OUI Intoxication Massachusetts Injury Aggravated Battery Assault Lawyers Essex County
Commonwealth v. Theresa
Defendant was convicted in the Essex Superior Court Department (Massachusetts) of involuntary manslaughter, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, § 13, aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, an automobile, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, § 15A(c)(i), and operating a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor and causing serious bodily injury, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 90, § 24L(2). He appealed his convictions.
- Whether Counsel’s failure to seek an instruction on accident was ineffective assistance?
Defendant said admitting his breathalyzer test results without explanatory expert testimony negated his alcohol-related convictions. The appellate court held the convictions had to be reversed because (1) the Commonwealth sought no instruction on the per se theory of operating under the influence, but, rather, sought an instruction that the results let the jury infer operating under the influence, and (2) expert testimony did not explain the link between blood alcohol content and impairment, so the elements of operating under the influence were not proved. This did not require reversal of the involuntary manslaughter or aggravated assault and battery convictions because (1) the jury was instructed accurately on those crimes’ elements, which did not relate to alcohol impairment, and (2) neither the prosecutor’s argument nor the instructions suggested such impairment equaled or increased the probability of manslaughter or aggravated assault and battery. Counsel’s failure to seek an instruction on accident was not ineffective assistance because evidence of defendant’s wilful, wanton, or reckless conduct showed he was not entitled to the instruction.
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Article written by A Sris
These summaries are provided by the SRIS Law Group. They represent the firm’s unofficial views of the Justices’ opinions. The original opinions should be consulted for their authoritative content.