, 2016. The
case was tried before Myong J. Joun, J.
M. Unger, Boston, for the defendant.
J. DeLateur, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Desmond, Sacks, & Lemire, JJ.
N.E.3d 116] After a one-day jury trial, the defendant was
convicted of a single count of violation of a harassment
prevention order. At the close of the Commonwealth’s
evidence, and at the close of all evidence, the defendant
moved for a required finding of not guilty. Her motions were
denied. On appeal, she argues that the trial judge erred in
denying her motion at the close of the Commonwealth’s case
because there was insufficient evidence to support her
conviction. Because we agree that the Commonwealth presented
insufficient evidence on the sole charge, we reverse the
judgment and set aside the verdict.
recite the facts in the light most favorable to the
Commonwealth. The complainant was a concierge at a luxury
condominium complex, whose job was to greet and assist the
residents. During his employment there, he obtained a
harassment prevention order against the defendant, a
resident. The complainant continued to have regular daily
contact with the defendant at the complex after obtaining the
order, despite trying to avoid her. On the afternoon of
January 5, 2016, while the harassment prevention order
against the defendant was still active, the complainant was
beginning his shift, and was taking over from a coworker who
was ending her shift. The complainant’s coworker had been
assisting the defendant with paperwork, which was
"jumbled and mixed up." When the complainant took
over the task, he told the defendant that she needed to put
the papers in order, and she "erupted." The
defendant was "screaming at the top of [her] lungs"
and swearing. She lunged toward the complainant over the
desk, and pointed her finger in his face. The complainant
told her to lower her voice and "go to [her] unit,"
but she refused, and he ultimately called 911 for assistance.
The interaction lasted approximately twelve to fifteen
minutes before the defendant "went back up into her
defendant testified that the complainant had taken the papers
in question and "just threw them up in the air."
She admitted that she had gotten upset and angry, and was
yelling and swearing, but denied lunging at the complainant.
During her testimony, the defendant was not asked about the
harassment prevention order at issue, and made no reference
to trial, the parties notified the judge that they intended
to stipulate to (1) the existence of the order; (2) that it
was in effect on the date of the offense; and (3) that the
defendant was served with the order and aware of its
existence and terms. Ultimately, however, no such stipulation
was introduced in evidence or otherwise presented to the jury
before the close of evidence. Although the parties and the
judge had expressed their ...