Articles Posted in Domestic Violence

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One of the crimes most frequently defended by Massachusetts criminal lawyers is the case of domestic assault and battery. The statute prohibiting the conduct is Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 13A. Not many people are aware that the crime of assault and battery in Massachusetts is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to two and one half years in the house of correction and a one thousand dollar fine. The term “domestic” does not change the actual criminal charge. Rather, it is a description commonly used by lawyers and lay people alike in reference to someone in a relationship causing physical harm to the other person in that relationship. Massachusetts judges and district attorneys for some reason seem to view assault and battery cases of this nature as being more serious than other assaultive conduct; i.e. a fist fight. For this very reason anyone charged with hitting or threatening a domestic partner should not go into court without a lawyer.

Why Are These Cases Taken So Seriously in Massachusetts?

The answer to this question is simple. The risk of harm to the victim coupled with the consequences facing the accused trigger great scrutiny of these cases. As to the victim, the prosecution and judges want to make sure that they are safe. Domestic issues are emotional issues and rationality often takes a backseat to reason and logic when emotions are tested. Ensuring that the complainant is safe from further attack is the first order of business. On the other hand, someone needs to protect the accused to make sure that his or her rights are protected as well. Domestic assault and battery allegations prompt the issuance of restraining orders. A violation of a restraining order can in some instances be a felony. For instance, an assault and battery in violation of a restraining order is a felony that can result in a five-year prison sentence. This again is reason enough for anyone charged with this crime to be represented by a lawyer.

What if I Didn’t Do Anything and the Complainant is Lying?

The sensitivity and volatility of domestic assault and battery cases usually leads judges, at least initially, to side with the complainant. No judge wants to see his or her name in the paper with an accusation that they did nothing to protect a “victim” in a domestic case. So, absent effective representation they will render harsh judgments against the accused in the form of restraining orders, pretrial detention and stiff sentences. An experienced criminal defense lawyer, properly prepared, will be able to demonstrate to the judge in appropriate circumstances that the accusations are lies. This can be done by getting witnesses to appear in court to refute the charges, show a pattern of lies in restraining order affidavits, reveal illicit motives for the duplicitous complaints and more. There is always a reason for making a false complaint of domestic abuse and a skilled defense lawyer will demonstrate this to the judge or jury. Aggressive defenses in these matters are often necessary and a quick start on your defense can save you the trouble of trying to vacate restrictions on your life at a later time.

Why Do People Lie In Domestic Abuse Cases?

There are many reasons people lie in domestic assault and battery cases. Sometimes people want to control their partner. If the complainant fears that the accused is planning to leave them a restraining order or complaint of domestic abuse gives them control during the pendency of the case. They can lie and tell the judge that the defendant violated the restraining order if the defendant does not do as they demand. Sometimes people wrongly believe that an accusation of domestic abuse will give them the upper hand in a divorce or child custody proceeding. Other times, abusing the courts with false claims of abuse is a way of “getting even” with a cheating spouse. Other times it is done out of pure evil. A good criminal defense lawyer will work with you to expose the “victim’s” illicit motives and get you a proper result in court.

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The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that the death of a Salem, Massachusetts man might be the product of a Domestic Violence incident occurring in Gloucester yesterday. A man in an apartment complex heard a noise loud enough to cause him to look outside. He then saw the victim on the ground in the parking lot. The victim was bleeding from his left side. The police responded and located a forty-three year old Haverhill man whose truck had either run over or somehow hit the victim. After questioning the man, James Hayes was released. Hayes is the father of the victim’s girlfriend’s daughter. A witness reports that Hayes had been arguing with the victim just before the incident. No arrests have been made nor have any charges been filed.

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Massachusetts Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

Lawyers Who Defend People Accused of Domestic Disputes in Essex County

This article highlights why prosecutors in Massachusetts take Domestic Violence cases so seriously. They are often afraid that death or serious bodily injury can result if the situation is not diffused. Oftentimes the district attorney will ask for a high bail or for detention pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 276 Section 58A to make sure that the accused cannot get out of jail and further assault the victim.

Interestingly enough, in some counties in Massachusetts detention is requested on every case involving an incident of Domestic Violence. Placing form over substance in these matters is not, in my opinion a prudent way for prosecutors to proceed with Domestic Violence cases. Judges can become numb to routine detention requests. Prosecutors applying this strategy risk blending the more serious cases with the less serious cases. While some judges might routinely rubber stamp a request for detention others are liable to question the integrity of the prosecutors and release people who might actually deserve detention. The Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer you hire should be someone who is familiar with the practices of the district attorneys in the county where you are being prosecuted as well as with the judges who regularly sit there. Selecting the right lawyer to defend you can make the difference between freedom and being held in jail while waiting to have your case heard on its merits.

