Com. v. Welcome

Citation348 Mass. 68,201 N.E.2d 827
Decision Date29 October 1964
CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts

Page 827

201 N.E.2d 827
348 Mass. 68

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Hampshire.
Argued Oct. 5, 1964.
Decided Oct. 29, 1964.

[348 Mass. 69]

Page 828

Stephen R. Kaplan, Amherst, for defendant.

Oscar Grife, Asst. Dist. Atty., for the Commonwealth.


[348 Mass. 69] REARDON, Justice.

The indictment charges the defendant with an indecedent assault and batter on a female child under the age of fourteen years. The case was tried before a judge sitting without a jury under G.L. c. 278, §§ 33A-33G. The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Walpole. He is here on appeal and has alleged various assignments of error.

The incident which gave rise to the indictment occurred in April, 1963, in Amherst when the defendant who was driving his young son home from school at noon also gave a ride to a seven year old girl. Disposition of the assignments of error does not require any extended discussion of the details of the alleged assault.

1. The defendant contends that it was error to deny his motion for a psychiatric examination of the little girl who was the complaining witness, that there might be a report to the court on her ability to tell the truth, and on her mental health and intelligence. Such an examination, which may be ordered under G.L. c. 123, § 99, is purely discretionary with the trial judge. He saw the girl, and the transcript of evidence is amply descriptive of the opportunity which he took to observe her, as it is of the effort made by the judge throughout to lighten the impact of the proceedings upon the children who testified. There was no error in his denital of the motion.

[348 Mass. 70] 2. Nor did he err in permitting her to testify. The colloquy between judge and witness prior to her testimony was as follows: THE JUDGE: 'Do you know what it means to tell a lie?' THE WITNESS: 'Yes.' THE JUDGE: 'What does that mean to you?' THE WITNESS: 'You tell something that's wrong.' THE JUDGE: 'And what happens to little girls who tell things that aren't true?' THE WITNESS: 'I don't know.' The test elaborated in Commonwealth v. Tatisos, 238 Mass. 322, 325-326, 130 N.E. 495, does not call for a full understanding by a juvenile witness of the obligations of the oath. The witness in stating that she knew a lie was the telling of 'something that's wrong'...

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82 cases
  • Com. v. Montanino
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • March 11, 1991
    ...404 Mass. 733, 744, 537 N.E.2d 130 (1989); Commonwealth v. Trapp, 396 Mass. 202, 206, 485 N.E.2d 162 (1985); Commonwealth v. Welcome, 348 Mass. 68, 70-71, 201 N.E.2d 827 (1964). In the present case, the Commonwealth claims that Paul's testimony was relevant to Paul's state of mind at the ti......
  • Com. v. Shipps
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • May 12, 1987
    ...214, 224-226, 496 N.E.2d 433 (1986); Commonwealth v. King, 387 Mass. 464, 468-472, 441 N.E.2d 248 (1982). Cf. Commonwealth v. Welcome, 348 Mass. 68, 70, 201 N.E.2d 827 (1964).The defendant's mother testified that the defendant's grandmother had given the defendant several pieces of jewelry ......
  • Com. v. Widrick
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • August 23, 1984
    ...competency to testify at trial. Commonwealth v. Gibbons, 378 Mass. 766, 767-769, 393 N.E.2d 400 (1979). Commonwealth v. Welcome, 348 Mass. 68, 69, 201 N.E.2d 827 (1964). This court interpreted G.L. c. 123, § 99, as providing a "simple, efficient and impartial method of determining ... wheth......
  • Com. v. Helfant
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • August 13, 1986
    ...... Id. at 472, 441 N.E.2d 248. In the present case, however, the other two acts were with unrelated people, and they occurred six months apart and more than two years earlier than the charged offense. .         In King, the court did not purport to overrule Commonwealth v. Welcome, 348 Mass. 68, 201 N.E.2d 827 (1964). In fact, in Commonwealth v. Sylvester, 388 Mass. 749, 757, 448 N.E.2d 1106 (1983), the court expressly stated that "Commonwealth v. King, supra, and Commonwealth v. Gallison, 383 Mass. 659, 421 N.E.2d 757 (1981), do not overrule Commonwealth v. Welcome, ......
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