The quotations below are taken
directly from proceedings and submissions in cases handled by our office.
It is extraordinary, by any reasonable measure, when the deprivation of liberty hangs upon images in the mind of a complainant, inexplicably absent for approximately 20 years, their appearance indisputably informed by, and consistent with, images and narratives being widely portrayed in a media frenzy. Add that in the solitude of his private journal the Complainant at bar initially declared unequivocal uncertainty, and thereby confirmed his own inability, to decipher whether the images in his mind were just thoughts that he was thinking, or “memories” of actual events. Add that the evidence at trial did not corroborate what the Complainant would over time adopt with utmost confidence to be ‘memories.’ In fact, the evidence would establish fundamental and irresolvable conflict.
The issue before this Court is not merely of an evidentiary character. It is an issue that drives to the very core of our criminal justice system. The payment of money to fact witnesses in exchange for testimony in a criminal case, those payments conditioned upon outcome, is utterly offensive to the fair administration of justice. It is a practice that undermines determinations of guilt, brings the integrity of our courts into disrepute, and sews the seeds of corrupting influence. The fact of its occurrence at bar — facilitated by a prosecutor who understood he was acting to acquire conditional compensation for witnesses favorable to the government, knowing that the incentive for future compensation upon achieving desires results would exert pressure upon those witnesses — represents a troubling loss of perspective. As a citizen who is entitled to meaningful due process of law, who is protected by a presumption of innocence no matter the charges at issue, the Defendant asserts that he cannot properly be condemned by judgments that arose out of, and remain inextricably linked to, a tainted and corrupt process. It is not possible to affirm such judgments without affirming, or excusing, the process that produced them. Whatever standard of review is ultimately applied, and whatever the precise contours of the remedy, the judgments should, at a minimum, be reversed. The Defendant is a son of this Commonwealth, no matter the allegations against him. A judicial process that paid witnesses for successfully condemning him is an outrage. No rationale can excuse what occurred in this case, or reasonably preserve the result. This Honorable Court, as a guardian of fundamental fairness, should not permit the judgments to stand.
It was egregious error for the trial judge to have denied Mr. Pittman’s well founded request for a short continuance in order to present the critical testimony of Ms. Greer. No citizen, accused of serious crimes and presumed to be innocent, should be deprived of the fundamental right to present evidence of such immense significance because the trial judge speculated, without ever bothering to confirm, anticipated juror dissatisfaction with a short delay. This Court should not permit a right so fundamental to the whole concept of due process to be so limited. Mr. Pittman, as any citizen, is entitled to more. On this ground alone and in the interest of justice, his convictions should not stand. U.S. Const., Amend. XIV; Mass. Const., art. 12.
When a citizen stands accused of a crime and must confront the authority and power of the State, he should, at the very least, be guaranteed the opportunity to face evidence, as opposed to unverifiable suggestion interjected by the State. Here, the Commonwealth presented no evidence to show a motive for the shooting, nor evidence of any activity leading up to the incident which connected Mr. Wynter to the shooting. Rather, the fact finders were told—through impermissible, leading questions put to the defendant—about alleged events which supposedly gave rise to motive and a shooting, by insinuation, unfairly casting upon Mr. Wynter the impossible burden of somehow fending against it.
The central question is whether the statute, when read as a whole, reaches too far by use of language that will inevitably require judgments too subjective and idiosyncratic, impinging upon areas of common pursuit and interest, such as the arts, outside the realm of easily identifiable illegal pornography. … When determination of legality versus illegality ventures into the realm of variant but valid individual perspectives, without the substantial consistency that derives from clear and objective standards, constitutional problems are unavoidable. … Debate about the value and merit of artistic projects like the movie Hounddog should remain just that: a debate about value and merit, not a question of whether those involved in producing a film can be prosecuted as “accessories to a crime.” When the subject matter within a criminal statute’s scope ventures into the realm of such a debate, when it can be used as a tool to validate the perspective of one side of such a debate, it is simply too broad and should not be allowed to stand.
The Commonwealth describes the argument in the brief of Mr. Stuckich as “a multi-pronged assault on the prosecutor.” Mr. Stuckich would describe it differently. He would describe it as an argument in favor of the constitutional right to due process and fundamental fairness. He would describe it as an argument in favor of criminal proceedings that reflect the integrity inherent in maintaining a focus on the search for truth, without devolving into character attacks, cognizant of the solemnity and gravity of a process by which a person’s liberty, reputation and livelihood will be determined.
To deny Mr. West’s appellate claims on grounds that he is at fault for not providing an adequate appellate record would endorse a system of justice that at once deprives him of an opportunity to elicit evidence and then penalizes him for what he does not say. This is so contrary to fairness, so repugnant to the traditions of fairness in a modern society such as ours, that acceptance of the Commonwealth’s argument regarding an inadequate record would not only defy common sense, but would comprise an obvious violation of due process. U.S. Const. Amends. V, XIV; Mass. Const. art 12.
As a member of the State Bar, Defendant-Lawyer was granted the privileges and duties of a fiduciary. Defendant-Lawyer owed duties of the highest character: undivided loyalty and fidelity, the most scrupulous good faith, honesty and integrity. The evidence in this case will establish that Defendant-Lawyer was negligent, that he desired to conceal that negligence, and that this desire gave birth to fraudulent, deceptive conduct. ... During settlement negotiations in late 2000, Defendant-Lawyer was in no position to represent the Plaintiffs. Defendant-Lawyer was aware that if the case went to trial the strategy of the other Defendant-Lawyers was to focus upon his conduct, his malpractice—malpractice of which his clients were still unaware. Pretrial events made it obvious that Defendant-Lawyer would likely be called as a witness in the case, requiring him to defend his conduct. ... The harm suffered by the Plaintiffs as a result of the above circumstances has been catastrophic. They have been relegated to a position of financial instability that has extinguished the comfort they worked their entire lives to achieve. The estate they acquired to one day pass on to five children has disappeared into unpaid debt. They have suffered severe anxiety and distress that has done much more than aggravate the severe deterioration of their physical health. To remedy the harm suffered, Plaintiffs demand damages in excess of $1,600,000.00 for the negligent, intentional and bad faith conduct of Defendant-Lawyer, and the compensatory and punitive damages against Broker and Real Estate Company which were lost as a proximate result of Defendant-Lawyer’s conduct.
The burden and inconvenience to D.P.H. were it forced to defend itself in the United States are readily apparent. D.P.H. is a small, non-profit, 183 bed, community hospital operating locally in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Documents, physical evidence and Spanish speaking witnesses, all of which are located in Puerto Rico, make this State an inconvenient forum. It would be extremely burdensome, prohibitively expensive, and extremely inconvenient for D.P.H. to respond to any legal claims in the courts in this State.This burden stands in stark contrast to any inconvenience or hardship that might befall Medicus/QuadraMed, a publicly traded company serving more than one half of all hospitals in the United States, with a professional staff of over 1,000, revenues in the most recent quarter of 33.7 million dollars, and corporate offices in multiple cities located in eight (8) different states. Furthermore, this State has no incentive or need to protect its residents, and has no interest in, or ability to, enforce its regulations relative to D.P.H. As such, forcing D.P.H. to defend itself in this forum would not comport with fair play and substantial justice. On this ground alone, the defendant’s motion to quash service of the summons and complaint should be granted.