In his cross-examination of the Commonwealth's principal witness, who was an admitted participant in the burglary for which the defendant was being tried as an accessory before the fact, and whose testimony directly implicated the defendant, the defendant succeeded in eliciting from the witness that, in the separate prosecution brought against the witness, (1) the witness had pleaded guilty; (2) the witness had been promised a lenient sentence recommendation by the prosecutor, (3) the witness had been advised by a judge, presumably at the time his guilty plea was received, that the prosecutor's sentence recommendation imposed no obligation on the court; and (4) the witness had not yet been sentenced. The judge (in the present case) refused to permit the witness to respond to the defendant's further question: namely, whether the recommendation was of a suspended sentence. We are of the opinion that that was an improper restriction on cross-examination into bias, which is a matter of right and may not be unduly curtailed. Davis v. Alaska, 415 U.S. 308, 315-318 (1974). Commonwealth v. Graziano, 368 Mass. 325 , 330-331 (1975). Commonwealth v. Ahearn, 370 Mass. 283 , 287 (1976). "[W]ide latitude is crucial when the testimony of an accomplice is involved." United States v. Dickens, 417 F.2d 958, 960 (8th Cir. 1969). In such cases the defendant has a right to make full inquiry into promises of leniency. Gordon v. United States, 344 U.S. 414, 422-423 (1953). United States v. Dickens, supra at 959-961. United States v. Mayer, 556 F.2d 245, 248-250 (5th Cir. 1977). Commonwealth v. Michel, 367 Mass. 454 , 459-460 (1975). Commonwealth v. Dominico, 1 Mass. App. Ct. 693 , 713-714 (1974), and cases cited. No reason is suggested why the defendant should have to settle for the generality that the recommendation was to be for leniency; he was entitled to have the specific recommendation which had been promised to the witness made known to the jury. The specific recommendation was not brought out in another manner, as in Commonwealth v. Walker, 370 Mass. 548 , 572, cert. denied, 429 U.S. 943 (1976). The error cannot be said to have been harmless.
Verdict set aside.
The defendant was convicted of armed robbery after a trial in which he elected to proceed without counsel although counsel remained with him, available to assist, throughout the trial. The defendant seeks to raise three issues by his assignments of error, but those assignments were not the subject of exceptions at trial and therefore bring nothing before this court. Commonwealth v. Fields, 371 Mass. 274 , 277 (1976). "We apply this rule in the same manner, whether the defendant represents himself alone, represents himself with the assistance of counsel . . . , or is
represented by counsel." Commonwealth v. Miller, 4 Mass. App. Ct. 379 , 382 (1976). We examine the defendant's contentions only to ascertain if there is, as he contends, "a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice." Commonwealth v. Freeman, 352 Mass. 556 , 564 (1967). 1. We do not think that the prosecutor's apparently inadvertent mention, during closing argument, that a particular conversation between the police and the defendant had taken place "in jail" created in the circumstances a substantial likelihood that the jury would draw an inference that the defendant had been convicted previously of some other crime. We agree with the Commonwealth that the most likely inference, if the question in fact occurred to any juror, was that the defendant was in jail in connection with the crime charged in this proceeding. Cf. Commonwealth v. Vanetzian, 350 Mass. 491 , 495 (1966). In any event, in the absence of objection, the judge's general instructions concerning closing arguments were adequate to deal with any possible prejudice to the defendant. Commonwealth v. Johnson, 374 Mass. 453 , 458 (1978). See also Commonwealth v. Balakin, 356 Mass. 547 , 551-552 (1969); Commonwealth v. Curry, 368 Mass. 195 , 203 (1975). 2. The prosecutor's argument concerning the mark or scar one of the robbers had on his neck which had been observed by one of the victims and testified to at trial was not improper. The prosecutor had the right to argue from the evidence and suggest inferences favorable to his case. Commonwealth v. Nordstrom, 364 Mass. 310 , 315 (1973). 3. The judge's instructions concerning the concept of reasonable doubt, read in their entirety, were not misleading. See Commonwealth v. Gerald, 356 Mass. 386 , 389-390 (1969); Commonwealth v. Pettie, 363 Mass. 836 , 842-843 (1973). Accordingly we find no "substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice."