Commonwealth v. Daley
about ten to twenty feet down the street to determine what he hit.
Thedefendant did not see anything in the street and got in the car and droveaway.
The defendant noticed damage to his side view mirror butassumed he had hit a signpost, fire hydrant, or something else solid.
Thedefendant maintains that he is unaware that he hit a person until he heardthe announcement of the police press conference at which point he turnedhimself in.
III. Issues Presented
Whether under G. L. c. 90, § 24(2)(a1/2)(2) the Commonwealth has the burden to prove that a defendant knowingly collided with a person ratherthan an object to receive a conviction for leaving the scene of an accidentwhere death resulted.
IV. Holdings and Reasoning
The Court relied on the ordinary language of the sentence to interpretthe statute.
The court found that the adverb “knowingly” modifies bothverbs within the clause.
Here, the statute states “Whoever operates amotor vehicle . . . [who] goes away to avoid prosecution or evadeapprehension after
colliding with or otherwise causing injury toany person shall, if the injuries result in the death of a person, bepunished . . . .”
The Commonwealth argued: (1) that Commonwealth v.McMenimon
and Commonwealth v. Horsfall
apply; and (2) that thelegislative history of the statute supports their argument that the defendantdoes not have to have knowledge that the object he struck was, in fact, aperson.
For the first argument, the Court found that these cases could bedistinguished from the case at issue on the facts—neither of those casesdealt with the issue of whether a defendant had knowledge that he collided
Id. at 622.
Commonwealth v. Daley, supra at 622.
Id. at 621-622.
Id. at 620.
Id. at 623, citing Foss v. Commonwealth, 437 Mass. 584, 586 (2002).
Id., citing Flores Figueroa v. United States, 556 U.S. 646, 647 (2000); Ten Local CitizenGroup v. New England Wind, LLC, 457 Mass. 222, 229 (2010); Rowley v. Massachusetts Elec.Co., 438 Mass. 798, 802 (2003).
G. L. c. 90, § 24(2) (a ½) (2).
Commonwealth v. McMenimon, 295 Mass. 467 (1936).
Commonwealth v. Horsfall, 213 Mass. 232 (1913).
Commonwealth v. Daley, supra at 624-625.