Here is something else that interests me about this case. Why did Hayes talk to the police? Most people believe that no harm can come from talking to the police if you have nothing to hide. Most Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorneys disagree with that statement however. Police usually ask questions designed to elicit a particular answer. The questions are not usually open ended. They are pointed and innocent answers can be interpreted as representative of criminal responsibility. Again, my advice is to never talk to the police without first discussing matters with an Experienced Criminal Lawyer.

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A six year old Lynn, Massachusetts girl needed shoes brought up to her elementary school. The girl’s mother, Rosilda Lopez was called and became upset. The twenty eight year old mother went to the school and hit the girl in the face two times. The reason: wearing the wrong pair of shoes. Another child witnessed the incident. This child told school officials. It turns out that a school surveillance camera caught Lopez committing the act. Lopez has now been charged with two counts of Assault and Battery in the Lynn District Court.

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Lynn, Massachusetts Violent Crimes, Assault and Battery Defense Law Firm

Lynn, Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney

So here is the question raised by this case. Just how far can a parent go in physically disciplining his or her child? The answer is not easy. Spanking is a form of Assault and Battery. Yet spanking has not been outlawed in Massachusetts. In 2007 there was a bill placed before the Massachusetts Legislature proposing a ban on spanking. That bill never passed. Nevertheless, in Massachusetts Assault and Battery cases are brought against parents who have hit their children. In my opinion the line between “spanking” and Assault and Battery has not been adequately distinguished by Massachusetts law. There is a proposed jury instruction which read that a “parent, or one acting in the position of a parent and who has assumed the responsibilities of a parent, may use reasonable force to discipline (his/her) minor child. However, a parent may not use excessive force as a means of discipline or chastisement.” Yet all of the Massachusetts cases that discuss spanking conclude that the conduct by the defendant was excessive and thus did not constitute spanking but rather an Assault and Battery. As a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer I would be concerned any time law enforcement got involved in a matter that the parent characterized as a spanking. Chances are strong that such cases will be prosecuted and most judges will not be helpful to the defense in resolving the case.

Here however the situation is likely different. Lopez’s actions are not likely to be justified if 1) the videotape shows excessive physical conduct on her part and 2) if the reason was wearing the wrong pair of shoes. Additionally, the involvement of the Department of Children and Families will complicate the defense. Lopez will want to cooperate with DCF to prevent losing custody of her daughter. There is however a risk to doing so with a pending criminal case. Lopez has a Fifth Amendment privilege that most lawyers would advise her to invoke at least until the criminal case is resolved. The conflicting dynamic between the DCF case and the criminal matter will likely lead to an expeditious resolution of the Assault and Battery case.

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Just a few days ago police officers in Lynn, Massachusetts went to a home on a report of a dispute involving Domestic Violence. They arrived to find the victim bleeding from his head. Officers arrested Wallace Jones, a twenty one year old from Franklin Street in Lynn. Jones’ mother told the police that her son and her boyfriend got into a fight after she and the victim were arguing. She further stated that the defendant was attempting to defend her. Jones’ mother denied seeing Jones use a weapon to cut the victim. She believed that the injuries might have been sustained when her boyfriend hit his head on a table during the dispute. The charges Jones faces are not mentioned in the article but there it appears that either Assault and Battery or Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon or both will be considered.

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Lynn Massachusetts Assault and Battery Defense Law Firm

Essex County Massachusetts Violent Crimes Defense Lawyer

As a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer I never promise results for clients. No one can predict the outcome of a criminal case. Rather, criminal lawyers gage the likelihood of success on experiences they have had with similar cases in the county where the particular charge lies. The facts of this case suggest that a dismissal or even an acquittal are on the horizon for Jones. There was no weapon associated with the victim’s injuries. The only witness to the crime has told the police that Jones was defending her. This is indicative of an affirmative defense known as the Defense of Others. It permits someone to come to the aid of someone else provided he or she acts within certain parameters. In essence, the law in Massachusetts permits someone to use force if he reasonably believes that someone else is in imminent danger of sustaining bodily injury, that he reasonably believed that force was necessary to defend the person being attacked and that he use no more force than is reasonably necessary to defend against the danger. Absent the use of a weapon it appears from the facts revealed in this article that Wallace Jones can avail himself of this defense.

