The Quincy Patriot Ledger reported that two 17 year olds, both from Plymouth were charged with larceny and breaking and entering (B & E) more than a dozen motor vehicles in Plymouth. The two were arraigned in the Plymouth District Court and pleaded not guilty to the charges. According to the article numerous residents on Beach, Elm and Pearly Streets observed that their cars had been broken into. They reported the break-ins to the Plymouth Police. When officers arrived they saw one of the defendants, Bryan Hunter walking in between cars on Elm Street, manipulating the door handles and trying to get in. As Hunter entered a vehicle one of the officers grabbed him. Hunter confessed to the crimes and implicated his friend, the co-defendant Ryan Connors. Connors refused to speak with the police but he did surrender himself to the station. Hunter and Connors pleaded not guilty to 5 counts of breaking and entering in the night with intent to commit a felony, 3 counts of larceny of property valued at less than $250, and a charge of larceny of property valued at more than $250. Hunter was also charged with underage possession of alcohol in that he was caught with a bottle of strawberry vodka. Read complete article, Quincy Patriot Ledger, September 25, 2008.
The B & E charges are governed by General Laws Chapter 266 Section 16. The maximum sentence is 20 years in state prison if the case is indicted to the Superior Court. In some states a B & E case is called a burglary. If the case remains in the District Court there is a maximum 2 1/2 year sentence possible. The larceny cases carry a maximum 2 year sentence provided the case stays in the Plymouth District Court. This charge was presumably brought pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 30.
The smartest thing Connors did here was to keep his mouth shut when he went to the police station. I would estimate that far more than one half of all my clients make some sort of statement before they hire me. This often presents difficult problems. Some statements amount to admissions or confessions. Other statements, while not admissions, contain some sort of falsity that usually does not bode well for the client at trial. Keep in mind that anything a criminal defendant or suspect says can be used against him unless a judge believes that the statement was coerced or obtained in violation of a constitutional right. Here, unless the police have some other evidence to prove that Connors was involved in the crimes; i.e. fingerprints, stolen items found in his possession; surveillance tapes, witness identifications, etc., the only way to prove that Connors is guilty is through his co-defendant. Typically co-defendants do not cooperate with the prosecution unless they are provided with some sort of incentive. In cases such as this that is rare.
On the other hand, Hunter was caught in the act by the police. It will be extremely difficult to win his case at trial. More likely than not he would enter into a plea bargain with the prosecution or his lawyer will ask the judge to dispose of the case in a particular manner. If he has no criminal record and is able to make restitution it would not be unusual for a judge to agree to continue his case without a finding. If this result is imposed and he successfully completes all terms of probation his case will be dismissed after the passage of a specific amount of time.
Make sure when hiring a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer for your B & E case that the attorney has experience not only with these types of cases but also in the court where you have been charged. This is particularly important in B & E cases in that while some judges view this crimes as “minor” others find the intrusion extremely offensive and might impose harsher sentences. Plymouth County has many excellent criminal defense lawyers to chose from. Chose your lawyer carefully.
If you want to discuss your case I encourage you to contact our office now. We will discuss your rights, some potential pitfalls with your case and some options you might want to consider.