Com. v. Ryan

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Writing for the CourtBefore WILKINS; SPALDING
Citation355 Mass. 768,247 N.E.2d 564
Decision Date02 May 1969
PartiesCOMMONWEALTH v. William F. RYAN et al.

Page 564

247 N.E.2d 564
355 Mass. 768
COMMONWEALTH

v.
William F. RYAN et al.
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk.
Argued March 4, 1969.
Decided May 2, 1969.

[355 Mass. 769] Paul J. Burns, Boston, for defendant Ryan.

Page 565

Willie J. Davis, Asst. Atty. Gen., for the Commonwealth.

Robert A. Stanziani, Boston, for defendant Reppucci, submitted a brief.

Before [355 Mass. 768] WILKINS, C.J., and SPALDING, WHITTEMORE, CUTTER and KIRK, JJ.

[355 Mass. 769] SPALDING, Justice.

These are appeals under G.L. c. 278, §§ 33A--33G. The defendant William F. Ryan appeals from convictions under indictments charging larceny, conspiracy and a violation of G.L. c. 268, § 6A. 1 The defendant Carmen Reppucci appeals from convictions under indictments charging larceny, receiving stolen goods, and conspiracy.

THE RYAN CASE.

The evidence showed that Ryan was in charge of the supply room for the Division of Employment Security (division) of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Data-processing cards were stored in the supply room. Ryan, among others, had keys and access to this room. Inventory cards were maintained there for the purpose of determining the number of each type of data-processing card on hand at a given time. In January, 1967, a requisition was sent to the supply room for seven cases of a certain type of data-processing card. Although the inventory card showed that fifty-two cases should have been on hand, only four cases [355 Mass. 770] could be found. A subsequent audit of the supply room showed that more than 2,700 cases were missing.

Mrs. Delores Bisbee, a former employee of the division, testified in an oral deposition introduced in evidence that data-processing cards ordinarily would be delivered from the supply room only if there was a requisition for them. A typed copy of a requisition order with handwritten additions was introduced. Mrs. Bisbee testified, subject to Ryan's exception, that the additions were in Ryan's handwriting. The cards represented by these additions were never received or authorized by the requisition party. Ryan was further connected to the theft of the cards by evidence that he and two other men were seen loading cartons of data-processing cards onto a truck which had 'Reppucci Brothers' appearing on it.

1. Ryan argues that no sufficient foundation was laid for Mrs. Bisbee's identification of his handwriting. After she stated she could identify the handwriting on the copy of the requisition slip, the following occurred. Q. 'Mrs. Bisbee, how long did you say you worked with William Ryan?' A. 'Since December of '63.' Q. 'And during that time, did you have an occasion to observe his handwriting?' A. 'Yes, I did.' Q. 'And I ask you, Mrs. Bisbee, if you saw his handwriting, would you be able to identify it?' A. 'Yes.' She then testified that the additions on the copy of the requisition slip were in Ryan's handwriting. The cross-examination of the witness on this issue was as follows: Q. 'Now, I understand your testimony that Mr. Ryan, at one time you believed you saw what was his handwriting?' A. 'Yes, sir.' Q. 'Was that in pencil or in writing?' A. 'Ink.' Q. 'That was his job as your supervisor, to supervise your work?' A. 'Yes.' Q. 'And on occasions, he made entries also, just as Charley or Frank Castro made writings on paper?' A. 'He would--if it was getting behind and I wasn't in, he might have worked on my cards too, yes.'

A witness who is familiar with a person's handwriting may give an opinion as to whether the specimen in question was [355 Mass. 771] written by that person. Noyes v. Noyes, 224 Mass. 125, 130, 112 N.E. 850. Whether a witness is qualified to give such an opinion is a question, in...

To continue reading

Request your trial
17 practice notes
  • Com. v. Porter
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • February 17, 1983
    ...251 Mass. 369, 371, 146 N.E. 661 (1925). Commonwealth v. Kelley, 333 Mass. at 195, Page 633 129 N.E.2d 900. Commonwealth v. Ryan, 355 Mass. 768, 773, 247 N.E.2d 564 (1969). Commonwealth v. Sandler, 368 Mass. 729, 741-742, 335 N.E.2d 903 (1975). Commonwealth v. Burns, 388 Mass. 178, 180, 445......
  • Com. v. Sandler
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • October 9, 1975
    ...900 (1963). Commonwealth v. Wilbur, 353 Mass. 376, 384--385, 231 N.E.2d 919 (1967). Commonwealth v. Ryan, 355 Page 912 Mass. 768, 773, 247 N.E.2d 564 (1969). Although the defendant testified at his trial, he made no explanation of how he came into possession of the stolen merchandise. Inste......
  • Com. v. O'Connell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 12, 2003
    ...a person's handwriting may give an opinion as to whether the specimen in question was written by that person." Commonwealth v. Ryan, 355 Mass. 768, 770-771, 247 N.E.2d 564 (1969). The question of a witness's qualifications to give such testimony is committed to the sound discretion of ......
  • Com. v. Settipane
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • October 24, 1977
    ...353 Mass. 376, 384, 231 N.E.2d 919 (1967), cert. denied, 390 U.S. 1010, 88 S.Ct. 1260, 20 L.Ed.2d 161 (1968). Commonwealth v. Ryan, 355 Mass. 768, 773 [5 Mass.App.Ct. 653] (1969). Commonwealth v. Smith, 3 Mass.App. ---, --- h, 324 N.E.2d 924 (1975). Commonwealth v. Obshatkin, 2 Mass.App. at......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
17 cases
  • Com. v. Porter
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • February 17, 1983
    ...251 Mass. 369, 371, 146 N.E. 661 (1925). Commonwealth v. Kelley, 333 Mass. at 195, Page 633 129 N.E.2d 900. Commonwealth v. Ryan, 355 Mass. 768, 773, 247 N.E.2d 564 (1969). Commonwealth v. Sandler, 368 Mass. 729, 741-742, 335 N.E.2d 903 (1975). Commonwealth v. Burns, 388 Mass. 178, 180, 445......
  • Com. v. Sandler
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • October 9, 1975
    ...900 (1963). Commonwealth v. Wilbur, 353 Mass. 376, 384--385, 231 N.E.2d 919 (1967). Commonwealth v. Ryan, 355 Page 912 Mass. 768, 773, 247 N.E.2d 564 (1969). Although the defendant testified at his trial, he made no explanation of how he came into possession of the stolen merchandise. Inste......
  • Com. v. O'Connell
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • February 12, 2003
    ...a person's handwriting may give an opinion as to whether the specimen in question was written by that person." Commonwealth v. Ryan, 355 Mass. 768, 770-771, 247 N.E.2d 564 (1969). The question of a witness's qualifications to give such testimony is committed to the sound discretion of ......
  • Com. v. Settipane
    • United States
    • Appeals Court of Massachusetts
    • October 24, 1977
    ...353 Mass. 376, 384, 231 N.E.2d 919 (1967), cert. denied, 390 U.S. 1010, 88 S.Ct. 1260, 20 L.Ed.2d 161 (1968). Commonwealth v. Ryan, 355 Mass. 768, 773 [5 Mass.App.Ct. 653] (1969). Commonwealth v. Smith, 3 Mass.App. ---, --- h, 324 N.E.2d 924 (1975). Commonwealth v. Obshatkin, 2 Mass.App. at......
  • 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