The state’s highest court upheld a Charlestown man’s conviction for first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Mark Parilla on Monument Street six years ago, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a press release dated Jan. 8.
The unanimous decision of the Supreme Judicial Court ensures that 31-year-old Carlos Maldonado will continue to serve his life sentence for killing Parilla after a fight in the Bunker Hill housing development on Dec. 26, 2006.
Maldonado was arrest by Boston Police on Feb. 16, 2007 and convicted of the murder in April 2008.
Among other things, Maldonado claimed on appeal that his trial was effectively closed to the public, which is a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to a public trial, when gang-related activity prompted the presiding judge to order that spectators show identification and sign in with a court officer.
“We conclude … that the conditions imposed on the entry into the court room in this case did not rise to the level of a constitutional closure and, therefore, even if imposed in error, would not require reversal of the conviction,” Justice Ralph Gants wrote.
“When spectators must first identify themselves before entering a court room, they lose their anonymity and therefore become more accountable for their conduct in the court room, because if they then attempt to intimidate a witness or disrupt the proceedings, the court officer will know who they are. This has the benefit both of discouraging those who had intended to engage in such behavior from attending the trial, and of diminishing the risk that those who do attend the trial will engage in intimidating or disruptive conduct.”
Conley hailed the decision, saying the trial judge took common-sense steps to protect jurors, witnesses, spectators, and even the defendant.
“Threats and intimidation have no place in our justice system, least of all in a courthouse,” Conley said.
“This judge took measured but appropriate steps to protect the integrity of the proceedings and the safety of every party. That sensible approach was hardly a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights,” he said.