Research Memo

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  • Topic: Injury, Jury, Grievous bodily harm
  • Pages : 5 (1158 words )
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  • Published : January 6, 2013
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RWhat constitutes as a dangerous weapon
The use of a particular object in one case should not be construed to mean that any intentional unjustified touching with an object previously held in a different case to have been capable of being a dangerous weapon constitutes a crime; a reasonable jury might well reach a different conclusion as to an object when used in different circumstances. M.G.L.A. c. 265, §§ 15B, 18C. Com. v. Mattei, 455 Mass. 840, 920 N.E.2d 845 (2010)

In determining whether the use of a particular object has been capable of being a dangerous weapon so that its use constituted a crime, the essential question is whether the object, as used by the defendant, is capable of producing serious bodily harm; that question is for the jury to determine, taking into account the purposes for which the object is intended and the manner in which it is used. M.G.L.A. c. 265, §§ 15B, 18C. Com. v. Mattei, 455 Mass. 840, 920 N.E.2d 845 (2010)

The relevant behavior for the offense of assault by means of a dangerous weapon is an outward demonstration of force, and requires only apparent ability to injure, which, of necessity encompasses the particular use that the defendant made of the object. M.G.L.A. c. 265, § 15B(b). Com. v. Mattei, 455 Mass. 840, 920 N.E.2d 845 (2010)

The appropriate standard for determining whether a neutral object was used as a dangerous weapon focuses on the object's apparent ability to inflict harm and whether the victim reasonably so perceived it, irrespective of whether the crimes at issue are assault by means of a dangerous weapon or home invasion. M.G.L.A. c. 265, §§ 15B(b), 18C. Com. v. Mattei, 455 Mass. 840, 920 N.E.2d 845 (2010)

To satisfy the dangerous weapon element of the crime, the grand jury must have heard sufficient evidence to suggest that an instrumentality, controlled by the defendant has the apparent ability to inflict harm; the victim reasonably so perceived it; and the defendant, by use of the instrumentality, intended to cause fear in order to further the robbery. Commonwealth v. Delgado, 367 Mass.432, 436 (1975). Com. v. Calhoun, 2004 WL 5540243

Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had, at the time he was in the store, an object that would qualify as a “dangerous weapon.” The standard definition of “dangerous weapon” includes those items that are, by their nature, capable of causing serious injury or death, but also includes items that are used or displayed in a way such that they reasonably appear capable of causing serious injury or death. Commonwealth v. Tevlin, 433 Mass. 305, 311, 741 N.E.2d 827 (2001); Commonwealth v. Tarrant, 367 Mass. 411, 416-417, 326 N.E.2d 710 (1975). Thus, an object that is, on closer inspection, incapable of inflicting serious injury or death can still be a dangerous weapon if, at the time of the offense, it would have been reasonable to believe that it was capable of inflicting such injury. See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Henson, 357 Mass. 686, 693-694, 259 N.E.2d 769 (1970) Com. v. Powell, 433 Mass. 399, 401, 742 N.E.2d 1061, 1064 (2001)

(victim's reasonable perception that object in defendant's pocket was gun sufficient to support conviction of armed assault with intent to rob even though object was only hairbrush); Commonwealth v. Garafolo, 23 Mass.App.Ct. 905, 907, 499 N.E.2d 839 (1986) Com. v. Powell, 433 Mass. 399, 401, 742 N.E.2d 1061, 1064 (2001)

The jury were properly instructed that, in order for a fake weapon to be considered a “dangerous weapon,” it would **1066 have to be “reasonable” for the victim to believe that the weapon was real or that it was capable of inflicting death or serious bodily injury. Com. v. Powell, 433 Mass. 399, 404, 742 N.E.2d 1061, 1065-66 (2001)

Factors relevant to this determination include the circumstances under which the object is used and the size and condition of the assaulting and assaulted persons. A dangerous weapon is an object capable of doing...
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