The Waltham Daily News Tribune reported that a man charged with torturing and holding his estranged wife hostage will be released after posting $1,500 bail. According to the article, the defendant appeared in Waltham District Court today for a dangerousness hearing before Judge Gregory Flynn. After the hearing Judge Flynn stated that there was not enough “clearly convincing” evidence presented by Assistant District Attorney to warrant holding the man. Apparently the wife told police she went to the defendant’s home Sunday to ask for a divorce. The two argued and the defendant beat and kicked her. The defendant also grabbed a semi-automatic handgun from beneath a pillow and struck his wife in the head and threatened to kill her. The alleged abuse continued into the next day. The wife fled the house when the defendant went to the bathroom and flagged down a car for help. The driver then drove her to New Bedford. Waltham police detectives obtained a warrant to search the defendant’s home and were unable to find the gun. The victim never appeared in court and told the investigating police officers that she suffered from mental health issues. The defendant has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, four counts of assault and battery, intimidation of a witness, kidnapping and threats to commit a crime. Read entire article, Friday, October 17, 2008.
Dangerousness hearings in Massachusetts are also known as 58A hearings. These hearings are governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 276 Section 58A. The relevant law reads “[t]he Commonwealth may move, based on dangerousness, for an order of pretrial detention or release on conditions for a felony offense that has as an element of the offense the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the person of another, or any other felony that by its nature involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person of another may result”. The standard judges must use is “clear and convincing evidence”. When the prosecution moves for detention on dangerousness grounds the judge must hold the person until the hearing is held. The prosecution is permitted 3 days to prepare for the hearing. These hearings are often used by prosecutors in Massachusetts in domestic violence cases such as this one.
The defense lawyer representing the defendant in this case was Arthur Kelly. Attorney Kelly is considered one of the best criminal defense lawyers in Massachusetts. He has tried countless cases including some very high profile murder cases. Getting the defendant in this case a reasonable bail exemplifies his expertise and success.
Domestic violence cases in Massachusetts are taken quite seriously by prosecutors. This case certainly demonstrates that sentiment. Here, notwithstanding the woman’s mental problems and unsubstantiated story the prosecution tried to have the defendant held without bail in accordance with the dangerousness statute. Some prosecutors ask for dangerousness hearings as a matter of course without scrutinizing the underlying circumstances surrounding the alleged incident, particularly in domestic violence cases. That is why it is important that you hire a skilled and experienced Massachusetts Domestic Violence Defense Attorney if you get charged with crimes such as these.
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