March 2010 Archives

March 31, 2010

Massachusetts Supreme Court Rejects Challenge for Gun Rights


In the case of Commonwealth v. Jason Loadholt, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled on whether a defendant's criminal prosecution for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Ammunition is violative of a person's 'right to bear arms' as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.

In his appeal to the SJC for his Gun/Firearms Charges, the defendant claimed that Massachusetts could not prosecute him for the various gun and ammunitions charges for not first having obtained a Firearms Identification Card because the United States Constitution guaranteed him, via the Second Amendment, his 'Right to Bear Arms'.

In rejecting the defendant's Constitutional claims in his appeal, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court reasoned, citing United States v. Cruikshank, that the Second Amendment "does not by its own force apply to anyone other than the Federal Government." Rather, the Second Amendment means that it shall not be infringed any further by Congress, as opposed to the States. The Court explained that the Second Amendment "is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government."

At the end of the day, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment guarantees only an individuals right to keep and bear arms for defensive purposes. Without explicit saying as much, the Court seems to have upheld the requirement of obtaining a Firearms Identification Card for purposes of firearms and ammunition possession.

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March 30, 2010

2nd Mistrial in Suffolk County Murder Trial


Another mistrial was declared yesterday in the murder trial of Antwan Carter and Daniel Pinckney, Jr. yesterday for the killing of Cedirick Steele, 18, in March of 2007. The Suffolk County Jurors who had been deliberating for over a week told the judge they were hopelessly deadlocked against reaching a unanimous verdict.

The key witness for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Latoya Dickson, had testified before a Suffolk County Grand Jury and against the two defendant's in their first murder trial. During this, the second, trial, Dickson recanted her previous testimony.

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March 29, 2010

Defendant's Conviction for Dissemination of Obscene Material Reversed


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently decided the case of Commonwealth v. Kereakoglow, and reversed the defendant's conviction after jury trial on the criminal charges of Possession with Intent to Disseminate Material Harmful to Minors, in violation of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 28.

The defendant, residing in South Hadley (Hampshire County), allegedly sent three nude images of himself via e-mail to a police officer posing online as a fifteen year old girl living in Wenham (Essex County). The criminal offense of Possession with Intent to Disseminate Material Harmful to Minors requires the prosecutor to prove to the jury that the material was "harmful to minors." Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 31 defines material that is harmful to minors as material that is "obscene" or if taken as a whole:

  1. rerpesents sexual images so as to appeal to the prurient interest of minors;

  2. is patently contrary to the prevailing standards of adults in the county where the offense was committed; and

  3. lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value for minors.
As the alleged criminal offense was "committed" in Essex County where the defendant was residing, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the jury had to decide whether the images were "patently contrary" to the prevailing standards of adults in Essex County. Because the defendant was tried in Hampshire County and the jury was not instructed on how to determine "the county where the offense was committed," the Supreme Judicial Court found error and reversed the defendant's conviction.

Continue reading "Defendant's Conviction for Dissemination of Obscene Material Reversed" »

March 28, 2010

Police Not Required to Give Miranda if Suspect's Lawyer is Present During Questioning!?


In a stunning decision to many in the criminal defense bar, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court recently ruled that police officers are not required to give a criminal suspect his Miranda warnings if he has had the opportunity to consult with his attorney and that lawyer is present during police questioning. In a 4-3 decision in the case of Commonwealth v. Wally Jacques Simon, the Massachusetts Supreme Court's majority held that a criminal suspect's protections on the issue of Miranda warnings are safeguarded if the lawyer is present and can stop questioning at any time. Unbelievable...

The case involved a Winchester, Massachusetts, home invasion that led to one man being murdered, and his brother being seriously wounded. The brother was able to call 911 and give a description of the alleged perpetrator. After obtaining the man's identity and a few days after the murder, Massachusetts State Police Officers located and followed the criminal suspect to a parking lot in Medford, which ended up being outside his attorney's office. The defendant was allowed to go into his attorney's office and speak with him, and was then questioned by police, with his attorney present, in the lawyer's conference room.

In his Interlocutory Appeal, the defendant claimed that, because the police never provided him with his Miranda Warnings, any statements he made should be suppressed or excluded from the criminal trial against him. In ruling that the police were not required to specifically provide the criminal defendant with his Miranda Warnings prior to being questioned in this case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that Miranda was not necessary because the defendant had an opportunity to consult with his attorney before questioning, and the attorney was present during the questioning.

