The Boston Globe recently reported that a six person jury sitting in Concord District Court convicted the former Waltham police chief of domestic assault and battery. The prosecution secured conviction despite the fact that the defendant’s wife testified that the defendant never attacked her. Based on newspaper reports, it appears that the Commonwealth introduced statements that the defendant’s wife made to a long time friend on the night of the incident indicating that the chief did strike her. Additionally, it seems that there was evidence from the medical records in which the wife stated that she was pushed and pulled. Thus, despite the fact that the “victim” did not testify for the prosecution, the defendant was still convicted.
Defending cases of alleged domestic abuse in Massachusetts requires knowledge of the law and skill. In this case, it appears that the Massachusetts Defense Attorney did a very good job as the chief was acquitted on charges of witness intimidation and threats made to his wife and one of her friends and Commonwealth witness. Thus, it appears that despite the presentation of a strong defense. the jury credited the testimony of the witness claiming that in the aftermath of the incident the victim stated that her husband struck her. The prosecution apparently argued that the victim’s stake in the defendant’s income and pension were motives for her to testify on behalf of her husband.
In Massachusetts a spouse cannot be forced to testify against his or her spouse. However, that does not mean that the Commonwealth will necessarily dismiss the charges. In courthouses across Massachusetts, including Concord, Lawrence and Lowell, the District Attorney’s office makes an assessment of the evidence independent of the spouse’s statements to determine whether to proceed to trial. This case of the Waltham police chief in the Concord District Court is an example of a case that went to trial even though the wife/victim did not want the case to go forward.
A collateral consequence of someone being charged with domestic assault and battery is that if a child was present the Department of Family Services will be notified and an investigation is conducted relative to the safety of the child or children. It is important for anyone charged with a crime to remember that any statements made to this agency are discoverable and could be used against him or her in the event that the case goes to trial. Similarly, in the event that one spouse gets a 209A restraining order and an evidentiary hearing takes place, it is important to remember that any statements made can be used in court during the trial.
Our Attorney has successfully represented numerous individuals that have faced domestic assault and battery charges. Prompt investigation including witness interviews and a thorough review of all the reports are crucial to defend these types of cases. If you have been charged with assault and battery and want to present the best defense possible, contact Our Attorney on-line or and she will get back to and develop a defense strategy immediately.