Com. v. Chatfield-Taylor, CHATFIELD-TAYLOR

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtBefore HENNESSEY; ABRAMS
Citation399 Mass. 1,502 N.E.2d 512
Decision Date08 January 1987
Docket NumberCHATFIELD-TAYLOR
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH v. Robert

Page 512

502 N.E.2d 512
399 Mass. 1
COMMONWEALTH

v.
Robert CHATFIELD-TAYLOR.
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts,
Norfolk.
Argued Oct. 8, 1986.
Decided Jan. 8, 1987.

Page 513

[399 Mass. 2] Harvey A. Schwartz, Boston, for defendant.

Stephanie Martin Glennon, Asst. Dist. Atty., for the Com.

Before [399 Mass. 1] HENNESSEY, C.J., and LIACOS, ABRAMS, NOLAN and LYNCH, JJ.

[399 Mass. 2] ABRAMS, Justice.

The defendant, Robert Chatfield-Taylor, was charged in a multiple count indictment with being a Massachusetts practitioner who unlawfully dispensed a Class B controlled substance 1 in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, G.L. c. 94C (1984 ed.). A jury trial commenced in October, 1984, and at the conclusion of the Commonwealth's evidence, the defendant moved for a required finding of not guilty. See Mass.R.Crim.P. 25, 378 Mass. 896 (1979). The judge denied the motion and after presentation of the defendant's case, the defendant renewed the motion for a required finding of not guilty. Again, the judge denied the motion and he submitted the case to the jury. The jury deliberated for three days without reaching a verdict. The judge declared a mistrial. The defendant moved to stay retrial pending this appeal 2 of the denial of his motions for a required finding of not guilty. We transferred the case to this court on our own motion. We conclude that the Commonwealth presented sufficient evidence to sustain a conviction under G.L. c. 94C, and therefore double jeopardy principles do not bar the defendant's retrial.

We briefly comment on the procedural posture of this case. 3 The defendant appeals to this court from the denial of his motions for a required finding of not guilty. He contends that Berry v. Commonwealth, 393 Mass. 793, 473 N.E.2d 1115 (1985), permits such an appeal. In Berry, as in this case, the defendant filed a [399 Mass. 3] motion for a required finding of not guilty at the close of the Commonwealth's evidence. Id. at 797, 473 N.E.2d 1115. The trial judge denied that motion. Because the jury could not reach a verdict, the judge declared a mistrial. Id. at 794, 473 N.E.2d 1115. Prior to the second trial, the defendant in Berry filed a motion to dismiss based on the ground that there was insufficient evidence in the first trial, and that a second trial would, therefore, "violate the common law of this Commonwealth against being twice in jeopardy as well as the prohibition against double jeopardy contained in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution." Jones v. Commonwealth, 379 Mass. 607, 615, 400 N.E.2d 242 (1980). Abney v. United States, 431 U.S. 651, 654-662, 97 S.Ct. 2034, 2037, 52 L.Ed.2d 651 (1977). After his motion to dismiss was denied, but prior to retrial, Berry sought relief from a single justice of this court pursuant to G.L. c. 211, § 3. The single justice reported the case to the full court without decision. Berry, supra at 794, 473 N.E.2d 1115. The appropriate procedure to obtain review of the denial of a motion to dismiss based on the ground of double jeopardy is to petition for relief from the single justice pursuant to G.L. c. 211, § 3. The petition may not be filed until after the Commonwealth seeks to put the defendant on trial a second time, the defendant files a motion to dismiss, and the judge denies the motion to dismiss. See Jones v. Commonwealth, 379 Mass. 607, 615, 400 N.E.2d 242 (1980); Costarelli v. Commonwealth, 374 Mass. 677, 679, 373 N.E.2d 1183 (1978); Thames v. Commonwealth, 365 Mass. 477, 477, 312 N.E.2d 569 (1974).

Although this appeal is not properly before us, the parties have fully briefed and argued the issues presented in this case. A remand to allow the defendant to file a motion to dismiss and appeal from the denial of that motion would needlessly frustrate the administration of justice. Thus,

Page 514

we address the merits of the defendant's claim. See Appleton v. Hudson, 397 Mass. 812, 813-814 n. 3, 494 N.E.2d 10 (1986); Cronin v. Strayer, 392 Mass. 525, 527, 467 N.E.2d 143 (1984); Wellesley College v. Attorney Gen., 313 Mass. 722, 731, 49 N.E.2d 220 (1943).

