Aggressive Defense of All Criminal Matters
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OUI Marijuana

On September 19, 2017 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided the case of Commonwealth v. Gerhardt, SJC – 11967. This dealt with the admissibility of field sobriety tests as they relate to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of, or OUI marijuana. The Court held that in these cases, the term “field sobriety tests” cannot be used in court, rather the tests can be called “roadside assessments”. The Supreme Judicial Court further held that the officer cannot conclude that the driver passed or failed the test. Finally, the Court in Gerhardt crafted a jury instruction addressing the value of the roadside assessments that strongly assists the defense in these cases. Continue reading →

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Sex For a Fee Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, soliciting a prostitute or the act of prostitution is a crime under G.L. c. 272 Section 53A. The statute has a variety of subsections that make a conviction for this crime punishable by up to ten years in some circumstances. Until recently first time offenders were offered pretrial probation under G.L. c. 276 Section 87 for one year with the condition they take a short class on the dangers of engaging in this activity. In the last few months, in many counties this has changed. Prosecutors are now making sex for a fee cases more difficult to defend. Continue reading →

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Domestic Assault and Battery and Deportation

Any experienced criminal defense attorney will tell you that if you charged with domestic assault and battery and you are not a citizen you are at risk of being deported. That risk has increased exponentially over the past several months. This is likely the result of the current political climate in this country. Government agencies such as ICE and Homeland Security are now taking an active look at these cases before disposition. In many instances they are monitoring domestic assault and battery cases involving non-citizens shortly after arrest or arraignment. This post examines one such case and what is needed to prevent deportation. Continue reading →

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We Fight Illegal Search and Seizure

At a hearing on a motion to suppress an illegal search and seizure, a Boston police officer testified about responding to a radio broadcast for someone wanted in connection with a domestic assault and battery. The broadcast identified the license plate of the car the suspect might be in, the vicinity it was in and warned that he may have a gun. The officer continued that the victim of the domestic assault and battery went into the station to report the crime. After the motion judge made her findings the defense attorney requested factual clarification. After some additional inquiry the judge struck the portion of the officer’s testimony regarding the victim’s in person report of the domestic assault and battery. However, in denying the motion to suppress the judge found sufficient independent corroboration based on the broadcast stating that the vehicle was heading towards the defendant’s mother’s home. In fact, there was no such evidence in the record.   Continue reading →

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Fingerprint Evidence

It is common for client’s to ask me about fingerprint evidence. I am often asked the following questions: Will the prosecution test evidence for fingerprints? What if my prints are on the item? Should we get out own fingerprint expert? Will it help if my prints are not found at the scene? In other words, should we test the evidence if the prosecution doesn’t? My answer naturally depends on the individual circumstances of each case. A recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court case will likely make the answer to one of these questions much clearer to my clients. Continue reading →

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Massachusetts Drub Lab Scandal

The floodgates are now open to around 20,000 (twenty thousand) defendants whose convictions may have been tainted by Annie Dookhan’s corrupt, callous and criminal misconduct. On January 18, 2017 the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided the case of Bridgeman v. District Attorney for the Suffolk District, et al. SJC 12157. In Bridgeman the Court created a remedy for people whose cases may have been impacted by tainted Massachusetts drug lab conclusions. The Court adopted a protocol to be applied on a case-by-case basis more fully laid out below. The net effect will likely be the reversal and dismissal of thousands of convictions linked to Annie Dookhan’s wrongdoing. Continue reading →

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Open and Gross Lewdness

Open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior in Massachusetts is a crime under G.L. c. 272 Section 16. To convict someone of this crime the prosecuting attorney must prove the element of shock or alarm. This requirement was recently clarified by the Supreme Judicial Court in the Commonwealth v. Maguire, SJC-12013.  The case held that there is both a subjective and objective component of this element that must be proved before a conviction can stand. This post examines that case and the Commonwealth’s burden in open and gross cases. Continue reading →

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Stabbing Someone in Massachusetts

One of the more personal and highly violent criminal offenses in Massachusetts is stabbing another person. Stabbings are usually the result of hot emotions or fits of rage, and they can cause minor, serious, or even life-threatening injuries. Sometimes stabbing can even be fatal. when a criminal defendant is charged with stabbing another person, the charges that they will face usually depend on the seriousness of the stabbing incident. Stabbing someone in Massachusetts is a serious offense. It is a felony.  Continue reading →

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Larceny by False Pretenses

Larceny over $250 by false pretenses is a felony in Massachusetts under G.L. c. 266 Section 34. The law simply states that “[w]hoever, with intent to defraud and by a false pretense, induces another to part with property of any kind or with any of the benefits described in sections 33 and 33A shall be guilty of larceny.” Many cases implicating facts consistent with this crime involve contractors. Traditionally, these disputes were resolved through compromise or, in more extreme instances by civil lawsuit. Recently, it has become more popular to treat larceny by false pretenses cases as criminal matters. Defending these cases can be difficult as nearly every prospective juror can recall a situation where he was “screwed” by a builder, remodeler or contractor. This post examines a recent Massachusetts case that reveals exactly what the prosecution must prove to show you intended to commit this crime. Continue reading →

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Larceny and Shoplifting Cases

I cannot even begin to put a number to the amount of calls I get from people bullied by store security personnel into confessing to crimes they did not commit. The scenario is always the same. Either a patron or an employee of a store (usually a larger store with many branches) is suspected of stealing. In the case of the patron it is typically goods. The employee matters more often involve money. The suspect is confronted by a loss prevention officer and brought into a room in or near the store. They are lied to, bullied and coerced into confessing and/or signing a statement admitting to the act and promising repayment. In fact, many of the people accused are one hundred percent innocent yet they now face an uphill battle defending a larceny or shoplifting case. This post explains how this can happen and why judges should dismiss larceny and shoplifting cases in these situations.

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