The Lawrence Eagle Tribune has reported that Lawrence Police Officer William Green shot a man who is accused of beating another male with a baseball bat in a Lawrence alley. The Tribune reports that while Green was doing a paid detail at the Club Copa he became alerted to a disturbance in a nearby alley. Upon investigation, Green observed a male beating another male with a baseball bat. According to the report of District Attorney Blodgett’s office, Officer Green gave reported verbal commands for the assailant to stop. The bat yielding assailant, later identified as Jose Concepcion of Lawrence, apparently failed to stop and Green shot him twice. This put an end to the beating and both participants landed in the hospital. Concepcion was taken to Lawrence General Hospital and the other male was taken to a Boston Hospital. According to a press release from Blodgett’s office, per department policy, Green has been placed on paid administrative leave. The Massachusetts State Police and The Essex County District Attorney’s Office is continuing to investigate the incident.
The facts of this case raise some very interesting and often litigated legal issues. A defense that is often asserted, when identification of a perpetrator is not an issue, is self-defense or defense of another. Although all of the facts of this case are clearly not available at this time, this may or may not be a viable defense. It is always the burden on the Commonwealth to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Once a defendant asserts a claim of self-defense or defense of another the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense. In Massachusetts an individual has an obligation to retreat if possible and can only use as much force as reasonable to defend oneself. Generally speaking, a gun or knife would be considered excessive force if an individual was fighting an unarmed person. However, every case is fact specific. Critical factors to be considered if you believe that this type of defense may apply to your case are whether a defendant was out numbered, what type of weapon was used (if any) and the size of the parties involved.
Based on the facts of this case it appears that the individual that used the bat on the male in the alley can be charged with a number of offenses ranging from assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon to assault with intent to murder (armed). In the event that the person is charged with just assault and battery and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon the case may remain in the District Court. The advantage of this is that a District Court Judge can only sentence up to two and one half years in the house of correction. However, if the case is indicted and the case is in Superior Court he will face the possibility of a state prison sentence. The maximum sentence for armed assault with a dangerous weapon is twenty years. The decision of what Court that this case will be litigated in will probably be made after a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attack and the background of the involved parties. Based on my experience, I would expect that the Essex County District Attorney’s Office will present the case to a Grand Jury and indictments will be returned against the individual that struck the male with the bat.
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