Also, in this case it is unlikely that the victim, who was also a combatant will testify against the defendant. He has a privilege against self-incrimination and his testimony will open him up to a potential prosecution for Assault and Battery against Wallace Jones. Additionally, very few juries will convict someone who stands up to defend his mother against abuse from her boyfriend. I would be extremely surprised to see this case go to trial or to see anything short of a dismissal of these charges.

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Eufemia Abrego was at the Lawrence District Court yesterday showing support or her brother who is facing a Domestic Violence charge involving his wife. The forty five year old Lawrence native approached the victim, her sister-in-law who was sitting on a bench outside of the courtroom. It is alleged that there Abrego told the victim to drop all charges against the accused if she knew what was good for her. This conversation took place twice, the second time in front of a Spanish interpreter. The interpreter however admitted that she never heard the conversation but was told by the victim what Abrego had said. The district attorney’s officer was alerted to the conversation. They contacted a police officer who escorted Abrego out of the courthouse and arrested her. Abrego was charged with Intimidation of a Witness.

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Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer Who Defends Intimidation of a Witness Cases

Massachusetts Threatening to Commit a Crime Defense Attorney

The Massachusetts Witness Intimidation Statute is set out in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 268 Section 13B. The statute says that anyone who deliberately threatens a witness in a criminal case is guilty of witness intimidation. This crime is a felony and is punishable by up to ten years in state prison. Witness intimidation is taken very seriously in Massachusetts and Massachusetts Criminal Lawyers are seeing more and more of these cases being prosecuted. The Abrego situation is different from the majority of cases that my office has recently defended. Abrego’s alleged activity took place in a courthouse and was witnessed, at least in part by someone not related to the litigants. The more common Witness Intimidation case in Massachusetts now involves threats made through Facebook or texting, especially among teenagers and younger people. Social media preserves the threats or perceived threats and makes the district attorney’s decision to prosecute much easier than it had been in the past. The problem however still lies with proving that the accused is the person who sent the threatening message. Sharing cell phones, smart phones and computers tends to complicate the prosecutor’s efforts of establishing who in fact sent the unlawful communication. We have successfully defended countless cases where the threats came from someone other than the defendant but who had access to the defendant’s device.

Witness Intimidation charges are often associated with Domestic Violence cases such as here. These cases are highly charged emotional matters that can lead to an unfortunate lack of self-restraint. Where there are witnesses to the incident accompanied by a confession such as with Ms. Abrego, efforts at resolving the case short of trial will likely be sought. Cases like this one can be continued without a finding or pretrial probation can be imposed so Abrego will be best served by having an experienced lawyer represent her.

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Roberto Jordan of Haverhill, Massachusetts was arrested last night and charged with Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon, Domestic Assault and Battery, Assault and Battery on a Police Officer and other related crimes. The crimes are both felonies and misdemeanors in Massachusetts. The incident started around midnight. According to reports Jordan and his girlfriend got into a fight. Jordan was hit in the head. When the police got to the scene they noticed him covered in blood. Jordan then allegedly charged at the officers, apparently striking at least one of them in the process. There were several other people in the area, some of whom might have witnessed the events. Jordan was taken to the hospital. He is being arraigned today in the Haverhill District Court.

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Haverhill, Massachusetts Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

Boston Criminal Lawyer, Assault and Battery Crimes

So here is the first thing that sticks out to this Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer. The police show up and see Jordan “covered in blood”. He then gets charged with Domestic Assault and Battery. Why? What about the person who delivered the blows who put him in this position? Why was this person not charged? The article says that the “victim” was Jordan’s girlfriend. I can see a couple of reasons why Jordan was charged and not the girlfriend. The first is that law enforcement has a bias when investigating domestics against males. The belief is that it is the male rather than the female who was the aggressor and the woman needs protection. This is not always the case but the trend is to err on the side of protecting the woman, removing the man from the home and charging him with the crime. The second reason Jordan might have been charged rather than his girlfriend might have to do with the other charges. As I have mentioned in past blog posts, police officers are sometimes very aggressive when arresting or subduing suspects in criminal cases. Some officers have a tendency to “over do it” and end up injuring the suspect unnecessarily. When they do this they tend to charge the person with Assault and Battery on a Police Officer. While this is not always the case I find the most charges of A & B on a PO are reactive charges.

