The Appeals Court of Massachusetts seated in Suffolk County handed down a decision earlier this year regarding a defendant who had been unlawfully indicted on a charge which the prosecution had not fully proven.In the case, Commonwealth v. Rodriguez, 83 Mass. App. Ct. 267 (2013), following a jury trial in Superior Court, the defendant was found guilty of rape aggravated by kidnapping; kidnapping aggravated by sexual assault; and indecent assault and battery. The judge sentenced him on the aggravated rape and indecent assault and battery charges, and placed the indictment for aggravated kidnapping on file, to which the defendant objected. The defendant’s appeal centered on the filed indictment. He argued that, the jury instruction setting forth the elements of aggravated kidnapping was erroneous.
Under the relevant portion of the statute, “[w]hoever commits any offense described in this section [the crime of kidnapping] while armed with a dangerous weapon and inflicts serious bodily injury thereby upon another person or who sexually assaults such person…” shall be found guilty of the crime. [emphasis added by court].