Rafael Diaz of Lawrence, Massachusetts has been charged with Assault With Intent to Murder and Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon after stabbing a patron at a Lawrence nightclub this past Saturday. The victim, Javier Laboy was treated at Lawrence General Hospital and gave a description of Diaz. The police located Diaz at his home. He greeted the officers with a box cutter in his hand. His clothes had blood on them and he had a lump on his forehead. Diaz offered information that suggests Laboy might have been the first aggressor. The case is pending in the Lawrence District Court. If Laboy's injuries are insignificant and Diaz has an unremarkable it is not likely that this case will be indicted to the Essex County Superior Court in Salem.
Self Defense in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts if the defense of Self Defense is presented it is the obligation of the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused did not act in self-defense. Everyone has the right to defend himself. To do so however the following circumstances must be present: 1) that the defendant had a reasonable belief that he was being attacked or about to be attacked; 2) the he limit the force he uses to that which is reasonably necessary under the circumstances and 3) that he do all he reasonably can to avoid combat. In close cases judges in Massachusetts are supposed to give the defendant the benefit of any doubt and give a self-defense instruction. Depending on what happened at the nightclub self-defense might be an option for Diaz to set out at trial. It would be interesting to see what the patrons who witnessed the incident have to say.