Articles Posted in Celebrities

Roger Clemens.jpgDuring the jury selection process a prospective juror told the prosecution, judge and defense that he would rather stay home in bed than be a juror on the Roger Clemens Perjury trial case. The twenty seven year old unemployed juror will now get his wish. After repeatedly sleeping during the trial testimony and showing up late, the judge dismissed the juror. This comes on the heels of the judge warning the parties that the jurors appeared bored and imploring the lawyers to speed things up.

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Massachusetts Criminal Defense Lawyer

So what does a Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer do with the problem of sleeping jurors? Well the first thing to do is to bring the matter to the attention of the judge. Massachusetts law makes clear that a defendant’s fundamental right to a fair trial may be put in jeopardy if a juror sleeps through testimony. A judge is obligated to make sure that all jurors hear all of the evidence. Pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 234A Section 29 a judge has the discretion to dismiss a juror at any time if he or she determines it is in the best interests of justice. The judge may order a hearing to establish a record pertaining to the issue of a sleeping juror. The defense lawyer should attempt to have the judge conduct a hearing on the matter to preserve the observations of others, particularly in the event that the judge refuses to act in accordance with the defendant’s requests on that issue. Massachusetts judges have dismissed jurors who were acquainted with the lawyers or witnesses. One Massachusetts judge dismissed a juror who smoked marijuana to remain awake during a trial. A sitting juror was dismissed where his son was arrested and placed in the same jail as the defendant during the pendency of the trial. Sitting jurors who had travel plans were excused once it was determined that they could only deliberate in a limited time frame. Illness can serve as a reasonable basis for dismissing a juror. Dismissing a deliberating juror due to child care problems was found necessary and appropriate. A juror’s failure to reveal his criminal history warrants his removal.

Massachusetts case law states that a judge’s decision to remove a sitting juror will not be found violative of the defendant’s rights unless doing so constituted an abuse of discretion. This suggests that it is critical for the defense to try to get the judge to have a hearing on any challenge to a sitting jurors’ competence to remain. Even if the judge refuses to conduct a hearing making a record with affidavits supporting the defendant’s position on removal will be critical to the appeal.

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After four days of deliberations a Northern California jury rendered its verdict in the Barry Bonds perjury/obstruction of justice case. The three perjury charges stemmed from allegations that Bonds made false statements while under oath before a federal grand jury in 2003. The jury was unable to return verdicts on those counts and a mistrial was declared. On two of these three counts the jury was leaning heavily towards acquittal. However the jury did convict Bonds of obstruction of justice, a crime permitting incarceration for up to ten years. The factual basis for this conviction originated from Bonds’ response to the question : “Did Greg [Anderson, Bonds personal trainer] ever give you anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with?” Bonds’ response centered on his friendship with Anderson and his celebrity status. Prosecutors claim that he never answered the question. Understandably, defense attorneys are seeking to have the judge vacate this conviction.

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Barry Bonds.jpg

Massachusetts Federal Criminal Defense Attorney

18 U.S.C. §1503 lays out the law for a Federal Obstruction of Justice Charge. In essence, anyone who “endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished”. This statute was designed to target any corrupt conduct endeavoring to obstruct or interfere with the administration of justice. The Barry Bonds jury was asked to determine if his evasive answer to one question satisfies the elements of the statute beyond a reasonable doubt. Legally the word “corrupt” implies an evil or wicked purpose. The prosecution must also prove a beyond a reasonable doubt the defendant’s specific intent to impede the administration of justice. I can fully appreciate Bonds’ lawyers’ efforts to have this conviction vacated. While his arguably rambling response to the question before the grand jury was non-responsive an intent to impede the administration of justice seems to be a reach, notwithstanding the jury’s verdict. This issue will be argued again on May 20th, this time to the trial judge alone. Perhaps the conviction will be vacated.

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The New York Daily News reports that former Boston College Basketball player Sean Williams has been arrested and charged with violating a restraining order and trespassing.  Williams has had problems in this area in the past.  He was thrown off of the Boston College basketball team in his junior year for smoking marijuana and has been banned from entering the Boston College campus.  Prior to his expulsion Williams had been suspended for marijuana use. 

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The article’s reference to a restraining order violation is somewhat sketchy.  Restraining orders in Massachusetts are governed by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 209A.  Restraining orders protect family or household members in Massachusetts.  Those individuals are defined as people who 1) are or were married to one another, 2) reside or had resided in the same household, 3) are or were related by blood, 4) have a child together or 5) are in or have been in a substantive dating relationship.  There is no indication that anyone fitting that definition was involved in this incident.

Trespassing in Massachusetts is prohibited by Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 120.  The law states that anyone who without authority enters or remains in or on property another, or does so in violation of a restraining order is guilty of trespassing.  A conviction of this offense carries a potential 30 day jail sentence. 

This case will likely be prosecuted in the Brighton District Court

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