Three days ago East Bridgewater, Massachusetts police responded to a call for a woman acting “out of control”. The woman, thirty one year old Kerrilee Zimmerman apparently went to her brother’s home, accessed a locked firearm in the house and started shooting. Several bullets went through a wall and hit a neighbor’s house. The suspect’s brother who reportedly called the police had concerns that the incident was triggered by possible drug usage. The caller found his sister lying on a bed with the gun pointed towards her chest. An ambulance arrived to take Zimmerman to the hospital for an examination. She refused and purportedly fought with two police officers. Zimmerman has been charged with Carrying a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, Assault and Battery on a Police Officer, Malicious Destruction to Property Over $250 and Discharging a Firearm Within 500 Feet of a Dwelling. The case is pending in the Brockton District Court where Zimmerman will be arraigned tomorrow.
Malicious Destruction to Property Charges, Massachusetts
So what typically happens to a defendant in a case like this one? A lot depends on her criminal history. If Zimmerman does not have a criminal record it would not surprise me to see this case continued without a finding, particularly if drugs caused Zimmerman’s behavior. Judges and prosecutors are sympathetic to people who have drug problems. When the accused does not have a criminal record and drugs led to the crime efforts are made to get the accused help rather than to saddle him or her with a criminal conviction or jail time. The victims in this case can be adequately compensated for their monetary losses. Police officers are inclined to agree to case resolutions that help get people on the right track in cases like this one as well. The police are not necessarily inclined to insist on a conviction. Rather, they want assurances that the activity will not be repeated and the accused gets her problems properly addressed.
In my experience psychological evaluations can be helpful in getting the prosecutor and judge to agree to a favorable disposition. This involves engaging a forensic psychologist, preferably one who works for both the prosecution and defense regularly. This person will meet with and evaluate the accused to prepare a report known as an aid in sentencing. With the report comes a diagnosis that explains the causes of the defendant’s behavior and often recommendations on how to prevent a recurrence in the future. A continuance without a finding with probationary conditions that embrace the substance of the aid in sentencing report is many times the result of the case. The report helps the district attorney and judge understand the problems from which the accused is suffering. The report also provides professional strategies to address the problem.
Our office is in the business of defending the accused. We fight for all of our clients to make sure that the best result in secured. If you need legal assistance for a criminal problem call our office at 617-263-6800 or email us. We can help you.