In this case it is reported that there was a crowd that gathered to watch the events. A Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer will embrace this as an opportunity to locate witnesses who might be able to provide evidence that will exculpate the accused, in this case Jordan. My office uses private investigators to go out and interview percipient witnesses. At times we get written statements from these people so that their observations are preserved for trial. Other times we find it more prudent not to get written reports as Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure now require Defense Lawyers to surrender copies to the prosecution. Perhaps some of these people will be able to help out with Mr. Jordan’s defense.

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Shortly after 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning Framingham, Massachusetts police received a call for a disturbance on Dinsmore Avenue. When they arrived they heard a woman screaming. The officers entered the home and found Marvin Alvarenga holding his ex-wife and her daughter against a wall. The ex-wife was bloodied and bruised. The daughter complained about having suffered some injuries as well. The ex-wife told police that she met with Alvarenga the previous night for dinner. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the woman having a Restraining Order against Alvarenga dismissed. Apparently the meeting did not go well. The woman told the police that Alvarenga then forced her to drive him to her Framingham home where he beat her. He did however permit her to contact her daughter who went to the home. Once she entered the property it is alleged that the daughter was not allowed to leave and was threatened with a beer bottle. Alvarenga is being charged with Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon, Assault and Battery, Kidnapping, Intimidation of a Witness and Violating a Restraining Order. Alvarenga has an open Assault and Battery case on which bail was revoked. Through his lawyer Alvarenga denied all allegations. The case is pending in the Framingham District Court.

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Framingham Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer, Kidnapping, Violation of 209A Orders

Typically in cases involving Domestic Violence witness credibility becomes a critical issue. This is because the defenses to these cases implicate a history between the parties that is usually admissible as evidence at trial. Massachusetts Criminal Lawyers will tell you that very often the initiator of a Restraining Order makes his or her application to gain an advantage or control over someone with whom they are involved. Take this case for instance. Why would the “victim” want to meet with Alvarenga for dinner to discuss vacating the existing Restraining Order? Keep in mind that the issuance of the order contemplates a judge finding a substantial likelihood of an immediate danger of abuse. This is based on an affidavit and/or the testimony of the complainant who admits to being in fear of this person. It hardly makes sense for someone truly feeling this way to drive from Framingham to Boston to discuss terminating the order over dinner. This will hurt the woman’s credibility. Alvarenga should have known that the dinner meeting constitutes a violation of the order. I have seen many cases where the complainant contacts the defendant, usually by text, email or voicemail message. This action is naturally designed to elicit a response. The response constitutes a Violation of the 209A Order that is virtually indefensible. Most troubling about this is that this action is deliberate on the part of the “victim”. I have represented countless people who have responded to the unsolicited contact and found that to be the basis for the issuance of a complaint. Once again, the “victims” can use this tactic to gain a personal advantage over the accused or as a form of retaliation for some non-criminal issue with which they took issue.

While the ex-wife’s credibility might be questioned at least as to some of the counts, Alvarenga’s problems are going to come from the police officers testimonies. They heard the screams, witnessed some of the incident and saw the ex-wife in a bloodied condition. While the Kidnapping counts might easily be challenged the Assault Charges are going to be more difficult to beat.

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The Lynn Item reports that William Townsend of Lynn, Massachusetts has been charged with Assault With the Intent to Commit Murder, Rape and Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon. The charges follow a weekend where the complainant, Townsend’s former girlfriend fell off the wagon and engaged in a lengthy partying binge.

The police responded to a call for Domestic Violence at an undisclosed address. When they arrived they found the complainant barefoot in the rain. She purportedly displayed bruises described as both old and new. She told the police that Townsend tried to throw her out of a window on the second floor. She was eventually taken to a local hospital. There she told attending personnel that Townsend had repeatedly raped her. Meanwhile, back at the scene police went up to the second floor, kicked the door in and arrested Townsend.

The complainant told police that she had been sober for fourteen months and that she fell off the wagon this past Friday. She met up with friends and family and began drinking heavily. She then went to visit Townsend who was apparently her first boyfriend. There, she continued drinking with the defendant. On Monday evening the woman reported that Townsend demanded the two have sex. Having AIDS she declined. The two continued to drink for several more hours, passing out. The next day Townsend continued to demand sex. The woman again declined and Townsend passed out yet again. She claims that when she went to wake him up Townsend grabbed her, smashed her head against a wall and threatened to throw her out of the second floor window. He threw her out of the apartment and the police were called. Charges are now pending in the Lynn District Court
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Lynn Massachusetts Rape Defense Lawyer

