When someone is charged with rape in Massachusetts the indictment reads that the defendant “did unlawfully have sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, with the named victim and compelled said person by force and against her will, or compelled said person to submit by threat of bodily harm”. Those words are read to the jury just before opening statements. The jury has already been impaneled and sworn. The defendant stands alone while the clerk reads those words. Nothing in those words qualifies or describes the act in any way. You are charged with rape. So, defending date rape allegations in Massachusetts is serious. These allegations are incredibly terrifying for the accused. Continue reading →
Deciding whether to go to trial or resolve a criminal case in Massachusetts without going to trial is a big decision. Some people cannot handle the pressure of having a case pending. These people want to get the case over with regardless of the strengths and weaknesses of the allegations. Others prefer to procrastinate and believe that at least when a case is pending there is no bad news. At some point however a decision has to be made; go to trial or plead out. One of the greatest concerns people have when making that decision is the weight that will be given to a police officer’s testimony. I am routinely asked “will the jury believe me or the police?”. Some of the factors addressing this question are discussed in this article. Continue reading →
On many occasions in the past I have posted articles about how social media has helped the prosecution prove crimes. Those articles warn against the stupidity of going public with certain activities that might add to the government’s evidence. Even in instances where social media posts are innocuous district attorneys often try to link the content to the person’s involvement in the crime. However, there are instances where you might be able to defend a rape case with the help of social media. Continue reading →
The mere words “indecent assault and battery” are troubling to anyone reads about this crime. The general title of the offense suggests that a serious sex crime has occurred. The prosecution can prove an indecent assault and battery anytime the accused touches someone on a portion of the anatomy understood to be private. Kissing someone on the mouth can in some circumstances satisfy the prosecution’s burden of proof. This at times makes defending an indecent assault and battery a difficult task. This post examines some things to consider when defending someone against these charges. Continue reading →
People who have had more than one experience with the Massachusetts criminal justice system probably have certain expectations stemming from their prior cases. Some of these experiences were good, and others not so good. Yet second time around you know what you want in your lawyer and you make sure that you get it. However, for many if not most people getting charged with a crime is a once in a lifetime occurrence. Your liberty and perhaps your life is at stake so you want to make sure that your selection of a criminal defense lawyer is the right one. Whether the charge against you is a simply motor vehicle crime or a major felony like a rape you need to know what your lawyer should be doing for you. This post will hopefully help you with that decision and answer the question “what should I expect from my criminal defense lawyer?”. Continue reading →
There is an inherent desire for anyone accused of committing a crime to defend himself by telling his own “story”. Innocent people charged with a crime want everyone to hear that they did not do it and they want those words to come out of their own mouth. People charged with crimes that exceed what they actually did want to explain to everyone what “really” happened. When preparing a criminal case most of my clients ask me “Is it a good idea to testify at my criminal trial?”. The answer varies from case to case. This post examines some of the thoughts criminal defense lawyers have on this subject. Continue reading →
Yesterday the father of a teenager accused of kidnapping, rape and other Massachusetts sex crimes was indicted for misleading a police investigation. Authorities alleged that the police requested Matthew Cyckowski surrender his son’s cell phone. Cyckowski provided his own instead. The crime proscribed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 268 Section 13B(1)(b)(iii) which provides in relevant part that anyone who misleads a police officer with the intent to obstruct that investigation is guilty of a felony and can be punished by up to ten years in prison. This post discusses this portion of that statute and concerns that may confront parents in similar cases. Continue reading →
Last week employees at an Arlington, Massachusetts restaurant called police to report “suspicious behavior”. Police went to the location where they located a camera concealed in a flower basket that was photographing women using the bathroom. The police arrested Joseph Hennessey and charged him with photographing an unsuspecting person in the nude as well as disturbing the peace. This crime has more recently been referred to as upskirting. The case is now pending in the Cambridge District Court.
Anytime a criminal defense lawyer gets a police report and sees that his client allegedly confessed to a crime a red flag goes up. Was the confession made voluntarily? Was it recorded? How long did the interrogation last? What promises or inducements did the police make that prompted the defendant to tell them what they wanted to hear? Was the accused impaired by alcohol or drugs? Finally, does the defendant speak English and if not was an interpreter present for the interrogation. This post examines one of my recent cases where the defendant supposedly confessed to a rape and our approach to challenging criminal confessions in Massachusetts.
In an effort to address college rape and sexual assault claims the California legislature is honing in on some new laws focusing on consent. The law if passed will require that on all college campuses run by the state consent must be verbalized or written and obviously given in advance of the sexual activity. Consent cannot be assumed. While the details of the law are being debated it is agreed that “lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silent mean consent”. Reading this law makes me wonder how long it will take before Massachusetts tries to tackle this issue. Continue reading →