On New Years’ Eve a Framingham woman contacted the police to report that her former boyfriend, Josue Gonzalez telephonically threatened her and her and her three children. Specifically, he told her that if she did not give him money he would burn her house down. A restraining order was in existence at that time. A police officer told Gonzalez to stop calling. Gonzalez ignored the request and the victim again sought out police assistance. Police again tried to intercede to no avail. Four days later Gonzalez called the police to report that the victim was neglecting her children and asked that the children be taken away and placed into state custody. Gonzalez added that one of the children was being raped. Officers investigated the complaint and found no evidence of neglect and made Gonzalez aware of their findings. Gonzalez then threatened to blow up the Framingham Police station. Police then obtained a warrant for Gonzalez’s arrest. He was located and apprehended last week.
Gonzalez was charged with stalking, threatening to commit a crime, making annoying phone calls, violating a restraining order and making a false police report. All charges are pending in the Framingham District Court. Gonzalez is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing.
1. Violating a restraining order. This is a crime in accordance with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209 Section 7. The law specifically states that”[a]ny violation of such order or a protection order issued by another jurisdiction shall be punishable by a fine of not more than five thousand dollars, or by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a house of correction, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”
2. Stalking. This is proscribed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265 Section 43. The Massachusetts stalking law states that anyone who willfully and maliciously engages in a pattern or series of acts directed towards someone which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and threatens that person with the intention of placing them in immediate fear of bodily injury or death is guilty of stalking. There is a possible 5 year prison sentence. If the case is handled in a Massachusetts district court the maximum sentence is 2 1/2 years in jail. If this crimes is committed in violation of a restraining order there is a mandatory minimum 1 year jail sentence you must serve if convicted.
Stalking charges in Massachusetts are extremely difficult to prove. Many times prosecutors bring these charges in cases where the actions of the defendant are merely annoying or harassing but do not rise to the level of causing reasonable people to suffer substantial emotional distress and place them in fear of imminent harm. Good experienced criminal defense lawyers are able to quickly point this out to the judge and get at least that aspect of the complaint dismissed. If you are charged with stalking it is important to contact and hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. These charges are serious and usually very defensible.
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