Earlier today I was reading an article in the Lowell Sun about a “major” drug dealer arrested and charged with a multitude of drug and gun crimes. A suburban task force targeted a twenty-eight year old Groton man, Shane Conley, as dealing various controlled substances. Armed with a search warrant the police entered Conley’s home yesterday and found pills and marijuana. The total amount of drugs seized was insufficient to charge Conley with trafficking. Also found during the search was a sawed off .22 caliber rifle and some ammunition. Mr. Conley was charged with possession with intent to distribute Class A, Class D and Class E drugs as well as possession of a firearm. The case is currently pending in the Ayer District Court. Despite being viewed as a big case, not all major Massachusetts drug dealers will serve jail time. Perhaps the same will be true for this defendant.
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.
Recently I was meeting with a new client who was charged, among other things with resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer. The defendant is a college student who was leaving a party in a Boston neighborhood. His story is unnerving and very common in Massachusetts, particularly for high school and college aged students. I have seen these facts frequently. Fortunately for my clients most district attorneys are familiar with this scenario and the resolution for the accused is typically favorable. Here is the young man’s story, the defenses to the case and the ultimate result.
This past weekend police in Amesbury, Massachusetts executed a search warrant at a home in a quiet residential neighborhood. At home during the raid, and charged with various drug crimes were Christopher Doty and Kristen Cataldo, both in their mid twenties. The search warrant was issued after police had obtained information regarding drug activity in the home. The information apparently came from informants and possibly a sustained surveillance or controlled drug buys. The defendants have been charged with an assortment of crimes including possession with the intent to distribute class A and class B drugs, assault and battery on a police officer, child endangerment and possession of a dangerous weapon.
Countless times in the past I have written posts about clients who never would have been charged with a crime had they just kept their mouths shut and not spoken to the police. Many of these people though they could talk their way out of criminal charges. They were wrong. Others thought they did nothing and therefore had nothing to lose by talking to the cops. They were wrong. Some of these people listened to the cops who “suggested” they waive any constitutional rights and speak with them. They too were wrong. There are many instances where clients have told me that “the cops tricked me into talking to them”. This post discusses a recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case where that tactic resulted in a partial reversal of a criminal conviction.
One of the toughest decisions defendants in criminal cases have to make is whether or not to go to trial on their case. Some people have no choice. They have been charged with a crime where there is a minimum mandatory sentence as with drug trafficking cases and the district attorney refuses to break the case down. Or, perhaps the case is one that cannot be continued without a finding and a guilty finding will result in a loss of employment or the loss of a professional license. In those instances the decision is easy. Go to trial and hope for an acquittal. Most of the time however the decision is not that easy and the defendant has to weigh the pros and cons of going to trial. When my clients consult with me about this decision the one question they always ask “will my sentence by worse if I go to trial and lose?”.
A local drug task force involving federal authorities, local cops and the state police resulted in significant charges for four Boston natives. Local reports state that two days ago, detectives armed with a search warrant entered a warehouse in an industrial park in Avon, Massachusetts. Pallets inside of the warehouse containing corn also contained over 1,000 pounds of marijuana. In addition to finding drugs the police also found two loaded firearms. Four people were arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana and possession of a handgun. The defendants have been identified as Sheena Hamilton, Jett Ezidi, Donnelly Ray and Stephan Durrant. Bails ranged from seven thousand five hundred dollars to twenty five thousand dollars.
There are times when I am sitting in court waiting for a case to get called and wondering where my client is. Some of these folks are just late people. Others get lost on their way to court. Some think that court starts at 9:30 or 10:00. Then there are people who have personal matters such as child care conflicts. And others simply get the court date wrong or forget to show up. If my client lets me know that he or she will be late I can usually get a second call and avoid the entry of a default. Some judges will even give me a new date if my client had a legitimate problem that prevented attendance in court. However, absent a good excuse prosecutors will request and judges will enter a default. This can result in the issuance of a bench warrant or a default warrant. This prompts a question that I get several times each month, that being “what should I do if I missed my court date?”.
According to an article in the Boston Globe police in Andover, Massachusetts made three arrests following an investigation into drug trafficking activities in the suburban Boston town. Joselin Eliezar Reina-Mercedes, Luz Made and Luis Hiciano were present at Hiciano’s apartment when an early morning search warrant was executed. Pursuant to the search officers found over 100 grams of heroin. Hiciano was charged with gun possession as well. If convicted the defendants face a minimum mandatory ten year state prison sentence. This Andover drug trafficking investigation is one of several in this town this year. Continue reading →
Just yesterday I signed up a client being charged with malicious destruction to property over $250. This is a felony in Massachusetts. The allegations, at least according to the cab driver are that the passenger disputed the fare and refused to pay. Out of anger the passenger supposedly then broke a piece of the interior of the door. The cab driver called the police and the defendant was arrested. In the past year alone I have had several people meet with me for representation on cases with very similar facts. There is no doubt in my mind that in Massachusetts there is a trend where cab drivers falsify claims of malicious destruction to property. The motivation for this and defenses to the chargers are explored in this post.