In reaching its decision, the Court relied on language in the United States Supreme Court's decision in Miranda v. Arizona, which stated that there can be "other fully effective means...to inform accused persons of their right of silence and to assure a continuous opportunity to exercise it."

The Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision in this case inexplicably now puts the burden on the criminal defendant because it reasoned that the presence of an attorney during interrogation and the opportunity to consult with his lawyer beforehand is an adequate protective device necessary to make the process of police interrogation conform to the dictates of the privilege. In other words, with a lawyer is present, the attorney can detect and describe even the most subtle coercive or suggestive influences, and thereby terminate the interrogation.

Although the Court emphasized that there are many other jurisdictions around the country that have concluded that Miranda warnings are not necessary when an attorney is present during questioning and that criminal suspect has had an opportunity to consult with him, Massachusetts has historically and proudly offered greater Constitutional protections under Article 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights than does the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

There are so many reasons why the Massachusetts Supreme Court made the wrong decision in this case and opened up a "Pandora's Box" for future Constitutional violations on the issue of Miranda warnings...

Continue reading "Police Not Required to Give Miranda if Suspect's Lawyer is Present During Questioning!?" »

March 27, 2010

FBI Investigating Bank Robberies in Boston Area Suburbs


539w.jpgIn the latest in a string of Bank Robberies over the past several days, the Boston's FBI Office has taken the lead in the investigation. In the latest bank robbery, which occurred this past Tuesday in Rockland, a man in his early twenties robbed the South Coastal Bank and displayed an explosive-looking device taped to his chest.

According to the Rockland Police Department, the suspect threatened to "blow something up" if he wasn't given the money. It's unclear whether the device was actually explosives, but the man did manage to escape with an undisclosed amount of cash. Boston's FBI Office believes that this Rockland bank robbery may be related to the Sovereign Bank robbery in Norwell.

Though the Boston FBI is not yet saying that these bank robberies are all related, they are also investigating several other bank robberies that occurred in Stoughton, Hanover, and Milton.

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March 26, 2010

Convicted Feline Felon Arrested in East Boston on Drug Trafficking Charges


If you don't remember the name Luigi Epifania, it's because he was known around Boston as the "Cat Killer". In 2008, Epifania was found guilty of strangling and stomping a cat to death, putting it in a bag, lighting it on fire and then throwing it into an apartment building. At the time when that case arose, he was awaiting trial on Attempted Murder charges for stabbing a man and then beating him with a frying pan during a drug deal gone bad.

Now, Epifania was again arrested by Boston Police in East Boston for Trafficking OxyContin. The Boston Police Department reports that he was spotted by drug offices in East Boston, who followed him and observed him engage in a drug transaction.

At the time of this most recent arrest, Epifania was on probation for his previous 2008 criminal cases. At that time, he had been sentenced to 2.5 years in jail for the Cruelty to Animal charge; and 5 years' probation for the attempted murder charge. Epifania could also be charged with Violation of Probation as a result of this newest criminal charge.

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March 25, 2010

Massachusetts Supreme Court Rules Homeless Shelters Entitled to 4th Amendment Privacy Protections


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's recent decision of Commonwealth v. Porter P., a juvenile, focused on whether a person temporarily staying in room in a homeless transitional center is entitled to a 'reasonable expectation of privacy' against unlawful searches and searches. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in a 5-2 decision, ruled that they do!

By way of background, the juvenile defendant and his mother had moved into a room at the Roxbury Multi-Service Center Family House Shelter in March 2006, which provides temporary housing for homeless families and assists them towards securing a permanent home. A few months later, the shelter's director heard rumors that the juvenile defendant had a gun and then contacted the Boston Police Department. The next morning, five Boston Police Officers arrived at the shelter, and with the permission from the Roxbury shelter's directors, searched the juvenile's room and found a .40 caliber Glock firearm. The juvenile was immediately arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm; Unlawful Possession of Ammunition; and Delinquency.

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, in ruling for the juvenile defendant, found that

"the room that the juvenile and his mother shared at the shelter was a transitional living space, but it was nonetheless their home...".
As a result, they had a reasonable expectation of privacy in their 'home' at the shelter, and the Boston Police Officers' search, without a warrant or consent by them, was violative of their 4th Amendment Right to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Justice Ralph Gants, the author of the Massachusetts Supreme Court's decision in this case, ruled that even the shelter's director did not have the 'actual authority' to consent to the police entry into the room to search for a gun. Justice Gants explained that the Roxbury shelter's director was not a co-inhabitant of the room, and although the shelter's guidelines permitted them to call the police, the guidelines did not expressly authorize the police to enter a resident's room and to search for evidence of a crime without consent or a warrant.