In considering the sufficiency of the evidence, the "question is whether, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime beyond a reasonable [399 Mass. 4] doubt" (emphasis in original). Commonwealth v. Latimore, 378 Mass. 671, 677, 393 N.E.2d 370 (1979), quoting Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307, 318-319, 99 S.Ct. 2781, 2788-89, 61 L.Ed.2d 560 (1979). Evidence and the inferences which may be drawn from the evidence "must be 'of sufficient force to bring minds of ordinary intelligence and sagacity to the persuasion of [guilt] beyond a reasonable doubt.' " Latimore, supra at 677, 393 N.E.2d 370 quoting Commonwealth v. Cooper, 264 Mass. 368, 373, 162 N.E. 729 (1928). We look to the evidence adduced at the close of the Commonwealth's case. Commonwealth v. Casale, 381 Mass. 167, 168, 408 N.E.2d 841 (1980). Commonwealth v. Kelley, 370 Mass. 147, 150, 346 N.E.2d 368 (1976).

The essential elements of the crime of unlawful dispensing of a controlled substance 4 are set out in G.L. c. 94C, § 19, which states that "[a] prescription for a controlled substance [is valid if it is] issued for a legitimate medical purpose by a practitioner acting in the usual course of his professional practice." 5 See Arthurs v. Board of Registration in Medicine, 383 Mass. 299, 418 N.E.2d 1236 (1981); Commonwealth v. Eramo, 377 Mass. 912, 387 N.E.2d 558 (1979). 6 "Practitioner" is specially defined in § 1 of G.L. c. 94C as "[a] physician, dentist, veterinarian, podiatrist, scientific investigator, or other person registered to distribute [or] dispense ... a controlled substance in the course of professional practice...." The registration referred to in the definition [399 Mass. 5] of practitioner involves registration with the Massachusetts...

To continue reading

Request your trial
23 practice notes
  • Commonwealth v. Brown, SJC-10521
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 11, 2010
    ...the “essential elements of the crime of unlawful dispensing of a controlled substance” (emphasis added). Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 4, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987). See Commonwealth v. Pike, 430 Mass. 317, 318, 718 N.E.2d 855 (1999) (upholding dispensing convictions where evide......
  • Huff v. State, No. 16
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1991
    ...decide the constitutional question. County Court of El Paso v. Ruth, 194 Colo. 352, 575 P.2d 1 (1978); Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987); State v. Milenkovich, 236 Neb. 42, 458 N.W.2d 747 (1990); State v. Janvrin, 121 N.H. 370, 430 A.2d 152 (1981); State v......
  • Com. v. Brown, No. 07-P-1631.
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • April 15, 2009
    ...N.E.2d 456 lawful possession of the drugs. Id. at 230-231, 356 N.E.2d 241. Subsequently, the court in Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 4 n. 4, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987), stated, "Both [G.L. c. 94C,] §§ 19 and 32A[,] are involved in the crime of unlawful dispensing of a controlled ......
  • 77 Hawai'i 351, State v. Baranco, No. 16911
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • November 15, 1994
    ...Court of El Paso v. Ruth, 194 Colo. 352, 575 P.2d 1 (1977) (reviewing through writ of prohibition); Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987) (petition for relief from the single justice); Ex Parte Robinson, 641 S.W.2d 552 (Tex.Crim.App.1982) (reviewing through wr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
23 cases
  • Commonwealth v. Brown, SJC-10521
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 11, 2010
    ...the “essential elements of the crime of unlawful dispensing of a controlled substance” (emphasis added). Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 4, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987). See Commonwealth v. Pike, 430 Mass. 317, 318, 718 N.E.2d 855 (1999) (upholding dispensing convictions where evide......
  • Huff v. State, No. 16
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • September 1, 1991
    ...decide the constitutional question. County Court of El Paso v. Ruth, 194 Colo. 352, 575 P.2d 1 (1978); Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987); State v. Milenkovich, 236 Neb. 42, 458 N.W.2d 747 (1990); State v. Janvrin, 121 N.H. 370, 430 A.2d 152 (1981); State v......
  • Com. v. Brown, No. 07-P-1631.
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • April 15, 2009
    ...N.E.2d 456 lawful possession of the drugs. Id. at 230-231, 356 N.E.2d 241. Subsequently, the court in Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 4 n. 4, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987), stated, "Both [G.L. c. 94C,] §§ 19 and 32A[,] are involved in the crime of unlawful dispensing of a controlled ......
  • 77 Hawai'i 351, State v. Baranco, No. 16911
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Hawai'i
    • November 15, 1994
    ...Court of El Paso v. Ruth, 194 Colo. 352, 575 P.2d 1 (1977) (reviewing through writ of prohibition); Commonwealth v. Chatfield-Taylor, 399 Mass. 1, 502 N.E.2d 512 (1987) (petition for relief from the single justice); Ex Parte Robinson, 641 S.W.2d 552 (Tex.Crim.App.1982) (reviewing through wr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT