Chauncey Wood

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Chauncey Wood is a criminal defense attorney with over 20 years' experience. He is a Board member of the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (MACDL), and a member of the litigation committee for the New England Innocence Project. Mr. Wood was selected for the 2015 Massachusetts Super Lawyers List in the area of criminal defense.

Mr. Wood represents clients in serious criminal matters and other related areas with a civil liberties dimension such as academic discipline proceedings and disputes over military reserve activation. He has successfully defended individuals charged with everything from murder, rape and armed robbery to assault and battery, shoplifting and disorderly conduct. He has won jury acquittals of attempted murder and rape charges.

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Mr. Wood has extensive experience in criminal appeals and post-conviction proceedings. He has overturned the convictions of clients in multiple homicide cases, including Commonwealth v. Celester, 473 Mass. 553 (2016); Commonwealth v. Scott, 427 Mass. 815 (2015); Commonwealth v. Murrell, SJC-09531 (2008); Commonwealth v. Adjutant, 443 Mass. 649 (2005); and Commonwealth v. Faustrum, SJC-08981 (2003), as well as numerous felony convictions and federal drug distribution sentences. In the Celester case, he convinced the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) to extend a defendant's right to the effective assistance of counsel to pre-arraignment custodial interrogations. In the Adjutant case, he convinced the SJC to adopt a new rule of evidence law, making it easier for a defendant to establish that he or she was acting in self-defense. Mr. Wood has also established that lawyers may contact jurors after a verdict to insure a verdict was fair, Commonwealth v. Moore, 474 Mass. 541 (2016), and convinced the SJC to extend defendants' right to a speedy trial, Commonwealth v. Taylor, 469 Mass. 516 (2014), and the protections afforded juveniles in custodial interrogations. See Commonwealth v. Smith, 471 Mass. 161 (2015). Finally, Mr. Wood has established important precedents in the areas of identification procedures, see Commonwealth v. Vardinski, 438 Mass. 444 (2003), and Commonwealth v. Poggi, 53 Mass. App. Ct. 685 (2002), missing witness instructions, see Commonwealth v. Smith, 49 Mass. App. Ct. 827 (2000), the admissibility of expert testimony on sexual abuse, see Commonwealth v. Poitras, 55 Mass. App. Ct. 691 (2002), and the substantive law of attempting to commit a crime. See Commonwealth v. Hamel, 52 Mass. App Ct. 250 (2001).

Mr. Wood received his Bachelor's Degree in English from Harvard College in 1989. In 1994, he graduated with high honors from Boston University School of Law, where he served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Public Interest Law Journal. From 1994-96, he worked in the business crimes unit at Dickstein, Shapiro & Morin, a large Washington, DC firm. From 1996-2000, he was a partner in the Boston firm of Swomley & Wood with John Swomley. There, he served as a district court bar advocate in Cambridge and Somerville. From 2000-2002, Mr. Wood served as a Maryland public defender. He spent time in the Post-Conviction Unit and a felony trial unit. He is a member of the CPCS murder panel and the federal Criminal Justice Act post-conviction and habeas panels. He also serves as the co-chair of the Amicus Committee for the Masschusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. He lectures widely on a variety of criminal defense topics including effective client interviews, litigating ineffective assistance of trial counsel, and habeas corpus.

EDUCATION

BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW - J.D. magna cum laude, 1994.
Boston University Public Interest Law Journal, Editor-in-Chief, 1993-1994.
GPA: 3.73 (top 10% of Class)
Honors: Edward F. Hennessey Distinguished Scholar (top 5% of 3rd Year Class)
Paul J. Liacos Scholar (top 25% of 2nd Year Class);
G. Joseph Tauro Scholar (top 25% of 1st Year Section).

HARVARD UNIVERSITY -Graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in English (1989); Varsity Crew.

EMPLOYMENT

Partner – WOOD & NATHANSON, LLP – BOSTON, MA.  Small law firm specializing in criminal defense.  Numerous post-conviction challenges to serious state and federal felony charges, primarily murder. Extensive experience with collateral consequences of criminal convictions. January, 2008 - present.

Partner - SHEA, LAROCQUE & WOOD - CAMBRIDGE, MA.  Small law firm specializing in criminal defense.  Numerous post-conviction challenges to serious state and federal felony charges, including murder. Extensive experience with collateral consequences of criminal convictions.  September 2002 – December 2007.

Assistant Public Defender - OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER - PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY, MD.  Felony Trial Division.  Represented indigent prisoners in state circuit court felony proceedings. Plea negotiations, evidentiary hearings and jury trials. 2000 - 2002.

Partner - SWOMLEY & WOOD - BOSTON, MA.  Small law firm specializing in criminal defense. Felony and misdemeanor trials and criminal appeals, motion practice, addressing collateral consequences of criminal convictions. Appellate representation of persons subject to lifetime civil commitment under Massachusetts ASexually Dangerous Person@ Legislation. 1996 - 2000.

Associate - DICKSTEIN, SHAPIRO & MORIN - WASHINGTON, DC.  Member of Business Crimes Practice Group, specializing in white collar criminal defense. Advised and defended clients in the full spectrum of criminal and quasi criminal matters from pre investigation compliance programs, through formal proceedings to post appeal matters. Litigation experience in other areas including contract, tort, administrative, federal election, insurance and commercial law. August 1994 August 1996.

PUBLICATIONS

Note, Rape Prosecutions and Privileged Psychological Counselling Records: How Much Does a Defendant Have a Right to Know About His Accuser?, 3 B.U. Pub. Int. L.J. 351 (1993).

LECTURES

Practice Tips for Maryland Public Defenders on Protecting the Record for Appeal and Avoiding Post-Conviction Attack, Upper Marlboro, Maryland (May 17, 2002)

A Practical Guide to Self-Defense Cases after Commonwealth v. Adjutant, Annual Public Defender Training Conference, Worcester, Massachusetts (May 5, 2005)

A Practical Guide to Self-Defense Cases after Commonwealth v. Adjutant, Massachusetts Appointed Murder Counsel CLE Program, Worcester, Massachusetts (September 9, 2005)

A Practical Guide to Self-Defense Cases after Commonwealth v. Adjutant, Suffolk Lawyers for Justice CLE Program, Boston, Massachusetts (January 5, 2006)

Winning Issues in Criminal Appeals, Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys CLE Program, Boston, Massachusetts (April 7, 2006)

Commonwealth v. Lykus: A Case Study in the Challenges Facing Forensic Identification Technicians, Suffolk University/Boston Police Crime Laboratory Class on Forensic Testimony, Boston, Massachusetts (June 14, 2006).

The Role of Expert Testimony in Evaluating Eye-Witness Identification
Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, CLE Program, (November 16, 2006)

Preserving Appellate Rights in Massachusetts Trial Courts, Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, CLE Program (February 13, 2007)

Litigating a State Court Post-Conviction New Trial Motion with an Eye Toward Federal Habeas Litigation, Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Post-Conviction Seminar, (March 30, 2007)

Preserving Appellate Rights in Massachusetts Trial Courts, Middlesex
Defense Attorneys, CLE Program (June 9, 2007)

Massachusetts v. Melendez-Diaz: A Challenge to Forensic Evidence Under Crawford v. Washington, Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, CLE Program (April 3, 2008) 

Federal Court Deference to State Court Fact Findings in Habeas Cases: The Relationship Between 28 U.S.C. §§ 2254(d)(2) and (e)(1), MCLE Habeas Corpus Seminar, Boston, MA (February 5, 2010)

Federal Court Deference to State Court Fact Findings in Habeas Cases: The Relationship Between 28 U.S.C. §§ 2254(d)(2) and (e)(1), MCLE Habeas Corpus Seminar, Boston, MA (February 28, 2011)

Federal Court Deference to State Court Fact Findings in Habeas Cases: The Relationship Between 28 U.S.C. §§ 2254(d)(2) and (e)(1), MCLE Habeas Corpus Seminar, Boston, MA (February 10, 2012)

Opening the Courtroom Door - The Right to a Public Trial in Massachusetts, Annual Public Defender Training Conference, Worcester, MA (May 17, 2012)

Opening the Courtroom Door - The Right to a Public Trial in Massachusetts, Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Post-Conviction Seminar, Boston, MA (November 16, 2012)

Federal Court Deference to State Court Fact Findings in Habeas Cases: The Relationship Between 28 U.S.C. §§ 2254(d)(2) and (e)(1), MCLE Habeas Corpus Seminar, Boston, MA (February 12, 2013)

Dealing with Trial Counsel in the Investigation of Ineffective Assistance Claims, Annual Public Defender Training Conference, Worcester, MA (May 16, 2013)

Hot Topics in Homicide Law, MCLE Annual Homicide Training, Boston, MA (May 17, 2013)

Dealing with Trial Counsel in the Investigation of Ineffective Assistance Claims, CPCS New Trial Motion Litigation Program, Cambridge, MA (June 21, 2013)

Investigation of New Trial Motions: The Importance of the Client Interview, CPCS New Trial Motion Litigation Program, Cambridge, MA (June 22, 2013)

Dealing with Trial Counsel in the Investigation of Ineffective Assistance Claims, Annual MACDL Post-Conviction Seminar, Boston, MA (November 8, 2013)

Panel Discussion, Criminal Appellate Practice Seminar, Boston Bar Association, Boston, MA (December 10, 2013)

A Primer on Amicus Briefs in the Supreme Judicial Court, Annual MACDL Post-Conviction Seminar, Boston, MA (January 16, 2015)

Commonwealth v. Taylor: Greater Protection of the Right to a Speedy Trial or Window Dressing? Annual Public Defender Training Conference, Worcester, MA (May 14, 2015)

The Practical Challenges of Pursuing Claims Alleging Ineffective Assistance of Counsel, Harvard Law School Criminal Procedure class, Cambridge, MA (February 12, 2016)

Amicus Committee Update, Annual Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Post-Conviction Seminar, Boston, MA (March 18, 2016)

Commonwealth v. Cosenza: Procedural Challenges to Litigating Innocence Claims, Boston University School of Law, Boston, MA (March 29, 2016)

Criminal Law Update, Suffolk Lawyers for Justice Annual Conference, Boston, MA (May 4, 2016)

Cell Site Location Information, CPCS Conference on Cutting Edge Legal Issues, Boston, MA (May 20, 2016)

Effective Appellate Advocacy, Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Boston, MA (January 18, 2017)

Eyewitness Evidence, Innocence, and a New Life, Committee for Public Counsel Services, Boston, MA (February 15, 2017)

MEMBERSHIPS

Bars: Massachusetts (1995); New York (1995) (inactive); District of Columbia (1995) (inactive); District of Massachusetts (1997); First Circuit Court of Appeals (2002).
- Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Board of Directors (2015 – present); Amicus Committee Co-Chair (2014 – present)
- New England Innocence Project Litigation Committee (2016-

- Middlesex Defense Attorneys District Court Panel (Cambridge, Somerville Dist. Ct.) (1996-2000)
- Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services Post-Conviction Panel (1997-)
- Massachusetts Committee for Public Counsel Services Murder Panel (2002-)
- Criminal Justice Act First Circuit Post Conviction Panel (2003-)
- Suffolk Lawyers for Justice, Board Member (2004-2014)
- Massachusetts Association of Court Appointed Attorneys, Board Member (2004-2005)