Justin Mustafa Press Release
Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe announced today that on May 25, 2016, the Massachusetts Appeals Court affirmed the conviction of Justin Mustafa, 5/7/1989, of 540 Carriage Shop Road, East Falmouth. The defendant was found guilty after a jury trial in Falmouth District Court on March 10, 2014, for wilful and malicious destruction of property under $250, assault and battery, four counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and intimidation of a witness.
The defendant appealed his convictions, challenging the trial judge’s denial of a motion for a new trial. The defendant argued that explicit, personal videos of him and the victim should have been introduced at trial. The defendant also argued that his trial counsel was ineffective, stating that the attorney should have asked additional questions of the jury during jury selection.
The Commonwealth argued on appeal that these videos were not admissible, nor were they relevant to the issues raised at trial. The Commonwealth emphasized that if the videos were shown to the jury, there was a risk of unfair prejudice to both the victim and the Commonwealth. The Appeals Court stated that, “these videos were not necessary to provide a fuller picture of the couple's relationship.” The Court noted that the attorney conducted a very extensive cross-examination of the victim at trial, and held that the videos were not admissible.
The Appeals Court also found that “trial counsel's efforts show diligent preparation and attention to the live issues in the trial.” The Court denied the defendant’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim.
The appeal was handled by Chief of Appeals Elizabeth Sweeney, Assistant District Attorney Michael Giardino was the trial prosecutor, and the Falmouth Police Department investigated the case.