Edward Armstrong and William Scott, both from Framingham, Massachusetts were arraigned earlier this week and charged with Home Invasion. It is alleged that this past Sunday just after 10:30 p.m. both defendants forced their way into an apartment by their home. Present were a man and a woman. Scott held the woman against the wall. Armstrong punched the male occupant in the face several times. He also hit him with a crowbar. Prosecutors have stated that the male victim has suffered significant facial injuries and remains hospitalized. Both the defendants and the victim live on Grant Street. The defendants took the case that was in the man's wallet. Earlier in the day the male victim boasted about having won five hundred dollars from a scratch ticket. If fact, the ticket was only for five dollars. Neighbors were aware of the five hundred dollar windfall and it is suggested that through them the defendants believed that the victim had money. In addition to the Home Invasion charge both men face counts of Larceny Over $250, Breaking and Entering a Motor Vehicle, Armed Robbery and Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon. Both defendants have prior criminal matters. Right now the cases are being prosecuted in the Framingham District Court. I would imagine that these matters will be prosecuted in the Middlesex County Superior Court in Woburn.
Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer
The Massachusetts Home Invasion statute is Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 18C. This law makes it a crime for anyone to enter someone else's home, knowing or believing them to be home, with a dangerous weapon and threatens and uses force on the occupant or occupants. This is a life felony and there is a minimum twenty year sentence associated with a conviction for this crime. There are some pretty interesting aspects to this statute. The district attorney has no obligation to prove that the accused had knowledge that people lived in the dwelling. All that they have to prove is that while in the dwelling the defendant remained there "knowing or having reason to know" that someone was in the property. Also, there can be no affirmative defense of "self defense" in Home Invasion Case in Massachusetts where the occupant of the dwelling uses force to repel the defendant. Even though there is a twenty year minimum sentence someone convicted of this crime can be placed on probation. However, if a sentence of incarceration is to be imopsed it must be for at least twenty years.
As a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer I can tell you that very few of these cases are supported by the facts that the statute was intended to punish. Cases that are charged as Home Invasions initially have facts similar to those set out above. Sometimes the facts are in fact more egregious. The victim or victims will report that they were simply in their homes when someone broke in and beat them. Often times their complaints contain allegations of theft. In reality, many of these cases involve drug ripoffs or drug deals gone bad. The physical beating might be significant enough to warrant medical attention and during the course of treatment the "innocent" victim will state that he was robbed. Other times the victim reports the "crime" in retaliation for the failed drug deal. With the assistance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer the accused might be able to fight these charges successfully at trial. Explaining these facts to the district attorney during plea negotiations is sometimes an option however this can unnecessarily alert them to defense strategy or theory. The "victims" in these cases are reluctant to testify. They often have exposure themselves either for drug dealing or some other type of illegal activity. Very few of these cases go to trial and if handled properly can result in a verdict of not guilty or a dismissal.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman has defended countless Violent Crimes in Massachusetts including Home Invasions. We have succeeded in negotiating resolutions and by winning trials. We believe that no case is hopeless. Everyone deserves a defense. We encourage you to call us with any questions about your case. We can be reached at 617-263-6800 or you can email us.