A twenty-nine year old Marblehead, Massachusetts woman in facing charges of Larceny of Prescription Medication in the Salem District Court. The Salem News reported yesterday that the woman worked at Brightview, an assisted living complex in Danvers, Massachusetts. It is alleged that the defendant was swapping oxycodone and Vicodin with acetaminophen. A relative of one of the residents of the facility became suspicious and brought her concerns to the attention of the administrators of the home. An investigation resulted in the nurse being questioned. She confessed and was charged with six counts of Larceny and Possession of a Class B drug. The defendant apparently became addicted to pain medications after having orthopedic surgery.
There is a pretty interesting aspect to this case that is not often discussed or applied in Massachusetts Courts. The defendant’s lawyer attempted to delay his client’s arraignment in this case and put her in a drug treatment program. He wanted her to enter a five year sanctioned treatment program for which she already been qualified. This was a great effort on his part. Basically, get your client evaluated and treated. Then go to the district attorney’s office and try to resolve matters prior to arraignment. If successful, the defendant’s CORI remains entry free and future employment is not negatively impacted. The prosecution should be satisfied if it is determined by the evaluating and treating professionals that the defendant has addressed her problem and will likely not re-offend. Yet here, the district attorney opposed this effort and demanded the defendant be arraigned. The judge agreed with the prosecutor.
On its website, the Essex County District Attorney lists its own drug diversion program as an alternative to conventional prosecutions for people in this defendant’s position. The link to the program is http://www.mass.gov/essexda/prevention-and-intervention/school-safety/essex-county-drug-diversion-program.html. The program sets out specific parameters. It is for non-violent drug offenders. It is mostly for people ages seventeen to twenty-six charged with drug or drug related crimes. The purpose of the program is to reduce drug abuse. The program is run through the various district courts in Essex County. The program provides “comprehensive substance abuse treatment services in lieu of being prosecuted through the traditional court process”.
So why then would the prosecutors object to the defendant’s request to continue the arraignment until the program was completed. The statute of limitations will not expire meaning that if the defendant fails to comply with the program’s demands the district attorney can still prosecute her for these crimes. Her progress can be monitored by the probation department of the Salem District Court prior to arraignment thereby preventing the case from falling through the cracks. It seems to me then that the defense attorney’s request was reasonable and consonant with the interests of justice. The position of the prosecution under these circumstances lacks substance. If their office policy endorses what the defense lawyer is seeking to impose then why voice an objection. Drug addiction is an illness that can be successfully treated. If this woman can benefit from such treatment then it seems reasonable that she be in the best position to go back to work. A clean CORI would make this much more likely than would having a drug entry.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman is dedicated to defending people accused of all crimes. Massachusetts Drug Crimes are defended by our staff on a daily basis. Call us now at 617-263-6800 or email us with concerns about your case. Your defense should start now.