Earlier today Methuen, Massachusetts police responded to a report of a fight occurring just outside of a Methuen fast food restaurant on Route 110. In total, five people were arrested. The incident occurred just after midnight when one of the accused allegedly insulted a female. Words were exchanged between the two groups, one consisting of five individuals the other having three. One of the individuals in the larger group used a metal pipe beat and stab the three victims. One of the injured parties sustained injuries to his head and was taken to the hospital where he remains in serious condition. Four or the individuals arrested face charges of Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon. The other has been charged with Assault With Intent to Murder as well as Assault and Battery by Means of a Dangerous Weapon. The charges are now pending in the Lawrence District Court. Depending on their criminal records and the severity of the injuries this case may be prosecuted in the Essex County Superior Court in Salem.
This article mentions the suspects being detained not far from the crime scene for the purpose of witness identification. This issue comes up regularly in Massachusetts Criminal Cases. Prosecutors need victims to make identifications of their assailants. Yet there are constitutional restrictions on the manner in which these identification procedures can be implemented. If the procedure is not followed correctly the accused’s Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer can bring a Motion to Suppress the Identification Procedure. If successful, the fact that an identification of the defendant was made might not be admissible at trial. Absent an independent source for the identification of the defendant the case might be dismissed.
There are many types of identification procedures used by law enforcement in Massachusetts and throughout the country. There are photo arrays, line-ups, show-ups and more. The procedure used here is commonly known as a “show up” identification procedure. This usually takes place at or near the crime scene. Potential suspects will be detained for a period of time, usually enough time to get the victim or witness over to view the individual. The victim or witness is typically concealed in a police cruiser and taken to the scene to see if he or she can identify the person being detained as having been involved in the crime. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court views this procedure as “inherently suggestive”. These procedures present the greatest risk of mistaken identification. However, trial judges often deny motions to suppress these procedures and rarely is that decision overturned. Judges are to look to the totality of the circumstances in determining whether or not the identification procedure was unnecessarily suggestive so as to warrant suppression. It is the job of the defense attorney to present evidence showing the suggestive nature of the process. This can be done directly, through cross-examination or both. The district attorney is accountable to show that good reason for the procedure existed. The judge will look at factors such as the need for an efficient police investigation immediately following the crime and the usefulness of a quick confirmation of the police investigatory information.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, PC has succeeded in suppressing unnecessarily suggestive identifications. We have won cases through suppression. If you are in trouble call us at 617-263-6800 or send us an email. We will start your defense right away.