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March 24, 2010

Hit & Run In Boston Leads to Drunk Driving Arrest in Brookline


Bonnie McCullough, 31 of Cambridge, was arrested for several drunk driving charges last Friday by Brookline Police after an alleged hit and run incident. Driving in the Allston area of Boston, McCullough is alleged to have hit a man's car without stopping.

The man, who witnessed the incident, got in his car and, while on the phone with Brookline Police, chased McCullough into Brookline, where he was able to get her to pull over and take her keys until Brookline Police arrived.

After Brookline Police responded, McCullough reportedly admitted to drinking several beers and hard alcohol. She was arrested for Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol and Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Property Damage. At the time of her arrest, it was also discovered that she had less than an ounce of marijuana and was further issued a Civil Citation.

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March 23, 2010

Boston Ranked Amongst Most Vulnerable Cities for Cyber-Crimes


In a recent study by the data security firm Symantec Corporation, Boston ranked as the No. 2 worst city for Cyber/Internet Crimes city in America, narrowly missing the top spot, which was taken by Seattle.

According to the Cyber-Crime Report, the high concentration of "spam zombies" (computers taken over by outside hackers to send out spam) and Boston's numerous unsecured WiFi hotspots makes Boston particularly vulnerable to Cyber Crime attacks. Although large-scale cyber crime attacks are far between, the smaller-scale attacks on computer users and businesses using unsecured WiFi networks is on the high end.

Cyber/Internet Crimes can lead to a wide variety of criminal charges aside from 'spamming.' Other common Cyber/Internet Crimes include Identity Theft, Fraud, Larceny, Embezzlement, and even Sex Crimes.

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March 22, 2010

Marblehead Teen Charged with Vehicular Homicide in Death of Salem Woman


Christopher Maxson, 19, of Marblehead, was arrested last night after he collided with a car on Eastern Avenue in Lynn and then struck several parked cars before rolling over. As a result of the crash, Julia Gauthier, 19, of Salem, was ejected from the sunroof and died from her injuries.

Maxson was arraigned today in Lynn District Court on various drunk driving charges, including Reckless Operation of a Vehicle and Motor Vehicle Homicide.

The Lynn Police Department responded to reports of a motor vehicle crash with injuries at Eastern Avenue and Glenwood Street in Lynn, near the Swampscott line, at 1:00 a.m. Besides, Maxson and Gauthier, there were two other passengers in the vehicle.

After his arraignment, Christopher Maxson was reportedly held on $12,000 cash bail.

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March 20, 2010

Quincy Man Charged with Assault for Somerville Stabbing


Joseph Beaton, 25 of Duxbury, was arrested last week in Quincy for allegedly stabbing a man in Somerville, Massachusetts. On March 17, 2009, Somerville Police responded to a call that a man had been stabbed twice in the chest, as well as a wound to his elbow. Beaton was arrested on March 19 in Quincy.

The Somerville Police investigation resulting from this incident led police to Beaton, who is reported to have made incriminating statements implicating himself in the assault or stabbing. The victim's girlfriend later told Somerville Police that Beaton got into a fight at a party with the Somerville resident, and then stabbed him as a result.

After the assault, the victim was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was treated for his stab wounds. Although the Somerville man's condition was initially listed as 'critical', it was later changed to 'life threatening.'

Beaton is expected to be arraigned in Quincy District Court on Monday and charged with Assault, Assault by Means of a Dangerous Weapon, and Assault with Intent to Murder.

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March 19, 2010

Quincy Man Arrested for Braintree Robbery


Mark J. McMullen of Quincy, Massachusetts, was arrested on March 17 for stealing two cigarette cartons from a Mobil gas station near the South Shore Plaza in Braintree. The store clerk told police that the man, later identified as McMullen, requested to buy the two cartons and after he retrieved them, he snatched them out of his hands and ran out of the store.

The clerk was able to write down the registration number of the car, and also produced the surveillance videos from the store which captured the larceny. The Braintree Police Department had been investigating several other Theft Crimes in Braintree, Quincy and Boston by a suspect driving a dark-colored vehicle with CT registration. The police suspect that McMullen may be responsible for those other robberies as well.

