In a ruling published today the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled that victims of assault and battery in Massachusetts must be people when charged under G.L. c. 265 sec. 15A. Commonwealth v. Wilson, slip opinion August 21, 2008. In connection with a drug deal the defendant in Wilson was chased by police. The chase ended when the car the defendant was driving hit a police car. One of the counts charged the defendant with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. The prosecution claimed that the weapon was the car. The victim was the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as owner of the police car that was damaged. The defendant pleaded guilty to this count in the complaint. Years later through a motion for a new trial he moved to vacate his conviction. The trial judge denied the motion. On appeal the Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed. It held that Massachusetts General Laws c. 265 establishes “Crimes Against the Person”. The section under which Wilson was charged, G.L. c. 265 sec. 15A requires that the victim be a person. The conviction violated Article 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights and the defendant’s right to due process. As such it was vacated and the count was dismissed.
Vacating criminal convictions is one of the services that the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman routinely provides to its clients. Sometimes people are convicted of committing crimes that are not supported by law or fact. This can happen when the defense lawyer or prosecutor or judge are unfamiliar with the law. It can also happen when people are simply not paying close attention to the details of the case. Criminal defendants unfamiliar with their rights often acquiesce to resolutions of their case that on the surface appear reasonable. In doing so they are establishing a criminal record that likely will have an adverse effect on their lives later on. The conviction can effect employment opportunities, require sex offender registration or be used to enhance the sentence for a conviction of another offense.
If you have been wrongly convicted of a crime in Massachusetts or anywhere else you should contact our office now. We have been representing people on post conviction matters for years with great results. It is never too late to demand justice.
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