In a recent Massachusetts appellate case, a juvenile was found delinquent on a charge of assault and battery. He appealed, arguing that the judge had made a mistake in denying his motion for a required finding of not guilty and requiring him to pay restitution when there was no causal link between the crime and the loss.
The case arose out of an assault and battery. The juvenile claimed there wasn’t enough evidence to show that he’d pushed the victim or that he’d committed a joint venture, and none of the state’s witnesses identified him as a perpetrator. In order to convict him of assault and battery, the prosecutor was supposed to show beyond a reasonable doubt that he’d intentionally touched the victim in a harmful or offensive way without justification or excuse or that he’d wantonly engaged in conduct that resulted in an injury to somebody else.
To prove a joint venture, the prosecution had to show beyond a reasonable doubt that he knowingly participated in the commission of a crime alone or with others with the required level of intent.
The prosecution had shown that a man was sleeping on the couch when five people he knew came to his house, calling out his name. His brother checked the front door, and the man went to the back door. When the man went to the back door, a teenager attacked him out of nowhere. He fell down the doorstep and was pushed onto the kitchen floor. The group included the defendant. All five began hitting and kicking him. The man’s brother tried to pull the attackers away from his brother. The mother also tried to push them out of the house. When they were told the police were coming, they left and ran. In court, the man testified that all three of the juveniles in the courtroom had hit him.
His mother was the named victim of the assault and battery that was charged. When the attackers came into the kitchen, she told her daughter to call the police. One of them pushed her, resulting in her fall through a pantry door and onto the floor. She hurt her knee and shoulder and had to be taken to the hospital. The doors in the kitchen were broken.
The appellate court believed there was enough evidence that the prosecution had proved its assault and battery case beyond a reasonable doubt. Moreover, it found the jury could reasonably conclude that the juvenile was at least a knowing accomplice in committing assault and battery, and as a joint venturer, he had just as much committed the crime as a principal had.
The juvenile argued he shouldn’t have been ordered to pay restitution for broken doors, based on the bill for $600. He called it unreasonable hearsay, since he couldn’t cross-examine the person who prepared the bill. The appellate court disagreed, explaining that a judge has the power to order restitution, based on their power to order probation conditions under MGL c. 279, § 1. The prosecution had the burden of proof. The evidence showed that the defendant and his other minor friends pushed through the back door and pushed the victim through a pantry door, causing it to break. The restitution order was affirmed.
If you are a parent whose child is charged in Massachusetts with an assault crime, contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy today to discuss the criminal charges. Call us at 617-367-0450 or contact us through this website.
More Blog Posts:
Assault and Battery Causing Serious Injury in Massachusetts, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published January 14, 2015
Receiving Stolen Property in Massachusetts, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published December 15, 2014