Aggressive Defense of All Criminal Matters
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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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No FID Card and the Danger of Reporting a Stolen Firearm

This is not an uncommon story. Someone from out of state comes to Massachusetts. They bring with them a firearm lawfully purchased and possessed in another state. They don’t know the gun laws in Massachusetts. Their home gets broken into and the gun gets stolen. They do what any law abiding citizen would do. They report the firearm stolen at the nearest police station. And guess what happens next? They are charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and possibly improper storage of a firearm. Someone shrewder might call a lawyer first and ask what to do “if I have no FID card and my gun gets stolen”? Continue reading →

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You Need a Lawyer at a Clerk Magistrate Hearing

About two months ago I was contacted by a woman who received notice for clerk magistrate hearing charging her with assault and battery on a pregnant person. After discussing the case it became clear that the accused was actually the victim and vice versa. The defendant retained me and the first thing we did was apply for a cross-complaint. A detective was assigned to the case and an application for a cross-complaint issued, charging the “victim” with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. A hearing on both matters was scheduled for the same day. The outcome of this case provides a clear example of why you need a lawyer at a clerk magistrate hearing. Continue reading →

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Allegations of Sexual Assault

Everyone is aware of just how quickly news travels these days. The smallest events in a person’s life can be shared immediately over over the Internet through some form of social media. I am not aware of anyone who does not own a smartphone, capable of photographing and videotaping at the push of a button. Whatever you do you must be aware that someone, perhaps anyone, can capture your activity and post it through a social media application. In the past I have written about the dangers of posting one’s activities to Facebook or through texts, chats or other applications. Many criminal defense lawyers have written about this and warned of the consequences. But for some reason, too many people, particularly young people choose to ignore the warnings. Whether true or not, allegations of sexual assault travel quickly over the Internet. Continue reading →

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Probation Violation

In Massachusetts, probation violation hearings differ significantly from trials and some other proceedings in criminal cases. The Supreme Judicial Court made clear in Commonwealth v. Durling, 407 Mass. 108 (1990) that probation violation proceedings do not afford to the defendant the same protections as one gets at trial. One thing that was unclear until recently was whether or not a probationer has the right to confrontation at a probation violation hearing. Following the decision in a recent SJC case, Commonwealth v. Hartfield, the answer is seeming yes. The facts of that case and its holding are explored below. Continue reading →

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Heroin Trafficking

Late last week I got a call from a new client greatly concerned because he had just been arrested and charged with heroin trafficking in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The man was at an apartment in Lawrence apparently looking for some heroin to satisfy his habit. Several other customers were there as well. While buying a small quantity of the drug several law enforcement officials entered the home pursuant to a search warrant. A search revealed in excess of two hundred grams of heroin, an amount consistent with trafficking. Everyone present was arrested and charged with trafficking heroin. Continue reading →