The Salem News reports that forty-eight year old Peter Postell from Salem Massachusetts will be spending the next six months in jail for shoving a neighbor that Postell had been ordered to stay away from. Postell was two weeks away from completing his probation for a harassment conviction. His terms of that probation included that he have no contact with neighbors who were the target of the harassment. Earlier this week in a hearing conducted in Salem District Curt the neighbor testified that as he tried to avoid making eye contact with PostellPostel as he came down the street but Postell came up and shoved him. According to reports, the defense suggested that the timing of the allegations were suspicious due to the fact that Postell was expected to move in next door to the complaining neighbors after the probationary term ended. A District Court Judge did not buy the argument and Postell was sentenced to six months in jail.
In Massachusetts, ordering a defendant to have no contact or to stay away from alleged victims or complainants is a common term of probation. Crimes in which this type of order is often imposed includes circumstance in which a defendant is charged with domestic assault and battery, assault and battery, trespass, violation of a restraining order, threats and harassment. If you have been charged with this type of offense it is imperative that you have an experienced Boston area defense attorney on your side. In the event that the case is disposed of you must ensure that any imposed term of probation is reasonable and related to the crime charged.
In the District Courts of Massachusetts defendants do not ordinarily go to jail because of the initial charge. It is often when the probation department alleges that a term of probation has been violated that the defendant’s liberty is in jeopardy. The probation department gives notice to the defendant that it believes he or she violated the terms of probation and a preliminary hearing is conducted. Depending on the facts of the case, the probation officer may request that a defendant be held in detention until the final surrender hearing. At the final surrender hearing the defendant has the opportunity to present his defense. The rules that apply during a probation hearing are more “relaxed” than those that apply at a trial. Although less stringent, any information must be credible and reliable. If you are facing a probation surrender hearing it is imperative that you have an experienced trial attorney at your side to ensure that your rights are protected and the probation department is made to sustain its burden of proof.