McMullen is also a criminal suspect in another Theft Crime that happened on March 16, also in Braintree, Massachusetts. In that robbery, a man went to Cumberland Farms in Braintree and also took off with two cartons of cigarettes as well. That criminal suspect is also reported to have fled in a dark-colored vehicle with CT registration.

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March 18, 2010

Boston Police Make Drug Arrests in Roslindale Pub


489540_various_abusive_drugs.jpgA drug investigation by the West Roxbury Boston Police Drug Control Unit, relying on information provided by a 'confidential informant' about drugs being sold at BK's Pub at 4272 Washington Street in Boston's Roslindale section resulted in the arrest of two people. Alexander Perez-Figueroa, of Dorchester, and Elsa M. Parrilla, also of Dorchester, were both arrested and each charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class B Substance.

The confidential informant told police that a woman would sell drugs from BK's Pub in Roslindale by receiving orders in the bar and receiving money for the drugs. A 'drug dealer' would then be contacted, she would meet him on Poplar Street to obtain the drugs, and then allegedly distribute those drugs to the buyers.

The Boston Police Drug Control Unit allege they observed several people approach the woman and hand her money. She was then observed using her cell phone, thereafter leaving the bar in her car and conducting the transaction with occupants within another car. At the time of her arrest, the Boston Police report that she admitted to be in possession of cocaine, for which she reportedly paid $1,000.

That other car was also stopped by the Boston Police, and both the driver and passenger were arrested for violation of the drug control laws. Interestingly, only $407 dollars in total was seized from these two men. They were charged with Distribution of a Class B Substance and School Zone Violations.

Additionally, the 'buyer' from the bar was also summonsed to be charged in West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court with the drug crimes of Possession of a Class B Substance with Intent to Distribute and School Zone Violation.

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March 17, 2010

Former Harvard Student Charged with Cambridge Murder


Brittney Smith, 22, was recently indicted by the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office in connection with the murder of 21 year old Justin Cosby, of Cambridge. Smith, a former Harvard University student, will soon be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on several criminal charges, including Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Accessory to Murder After the Fact, Willfully Misleading a Grand Jury Investigation, and Willfully Misleading a Police Officer.

According to reports, the Cambridge Police Department and Harvard University Police responded to a 'shots fired' call on May 18, 2009, at a Harvard College dorm. Upon their arrival, they found Justin Cosby had left the dorm and ran to the intersection of Dunster and Mount Auburn Street, where he collapsed from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Based on the criminal investigation by the Massachusetts State Police, Cambridge Police, Harvard University Police and the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, it is alleged that three men from New York arranged to meet Cosby with the goal of robbing him. The meeting took place inside the Kirkland House dorm, at which point several shot were fired.

The criminal defendant, Brittney Smith, was a Harvard student at the time of the incident, who allegedly invited Cosby to the campus and he gave her his Harvard ID, which she in turn gave to the three men to access the building. After the shooting, Cambridge Police alleged that Smith took the gun used in the murder and hid it under a friend's bed in the dormitory.

Thereafter, Smith and the three men immediately left the Boston area. Smith returned the next day from out of state and is alleged to have lied to Cambridge and Harvard Police about her whereabouts, as well as telling them she had the key pass with her the entire time. After the incident, Harvard University suspended Smith.

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March 16, 2010

Massachusetts Criminal Conviction Rates in Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk & Worcester Counties Released


Many people not directly involved in the Massachusetts criminal justice system ordinarily do not hear much about what happens after certain cases are publicized. Media coverage of criminal cases, whether a murder, armed robbery, or drunk driving accident is highlighted almost daily. What the public only typically hears, however, is when someone is arrested, or when a 'high-profile' crime goes to trial. If someone is convicted of a high-profile crime, that's front-page headlines all over the Massachusetts media.

Well, what about the thousands of other criminal cases that are prosecuted annually...the ones that don't receive the extensive media attention? People might wonder, but don't often realize, that criminal conviction rates for cases tried in the Superior Court Departments in Boston and throughout Massachusetts are not as high as you might expect.

In data recently released by the Massachusetts Office of the Jury Commissioner, it is reported that in 2009, the criminal conviction rate in Suffolk County and Middlesex County for criminal cases that went to trial was only 62%. By comparison, the criminal conviction rate in Norfolk County was 59%, and Worcester County was 34%.