Any Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer will tell you that cases like this often enjoy a multitude of defenses. Think about this from a purely factual standpoint. The complainant’s credibility is suspect from the start. She started drinking on Friday and continued until she passed out on Monday night. Just how much of that weekend could she have remembered with any degree of detail? She claims that Townsend demanded sex and raped her notwithstanding the fact that she has AIDS. How many people are willing to risk contracting a deadly disease? Now think about the independent corroborating evidence in this case. What do the hospital records show? Did the two in fact have sex? Was the bruising both new and old as characterized by the police? How about the complainant’s head. Were there bruises or cuts corroborative of her account of having her head smashed into the wall. Remember that Mr. Townsend’s account of the weekend is probably much different than the woman’s. Defense lawyers rarely share the details of their defense at an arraignment. If bail was set in the amount of three thousand dollars as stated in the article then the judge probably got a good read on the viability of these charges. It would not surprise me to see this case remain in the district court.

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Just after midnight yesterday Beverly, Massachusetts police were called by a woman claiming that her boyfriend had beaten. The woman reported that she and Craig Blum, the defendant got into an argument. Blum then threw a pizza at her, shoved her, hit her and tried to strangle her. Blum was outside of the home when the officers arrived. He told the police that his girlfriend was out of control. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment. It is alleged that she suffered injuries to her arms, legs, neck and body, all of which were photographed. The prosecutor moved for detention pending a dangerousness hearing. Blum is being prosecuted in the Salem District Court. He currently faces charges of Domestic Assault and Battery, Attempted Murder, Intimidation of a Witness and Threatening to Commit a Crime.

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http://www.salemnews.com/local/x1555802374/Man-charged-after-girlfriend-hospitalized

When reading this article I immediately noticed that Blum’s lawyer argued that he acted in self-defense. At first blush one would think this is unlikely. The police respond to a call, find a woman crying hysterically, visibly bruised and complaining that her boyfriend beat her. That seems pretty bad for Blum right? Well maybe not. Most Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyers have defended Domestic Assault and Battery Cases where the “victim” was the actual aggressor and the defendant who usually happens to be male acts solely to defend himself. This may include grabbing the woman to prevent her from continuing her assault or subduing her for that same purpose. Keep in mind that in Massachusetts and in most other states a person is allowed to act in self defense and it is the obligation of the prosecutor to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did not act in self defense. To prove that someone did not act in self defense the prosecutor must show either:

1. That the defendant did not reasonably believe he was being attacked or immediately about to be attacked, and that his safety was in immediate danger; or
2. That the defendant did not do everything reasonable in the circumstances to avoid physical combat before resorting to force; or
3. That the defendant used more force to defend himself than was reasonably necessary in the circumstances.

Blum’s lawyer is probably going to want to know where the pizza was found. If it was thrown at the woman as she claims one would expect to find it splattered on a wall or across the room where it was allegedly thrown. Did the police photograph this piece of evidence? Was the woman covered with pizza? How far was Blum from her when he allegedly threw the pizza? What did the neighbors hear, if anything? Were there any other witnesses to this incident?

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Framingham Police were called just before 5:00 a.m. about a fight on Essex Street. They arrived to find a woman bleeding from her head. After offering an excuse for her condition the woman changed her story. She accused Michael Young, her boyfriend of assaulting her after finding her out with another man. Young was located at his home. He was arrested at which time police found marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the home. A Search Warrant was applied for and issued. During the execution of the search warrant authorities found large quantities of drugs including over a pound of Marijuana, Ecstasy and Cocaine. Also arrested was Young’s roommate, Michael Smokler who responded to the police station at their request for questioning. Both defendants are facing charges of Possession With the Intent to Distribute Cocaine, Possession With the Intent to Distribute Ecstasy, a School Zone Violation and Conspiracy. Young faces Domestic Violence Charges as well. The case is pending in the Framingham District Court.

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http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/police_and_fire/x1969176517/Domestic-investigation-leads-to-drug-arrest-in-Framingham#axzz1EpifJhg1

Framingham Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer

I frequently remind readers that speaking with the police is rarely a good idea. This case seems to be a perfect example of why getting a lawyer prior to meeting with the police is the most prudent way to proceed. Smokler was not present in the morning when the police searched the apartment and arrested Young. They called him later and asked him to go down to the station for questioning. He did. The result was his arrest. I have never had a client who talked himself out of criminal charges. To the contrary, most talk themselves into trouble. If the police had probable cause to arrest Smoker after they conducted the search they would have obtained an arrest warrant and done so. I would imagine that Smokler provided the police with information during the interview that enabled them to file criminal charges against him. Had he hired a lawyer rather than speak with the police criminal charges might not have issued.

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