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Judge, Lawyers Criticized in Reversal of Conviction


— December 12, 2003

Saying that the judge, the defense attorney, and a Suffolk County [MA] prosecutor committed major mistakes, the state’s highest court yesterday ordered a new trial for a former Chelsea man convicted in 1997 of beating his 7-month-old son to death.

The decision in favor of Kareed Baker, who has maintained his innocence and insisted to reporters after his conviction, “I did not kill my son,” was unusual in that the Supreme Judicial Court found fault with every party in the murder trial.

“I don’t think this is the first case” of its kind, Baker’s appellate attorney, Philip G. Cormier, said yesterday, “but I think it’s an extremely rare occurrence, and I think it goes to demonstrate the extent of the miscarriage of justice in this case.”

Justice John M. Greaney, writing for the unanimous court, pointedly found fault with Baker’s defense lawyer, Scott P. Curtis; former Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Pamela J. Wechsler; and Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas E. Connolly. “In this case, conduct by the defendant’s trial counsel, the prosecutor, and the judge each contributed to a verdict that cannot be said to be fair,” Greaney wrote.

Baker was accused of slamming his son, Dymitris, into the wall of his Lafayette Avenue apartment in Chelsea on Sept. 12, 1996. At the time, Baker was 23 and living with the baby’s mother, Naomi Poe, who was 16. Poe testified as a prosecution witness.

An intersting article from The Boston Globe.


Saying that the judge, the defense attorney, and a Suffolk County [MA] prosecutor committed major mistakes, the state’s highest court yesterday ordered a new trial for a former Chelsea man convicted in 1997 of beating his 7-month-old son to death.

The decision in favor of Kareed Baker, who has maintained his innocence and insisted to reporters after his conviction, “I did not kill my son,” was unusual in that the Supreme Judicial Court found fault with every party in the murder trial.

“I don’t think this is the first case” of its kind, Baker’s appellate attorney, Philip G. Cormier, said yesterday, “but I think it’s an extremely rare occurrence, and I think it goes to demonstrate the extent of the miscarriage of justice in this case.”

Justice John M. Greaney, writing for the unanimous court, pointedly found fault with Baker’s defense lawyer, Scott P. Curtis; former Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Pamela J. Wechsler; and Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thomas E. Connolly. “In this case, conduct by the defendant’s trial counsel, the prosecutor, and the judge each contributed to a verdict that cannot be said to be fair,” Greaney wrote.

Baker was accused of slamming his son, Dymitris, into the wall of his Lafayette Avenue apartment in Chelsea on Sept. 12, 1996. At the time, Baker was 23 and living with the baby’s mother, Naomi Poe, who was 16. Poe testified as a prosecution witness.

An intersting article from The Boston Globe.

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