Because these criminal conviction rate numbers for Massachusetts counties consider a guilty verdict on at least one felony as a conviction, one might argue that the criminal conviction rates are actually lower than those reported. For example, if someone is charged with 5 felony indictments, and the criminal defendant is only convicted of 1 of them, then that is considered a conviction - even though the defendant may only have been convicted of the 'least serious' of those felonies.

Continue reading "Massachusetts Criminal Conviction Rates in Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk & Worcester Counties Released" »

March 15, 2010

Boston Homeland Security Official on Trial for Employing Illegal Worker


The trial of Lorraine Henderson, a former top Homeland Security Official from Boston, began today in Federal District Court. You may remember that Henderson was arrested in December 2008 after she was caught on a wiretap warning her housekeeper, Fabiana Bittencourt, not to leave the country because she won't be let back in. The person wearing the wiretap was the housekeeper, who had been cooperating with the United States District Attorney's Office.

The criminal defendant was charged with Employment of Illegal Aliens, as well as Encouraging an Illegal Immigrant to Remain in the Country, a felony punishable up to 10 years in prison.

Isn't it ironic that one of the top officials in charge of 'homeland security' and with enforcing the United States' customs and immigration laws is a criminal defendant on trial with violating the same laws she swore to enforce? The funny thing is, she's certainly not the first, nor the last 'law enforcement official' who will get caught up with illegal or criminal activity.

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March 13, 2010

Essex County D.A.'s Office Charges Two Men in 34 Year Old Gloucester Murder


Kevin Ireland, 54 of Gloucester, Massachusetts, was arrested yesterday for the murder of a woman in a Gloucester funeral home that occurred 34 years ago. Also charged with murder was Norman Pike of San Francisco, who was the grandson of the funeral home owner and who fled the Gloucester area shortly after the murder and began using the alias "Dan Franklin."

Norman Pike was arrested this past Monday by officers from various agencies, including the Gloucester Police Department and Massachusetts State Police. At this time, he has contested rendition from California and it could take up to 3 months to have him brought to Massachusetts to be arraigned on Murder charges in Gloucester District Court.

The Essex County District Attorney's Office alleges that Ireland, Pike, and a third man who is now deceased, went to rob the funeral home's safe. During the robbery, it is believed the victim walked in on the two men and was then murdered.

Despite this murder having gone unsolved for 34 years, investigators from the Gloucester Police Department and the Essex County District Attorney's Office recently reviewed the case and began re-interviewing witnesses who had been questioned at the time. The Essex County District Attorney's Office reports that, as a result of those re-interviews, police were able to secure arrest warrants for Kevin Ireland and Norman Pike.

Continue reading "Essex County D.A.'s Office Charges Two Men in 34 Year Old Gloucester Murder" »

March 12, 2010

Lynn Man Arrested for Trying to Steal Cash Register at Salem Family Dollar


This past Wednesday, Hosea Kendrick, 40 of Lynn, was arrested and charged with Attempt to Commit a Crime, Larceny from a Building, for allegedly trying to steal the cash register drawer from a Family Dollar Store in Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem Police allege that while the store clerk wasn't looking, Kendrick jumped the counter and tried, unsuccessfully, to remove the drawer from the cash register. When the clerk finally noticed, she heard a woman signal to the man, and the two then left the store together. The store clerk was able to get a description of the criminal suspect's car and, minutes later, Salem Police Officers saw that car and eventually arrested Hosea Kendrick and Christina Lupoli, also of Lynn, Massachusetts. Salem Police Officers brought Kendrick and Lupoli back to the Family Dollar Store and the clerk reportedly identified each of them as the would-be robbers.

This most recent attempted robbery follows two very recent similar robberies in the past few months. In January, a cash register was stolen from the Walgreens on Boston Street in Salem; and just last week, a masked robber also stole a cash register from another Walgreens in Beverly. At this time, Salem Police are continuing to investigating whether Hosea Kendrick and Christina Lupoli have any connection to these previous robberies.

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March 11, 2010

Malden Man Arrested Again in Boston for Another Robbery


Michael McInnis, 34 of Malden, was arrested for the second time in the past few weeks yesterday for another robbery, this time in Boston, Massachusetts. According to Boston Police, McInnis was arrested along with Crystle Sears, 22, after a witness reported them breaking into Liberty Tax Service at 2:50 a.m. Both McInnis and Sears were identified by witness(es) at the scene, and Sears was allegedly carrying a hammer and wood chisel.

