People often ask lawyers what goes on in a local district court on a given day. The answer can be lengthy and depends on how busy a particular court might be. Many local newspapers report a crime log or a district court log each week. Here is a sample of crimes reported by the Gloucester Daily Times from on September 6, 2008 for the Gloucester District Court. Read full article Gloucester Daily Times, Gloucester District Court Log.
1. A Gloucester man was charged with 7 counts of larceny by check. Apparently he wrote a series of bad checks from November 2004 through January 2005. A total of 8 bad checks were written over this time period to three separate businesses. The total amount of bounced checks was $140.54. The judge agreed to dismiss all charges provided that the man makes restitution in full.
Larceny by check is defined by G.L. c. 266 sec. 37. The statute states in part that it is a crime to write a check for goods and to obtain those goods with the knowledge that there are insufficient funds for the payment of the check. Massachusetts law considers prima facie evidence of intent if the person does not make good on the check within 2 days after having been advised that the check did not clear.
2. A homeless man stabbed another man with a Budweiser bottle last April. The case was dismissed.
Stabbing is typically a crime under G.L. c. 265 sec. 15A. The statute requires the prosecution to prove that the defendant while armed with a dangerous weapon committed an assault and battery with that weapon. The defendant was accused of cutting another man with the bottle during a dispute over $20. The law has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. There is also an aggravated form of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon on Massachusetts. That portion of the law makes committing an assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon punishable by up to 15 years in prison if committed on a pregnant person, or if serious bodily injury results or if it occurs in violation of an existing restraining order or if the defendant is over 17 and the victim is under the age of 14. It appears that this defendant was quite lucky.
Assault and battery in Massachusetts is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum 2 1/2 year sentence. Usually, when a case such as this is dismissed for want of prosecution it is due to the fact the victim either refuses to testify and there are no other witnesses or the prosecution was unable to find the victim to subpoena her into court to obtain her testimony. In this case the girlfriend reported that her boyfriend had been drinking, was drunk, hit her, grabbed her by the neck and pushed her.
4. On August 2, 2008 a fight broke out in a parking lot on Main Street in Gloucester prompting someone to call the police. Upon arrival learned that someone made a disrespectful remark to the defendant’s girlfriend. The defendant refused to calm down after the police arrived and he was charged with disorderly person. The case was continued without a finding and the defendant was ordered to pay a fine of $250.
Disorderly person is a crime established by G.L. c. 272 sec. 53. It is punishable by up to 6 months in jail. The continuance without a finding will result in a dismissal provided that the defendant remain free from trouble for 6 months and that he pay his fine.
5. Another Gloucester man got upset when someone made a rude comment to his girlfriend. He went to that person’s home, threatened to slice the man’s throat, and broke and damaged a door. He was charged with malicious destruction to property and disturbing the peace. The malicious destruction to property charge was dropped and the defendant was found guilty of disturbing the peace. According to police reports, on July 11, 2008 police were called to a home on a report that someone was trying to break into the building. The Gloucester Police arrived and saw the defendant yelling. He had awakened residents. He had been drinking and was upset about comments one of the residents made about his girlfriend.
Malicious destruction to property is a criminal act in Massachusetts in accordance with G.L. c. 266 sec. 127. It carries with it a 10 year maximum state prison sentence if the value of the property destroyed
6. A 22 year old Gloucester man pleaded guilty to assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. Apparently the defendant beat his victim on two occasions. The first time with a piece of wood. The second time with a “pressure car wash handle”. The incident occurred on July 21, 2008. Gloucester Police responded to a call for a man being chased by the defendant who was carrying a weapon. The same defendant had assaulted the same victim earlier. The defendant pleaded guilty to assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and was sentenced to 6 months in jail.
7. A 24 year old New Hampshire was found in possession of marijuana. He was ordered to pay a fine and his case was continued without a finding for 6 months. Other charges had been lodged against this defendant as well. Possession with intent to distribute marijuana and drinking in public. The latter two crimes were dismissed. The crimes occurred on June 27, 2008.
Possession of marijuana is a crime in accordance with G.L. c. 94C sec. 34. First offenses are continued without a finding for not more than 6 months. The law makes a special provision that permits sealing the record promptly for first offenders who successfully complete their probation during the continuance period. On the other hand, the possession with intent to distribute marijuana in Massachusetts charge was more serious. It is a felony and carries a potential 2 year jail sentence.
8. Another Gloucester man was pulled over on April 1, 2008 and charged with driving without insurance and driving an unregistered vehicle. The driving without insurance case was dismissed.
Stephen Neyman is a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer who has successfully handled all of the charges mentioned in this article. If you are charged with any of these offenses call our office right away.