Com. v. Marshall

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtBefore WILKINS; WILKINS
Parties, 39 A.L.R.3d 848 COMMONWEALTH v. George M. MARSHALL (and sixteen companion cases between the same parties).
Decision Date01 December 1969

Page 333

253 N.E.2d 333
356 Mass. 432, 39 A.L.R.3d 848
COMMONWEALTH

v.
George M. MARSHALL (and sixteen companion cases between the
same parties).
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk.
Argued Oct 7, 1969.
Decided Dec. 1, 1969.

Israel Bernstein, Boston, for defendant.

Robert N. Gross, Asst. Dist. Atty., for Commonwealth.

Before WILKINS, C.J., and SPALDING, CUTTER, KIRK, SPIEGEL, and REARDON, JJ.

WILKINS, Chief Justice.

The defendant was indicted for the crimes of sodomy, G.L. c. 272, § 34; unnatural and lascivious acts with boys under sixteen, second offences, G.L. c. 272, § 35A; indecent assault and battery upon boys under fourteen, G.L. c. 265, § 13B; and being a lewd, wanton, and lascivious person in speech and behavior, G.L. c. 272, § 53. There are seventeen indictments which were tried subject to G.L. c. 278, §§ 33A--33G, and are here on the defendant's appeal with many assignments of error. On so much of the indictments as did not charge second offences, he was tried to a jury, and found guilty on each. On the [356 Mass. 433] remaining portions of the indictments which charged second offences, he was tried jury waived and found guilty on each.

The evidence is extremely sordid. Beyond stating that it was ample to convict, 1

Page 334

we shall not defile our reports by repeating any of it.

The third assignment is that there was error in accepting the recommendations of the district attorney that the trial be conducted in a private hearing, allowing only the witnesses to be present in the court room, and denying the request of the defendant that his mother, sister, brother, and a friend be allowed in the court room. The reasons assigned are that the judge (1) violated the constitutional right of the defendant to a public hearing and (2) misconstrued the provisions of G.L. c. 278, § 16A, which reads: 'At the trial of a complaint or indictment for rape, incest, carnal abuse or other crime involving sex, where a minor under eighteen years of age is the person upon, with or against whom the crime is alleged to have been committed * * * the presiding justice shall exclude the general public from the court room, admitting only such persons as may have a direct interest in the case.'

Both reasons are valid, and we need not consider any other assignments to determine the case.

Before any evidence was taken the judge allowed the district attorney's motion that 'because of the age of the victims' the trial be in private hearing, allowing only the witnesses in the court room. Counsel for the defendant stated that the only spectators present were the defendant's mother, sister, brother, and a friend. The district attorney interjected, 'I would object to that very strongly, Your Honor. That is precisely why I don't want them in the courtroom.' Counsel for the defendant continued, 'I would respectfully...

To continue reading

Request your trial
31 practice notes
  • Com. v. Gordon
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 10, 1996
    ...and the public in a criminal proceeding. Commonwealth v. Martin, 417 Mass. 187, 192, 629 N.E.2d 297 (1994). Commonwealth v. Marshall, 356 Mass. 432, 435, 253 N.E.2d 333 (1969). The First Amendment to the United States Constitution secures the public's right of access to criminal trials, whi......
  • Com. v. Bohmer
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 15, 1978
    ...of the United States is applicable to the courts of the Commonwealth under the Fourteenth Amendment. Commonwealth v. Marshall, 356 Mass. 432, 435, 253 N.E.2d 333 (1969). This guaranty, the importance of which cannot be overstated, exists primarily to prevent the courts from becoming instrum......
  • Gannett Co Inc v. Pasquale, No. 77-1301
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • July 2, 1979
    ...12 (McKinney 1976). Only Massachusetts and Nevada appear to have no state provision for public trials. But see Commonwealth v. Marshall, 356 Mass. 432, 253 N.E.2d 333 (1969). 4. "The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury." 5. "These words are of great importa......
  • Com. v. Baran, No. 07-P-1096.
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • May 15, 2009
    ...mental state. See note 49, supra. Finally—and most important—a closed trial is presumptively unlawful, see Commonwealth v. Marshall, 356 Mass. 432, 435, 253 N.E.2d 333 (1969), and constitutes error per se in the absence of an affirmative showing that closure of the type here comports with a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
31 cases
  • Com. v. Gordon
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • June 10, 1996
    ...and the public in a criminal proceeding. Commonwealth v. Martin, 417 Mass. 187, 192, 629 N.E.2d 297 (1994). Commonwealth v. Marshall, 356 Mass. 432, 435, 253 N.E.2d 333 (1969). The First Amendment to the United States Constitution secures the public's right of access to criminal trials, whi......
  • Com. v. Bohmer
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 15, 1978
    ...of the United States is applicable to the courts of the Commonwealth under the Fourteenth Amendment. Commonwealth v. Marshall, 356 Mass. 432, 435, 253 N.E.2d 333 (1969). This guaranty, the importance of which cannot be overstated, exists primarily to prevent the courts from becoming instrum......
  • Gannett Co Inc v. Pasquale, No. 77-1301
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • July 2, 1979
    ...12 (McKinney 1976). Only Massachusetts and Nevada appear to have no state provision for public trials. But see Commonwealth v. Marshall, 356 Mass. 432, 253 N.E.2d 333 (1969). 4. "The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury." 5. "These words are of great importa......
  • Com. v. Baran, No. 07-P-1096.
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • May 15, 2009
    ...mental state. See note 49, supra. Finally—and most important—a closed trial is presumptively unlawful, see Commonwealth v. Marshall, 356 Mass. 432, 435, 253 N.E.2d 333 (1969), and constitutes error per se in the absence of an affirmative showing that closure of the type here comports with a......
  • 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