Boston Police are charging McInnis with Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime for a Felony; Possession of Burglarious Instruments; Malicious Destruction of Property Over $250; and Disorderly Conduct. Sears was likewise charged with Breaking and Entering in the Nighttime for a Felony; Possession of Burglarious Instruments; and Malicious Destruction of Property Over $250.

You may remember that Michael McInnis was arrested last month in Malden, Massachusetts, after allegedly robbing a 7-11 of about $100. That robbery was widely reported because surveillance video captured a 75-yeard old elderly woman coming to the aid of the store clerk as he was being robbed.

According to Malden Police, Michael McInnis' extensive history of arrests are what led him to being easily identified from the surveillance video. It is reported that he has been criminally charged 13 times over the past 10 years in Malden District Court from criminal offenses ranging from Disturbing the Peace to Robbery. He also recently served 60 days in jail for traffic violations.

Continue reading "Malden Man Arrested Again in Boston for Another Robbery" »

March 10, 2010

Police Lose Man in Pursuit After Unarmed Robbery of Diamonds at Braintree Mall


The Braintree Police Department continue to investigate and search for a man who pulled off a robbery of two diamonds yesterday from Zales Jewelry Store at the South Shore Plaza in Braintree, Massachusetts. The stolen diamonds are said to be valued at $20,000 each.

According to police, the man walked into the jewelry store and asked to see a couple of diamonds. At the moment when the store employee was holding both diamonds in her hands, the man suddenly snatched the jewels and ran out of the store, where a getaway car was waiting for him.

The suspect's car was chased by a nearby Braintree Police Officer, and was observed speeding onto Route 93 headed towards Boston. The criminals were followed all the way to East Milton Square, at which time the Braintree Police Officer was told to call off the pursuit. Braintree Mall Security were able to provide the officers with a partial plate number of the getaway car, but it is reported that the car had Michigan plates. I wouldn't be surprised if these plates were attached to conceal the registered owner of the car, or if the car was stolen altogether.

Video surveillance footage from the Braintree jewelry store shows the man entering the store and speaking with the sales associate, but Braintree Police believe the man was aware of the presence of cameras and was very careful in keeping his head down.

Continue reading "Police Lose Man in Pursuit After Unarmed Robbery of Diamonds at Braintree Mall" »

March 9, 2010

Malden Man Charged with Murder of Infant Son


1014ec_ltp030810shakenbabytf04.jpgGeoffrey Wilson, 31 of Malden, Massachusetts, was arraigned yesterday in Malden District Court on murder charges for killing his 6 month old son, Nathan Wilson. A the time of this writing, the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office had not yet determined the cause and manner of death, citing that the matter is still under investigation.

The boy's father, who works at Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab as an administrative assistance, allegedly told police that the baby became cranky and he picked him up over his head and shook him, trying to simulate the motion of a moving car to calm the child. The Middlesex County D.A.'s Office, however, have said that preliminary reports suggest the infant child suffered "non-accidental injuries and trauma."

The prosecuting attorney further informed the judge at Wilson's arraignment that the baby had signs of bruising on his forehead, chin and cheek, and that it appeared that the baby was subjected to extreme violent shaking causing a retinal hemorrhage. Although an autopsy has not yet been completed, it is believed that the child succumbed to his injuries as a result of "Shaken Baby Syndrome."

Shaken Baby Syndrome occurs when an infant or small child is shaken violently, causing a whiplash-type motion. The violent shaking can cause severe brain damage and even death. There are approximately 1,200 to 1,600 cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome in the United States per year.

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March 8, 2010

Rockland Teen Charged with Armed Assault to Murder in Stabbing


Roberto Perez, 18, of Rockland, Massachusetts, will be arraigned today in Hingham District Court for stabbing another teenager at a party in Rockland this past Saturday. The District Attorney's Office has charged Roberto Perez with Armed Assault with Intent to Murder and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.

The victim, a 16 year old boy, was allegedly stabbed multiple times and ended up being airlifted to Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital where he was listed in stable condition. It is not clear at this time what the dispute was that led to the assault.

In Massachusetts, the crime of Armed Assault with Intent to Murder is governed by M.G.L. Chapter 265, Section 18(b), and provides for imprisonment to state prison for up to 20 years. Additionally, the crime of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, Causing Serious Bodily Injury, M.G.L. Chapter 265, Section 15A(c), provides for imprisonment to state's prison for up to 15 years.

