Salem Man, 23 Charged With Perjury, Obstruction of Justice After Lying During Jury Selection in Rape Trial

Jonathan Ngarambe of Salem, Massachusetts was summonsed as an Essex County juror. During the impanelment process on a Massachusetts Rape Case, Ngarambe lied to the judge. On two occasions the judge asked the prospective jurors if anyone knew any of the defendants. Ngarambe never made clear that he did in fact know three of the four defendants and that he went to school with these men. The district attorney prosecuting the case saw Ngarambe making eye contact with one of the rape trial defendants. He found out that Ngarambe had contact with another defendant in the courthouse the morning the trial was scheduled to start. Ngarambe was questioned by the trial judge and denied knowing the defendants. A 2008 Salem Massachusetts High School yearbook confirmed that the suspect was classmates with some of the defendants. One of the defendants is Facebook friends with him. Ngarambe has been charged with Witness Intimidation, Obstruction of Justice and Perjury. He will be prosecuted in the Essex County Superior Court in Salem. Authorities contend that Ngarambe wanted to get seated on the jury to help his friends get acquitted.

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Salem Criminal Defense Lawyer

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 268 Section 13B sets out the law for Intimidation of a Witness or Obstruction of Justice in Massachusetts. As relevant to this case, the law states that anyone who “misleads, intimidates or harasses another person” i.e. a police officer faces up to ten years in prison after a conviction. This law also provides for the same punishment for anyone who tries to improperly manipulate a jury. There is also a house of correction sentence available for someone charged with this crime and both the district court and superior court have jurisdiction over this crime. In this case, recognizing the severity of the attempted obstruction the district attorney opted to indict this case. I would imagine that the prosecutor in this case is looking for state prison time if he gets a conviction.

This case aside, one of the things that concerns me most about this law is its subjectivity. If a police office questions a witness and is not satisfied with his or her answer the possibility of an obstruction charge looms. This is another reason why I always advise my clients not to talk to the police. Nothing good can come from it. Talking to the police without the presence of counsel puts you at risk for some sort of criminal charge, even if you have not committed a crime. Make sure you consult with a lawyer before you ever talk to the police. My office has defended people charged with this crime who never would have been had they simply not spoken to the police. If the police want to talk to you, call a lawyer.

The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman is committed to defending the accused. Do not wait for charges to issue before calling a lawyer. Get advice now and avoid being prosecuted. We can be reached at 617-263-6800 or you can email us at anytime. Our office is always open.