Commonwealth v. Twombly

CourtUnited States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
Decision Date01 May 1946

319 Mass. 464

66 N.E.2d 362


Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Suffolk.

May 1, 1946

April 1, 1946.

Present: FIELD, C.


Evidence, Admissions and confessions, Competency. Error, Whether error harmful. Practice, Criminal, Exceptions: whether error harmful.

Testimony by a witness at a criminal trial as to statements, made by a third person to the witness about the defendant's conduct and in the defendant's presence while he was not under arrest, was not competent as showing an admission by the defendant but was mere incompetent hearsay where the witness further testified that the defendant at the time of the making of the statements unequivocally denied their truth.

The mere fact that, after arrest, a defendant stated that if he received probation he "would accept it, but that otherwise" he "would fight it to the end," did not make competent testimony, previously but improperly admitted, respecting statements made in the defendant's presence before his arrest, the truth of which he then unequivocally denied.

The admission of incompetent evidence that the defendant had had illicit relations with a man at a hotel was prejudicial error at the trial of a complaint against a woman for being an idle and disorderly person.

COMPLAINT, received and sworn to in the Municipal Court of the City of Boston on August 3, 1945.

Upon appeal to the Superior Court, the case was tried before Swift, J. The defendant was found guilty and alleged exceptions.

W. G. Hollingsworth, (T.

E. Dwyer with him,) for the defendant.

John J. Sullivan, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.

QUA, J. At the trial in the Superior Court of a complaint against the defendant for being an idle and disorderly person (G. L. [Ter. Ed.] c. 272, Section 53, as appearing in St. 1943, c. 377), a policewoman was allowed to testify that she had a conversation with one Mary Paradisco in the defendant's presence, the defendant not then being under arrest, in which Mary Paradisco said that early that morning she and the [319 Mass. 465] defendant, with two service men, had engaged a room with twin beds at a hotel, that she (Mary Paradisco) and one of the service men had occupied one bed, and the defendant and the other service man had occupied the other bed, and that each of the women had relations with the man she was with. The witness then testified that after Mary Paradisco...

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