SJC-10551 & SJC-10553
THE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT IS SOLICITING AMICUS BRIEFS OR MEMORANDA FROM INTERESTED PARTIES IN THE FOLLOWING MATTER PENDING BEFORE THE COURT
ARGUMENT IS TENTATIVELY SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 2009
AMICUS SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE ON OR BEFORE NOVEMBER 23, 2009
Commonwealth v. Peterson Charles
Commonwealth v. Exsel Muniz
1) Given the Supreme Court's recent decision in Melendez-Diaz v. Massachusetts, 2009 WL 1789468, 577 U.S. ___ (2009), what is the applicable standard of appellate review for claims of alleged violation of the confrontation clause based on the unobjected-to admission of forensics certificates without live testimony from the certifying analysts in cases tried after this court decided Commonwealth v. Verde, 444 Mass. 279 (2005), on May 19, 2005, and before the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the Melendez-Diaz case on March 17, 2008? What is the standard of review for objected-to claims of error during that time period? What is the standard for claims arising from trials that occurred after certiorari was granted in the Melendez-Diaz case?
2) In cases involving the erroneous admission of a drug certificate pursuant to G. L. c. 111, § 13 (or a ballistics certificate pursuant to G. L. c. 140, § 121A), when is the issue of the chemical composition or weight of the substance (or the issue of whether the weapon is a "firearm" as defined by statute) a sufficiently "live" issue at trial such that the defendant might have been prejudiced by the erroneous admission of the certificate?
3) Any other issues concerning the admission of forensics certificates in the wake of the Melendez-Diaz decision that may be raised by these cases.
Interested parties may file their briefs in the Office of the Clerk for the Commonwealth, John Adams Courthouse, Suite 1-400, Pemberton Square, Boston MA 02108-1724 (Telephone 617-557-1020). Parties filing amicus briefs are expected to comply with the requirements of Rules 17, 19 and 20 of Mass. Rules of Appellate Procedure. Amicus briefs, to assist the court, should focus on the ramifications of a decision and not solely on the interests of the parties filing such briefs.
|Susan Mellen, Clerk|
September 24, 2009