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March 7, 2010

Criminal Defense Lawyer's Relationship with Prosecutor Not Enough to Overturn Murder Conviction


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently refused to overturn the murder conviction of a man who later found out his criminal defense lawyer had a prior dating relationship with the prosecutor in the case, and then with another prosecutor in the District Attorney's Appellate Division while he was handling his criminal appeal.

The defendant, John Stote, was convicted after a criminal jury trial for the 1997 murder of a man in Springfield, and then disposing of his body in the Connecticut River. In his appeal, the convicted murder appealed his conviction, claiming his criminal trial counsel's prior dating relationship with the prosecuting attorney created a conflict of interest.
In its decision, Commonwealth v. John Stote, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected both of the Defendant's arguments on appeal:

  1. that the defendant's criminal trial counsel should have told him of his prior personal relationship with the Hamden County prosecutor; and

  2. that the criminal attorney further failed to inform the defendant of his dating relationship with another prosecutor in the Hamden District Attorney's Office Appellate Division while he was then representing the defendant on the appeal for his murder conviction.
In her decision, Judge Marshall of the Massachusetts Supreme Court frowned upon the trial attorney's failure to disclose his relationships with prosecutors to his client, but ultimately ruled that there was neither "an actual conflict of interest nor a potential conflict that resulted in material prejudice in [the defendant's] appeal." Despite rejecting the defendant's appeal, the Court did note that an attorney's professional and ethical responsibility to inform their clients of any intimate personal relationship that might impair his ability to provide unimpaired assistance of counsel.

Continue reading "Criminal Defense Lawyer's Relationship with Prosecutor Not Enough to Overturn Murder Conviction" »

March 6, 2010

Massachusetts Court Reverses Drug Conviction, Police 'Expert Testimony' Still Live Issue In Drug Cases


The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently reversed the conviction of a man who had been convicted in 2004 for the crime of Trafficking Cocaine of over 28 grams. In the case of Commonwealth v. Mario M. Perez, the Supreme Judicial Court reversed the jury's guilty finding on the grounds that the defendant's Sixth Amendment Right to Confrontation was violated by the introduction of the Certificate of Drug Analysis without the chemist's testimony.

The defendant's reversal for the crime of Trafficking follows the United States Supreme Court's decision in Crawford v. Washington, which essentially ruled that the Drug Certificates were testimonial evidence. At the time of this appeal, the United States Supreme Court had granted certiorari but not yet decided United States v. Melendez-Diaz, which now prevents the prosecutor from proving its case by way of ex-parte court affidavits and without the proponent being subject to cross-examination.

This case is particularly interesting because the District Attorney's Office attempted to convince the Massachusetts Supreme Court to adopt a broader rule of law that would allow them to bypass having to call a drug chemist at trial. Massachusetts prosecutors are trying hard to convince the Court to allow them to prove what a particular substance is through the use of 'police expert' testimony only. In this way, the prosecutors could attempt to prove the controlled substance at trial through their usual police witnesses and without having to bring in the chemist who tested the drugs.

In Commonwealth v. Perez, the Suffolk District Attorney's Office argued that a police officer who had experience with a particular drug, packaging, street-selling prices, and based on his experience, could then offer the required proof that a substance is a particular drug without having the chemist testify.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court said, no, but nice try...

Continue reading "Massachusetts Court Reverses Drug Conviction, Police 'Expert Testimony' Still Live Issue In Drug Cases" »

March 5, 2010

Roslindale Man Held Without Bail in Jamaica Plain Tedeschi's Murder


On March 3, 2010, Edward Corliss, 64 of Roslindale, was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court and held without bail, charged with Armed Robbery While Masked, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and the murder of Surendra Dangol while he was working at Tedeschi's in Jamaica Plain on December 26.

The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office alleges that Edward Corliss entered the Tedeschi's at about 3:00 p.m., concealing his appearance with heavy clothing, a scarf and a wig. Store video surveillance captures Corliss allegedly pulling out a gun and pointing it at Dangol and ordering him to place the store's cash into Corliss' backpack. Dangol is then shown with his arms up, at which time Corliss pointed the gun at his chest and shot him.

Boston Police Investigators had also obtained video footage of the suspected vehicle Corliss got away in. After consulting with auto experts, a database search of the make and model of the vehicle was narrowed, leading police to Corliss' home. The Plymouth Acclaim, registered to Corliss' wife, was found in the back of the residence.

Notably, Edward Corliss is reported to have an extensive criminal record, including a conviction for the 1971 murder of another convenience store clerk. At the time of Dangol's murder, Corliss had recently been released on parole for that 1971 incident.

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March 4, 2010

Missing Baby Found in Dorchester, Uncle Charged with Kidnapping


Boston Police have arrested Troy Robinson, 29, and charged him with Kidnapping his 2 year old nephew, who had been missing with him since Tuesday morning. The child was located by Boston Police yesterday in Dorchester, Massachusetts, after receiving anonymous tips. The child was taken to a local Boston Hospital for evaluation, but it appeared to Boston Police that he was in good condition.

Troy Robinson, also known as James Braxton or Troy Allen, was asked to babysit the boy on Tuesday morning. The child's mother reported that she received a voicemail from Robinson on Tuesday evening, where he said he was running late. The child was then reported missing after he failed to return the child and his whereabouts with the child were unknown since that time. Boston Police indicated that Troy Robinson also had an outstanding Arrest Warrant for an unrelated criminal charge.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 26A is the criminal statute that provides for the punishment for the offense of Kidnapping of A Minor by a Relative. If convicted, Troy Robinson could be sentenced to the Massachusetts House of Corrections for up to 1 year and fined $1000.

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March 3, 2010

Massachusetts Man Arrested for Killing 15 Month-Old


Edgard Anziani, 27 of Lawrence, Massachusetts, was arrested on March 1 in Maryland for allegedly killing his girlfriend's 15 month-old baby in Bangor. The criminal suspect had been pursued by the FBI's Boston Office, who had secured a federal arrest warrant charging him with Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution.

In an affidavit, the baby's mother alleged that she left the child in Edgard Anziani's custody while she went to the hospital to be treated for severe abdominal pain in the early morning hours of February 23. Some time thereafter, Anziani handed the child to fire department officials, at which time the baby was already blue and not breathing.

Anziani told police that he heard a 'thumping' noise while he was in the kitchen preparing milk, and then discovered the child had collapsed on the landing of the stairs, suggesting he had fallen down the stairs. The autopsy performed, however, indicated that the child suffered injuries that "were inflicted" and "nonaccidental in nature", including fractured bones and evidence of a human bite mark on the child's arm.

As a result, Anziani was charged with Murder of the infant. In Massachusetts, murder is defined as the unlawful killing of another with malice or in the commission or attempted commission of certain felonies.

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March 2, 2010

Bogus Bridal Show Scams Thousands


In an elaborate cyber crime, a website advertising a fake bridal show to be held in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center this coming weekend scammed thousands of brides and vendors of several thousand dollars. The website, The Boston 411, targeted people and vendors through popular bridal event websites and common social media sites such as Facebook.

The internet bridal scam was not discovered until recently when vendors started calling the Convention Center in Boston asking when they could start setting up their booths. It wasn't until that time that the police were contacted and Hynes Convention Center officials confirming that no bridal event had even been scheduled.

The Associated Press reports that approximately 6,000 people and vendors signed up for the non-existent show. Potential attendees prepaid a registration fee of up to $15, and vendors losing several thousand dollars, some up to $4,000, for reserving floor space and producing advertising materials for the event. The internet scammers reportedly secured payments for their fraudulent crime-scheme by demanding online payments through PayPal or similar online money transfer services.

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March 1, 2010

Roxbury Woman Arrested for Stealing from Braintree's Lord & Taylor


The Quincy Patriot Ledger reports that a 42 year old Roxbury woman will be arraigned today in Quincy District Court for stealing over $450 in clothing from Lord & Taylor at the South Shore Mall in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Maria Tavares, of Roxbury, Massachusetts, allegedly attempted to conceal a dress, jeans and other clothing at the Lord & Taylor store without paying before leaving. She will be charged with Larceny Over $250 in Quincy District Court.

Under Massachusetts law, stealing is defined as the wrongful taking of the personal property of another with the intent to deprive that person of such property permanently. The 'taking and carrying away' of the property is accomplished by the physical transfer of the property from the other person's control to his/her own, without regard if the transfer involved only slight movement, or if it lasted only for a short time.

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266, Section 30, is the criminal statute which governs Larceny by Stealing, which provides for a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in state prison or up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections, along with a fine of up to $25,000.

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