November 2011 Archives

November 30, 2011

2 Massachusetts Men Arrested for Robbery for Purse Snatching

thumbnail.aspx.jpegTwo men, one from Boston and the other from Stoughton, were arrested this past Saturday on Massachusetts Theft Crimes and Violent Crimes Charges in an alleged purse snatching incident.

Nathaniel Webster, 32, of Boston, and Tameika Dunbar, 29, of Stoughton, were both charged with Unarmed Robbery, Resisting Arrest and Assault & Battery.

According to the Boston Police Department, Webster and Dunbar allegedly came behind two woman in Mattapan, hit them and stole one of their purses. The pair was reportedly arrested after their car was pulled over nearby by responding police officers.

The Massachusetts Theft Crime of Unarmed Robbery makes criminal the act of one, who is not armed with a dangerous weapon, by who by force or violence robs or steals the property or money of another person. The potential penalty for Unarmed Robbery in Massachusetts is imprisonment for any term of years up to life.

In my practice, allegations of Armed Robbery and Unarmed Robbery in circumstances involving purse snatching are more and more common. In the past, persons charged with these crimes often had their charges reduced to Larceny from the Person and the cases usually remained in the district courts.

In the past year or so, as purse snatching are more common and apparently increasing in violence, prosecutors are taking a closer look at these cases and appear to be indicting more of them to Superior Court, where the penalties are much stiffer.

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November 29, 2011

3 Men Arrested in Boston Home Invasion in Dorchester

Boston Police responded to a reported Home Invasion / Armed Robbery this morning and arrested three men who allegedly tried to rob the home.

Adel Fonts of Attleboro, Robert Smith of Roslindale and Antonio Teixiera were all arrested and charged with Home Invasion; Armed Robbery; Unlawful Possession of a Firearm; and Assault with a Dangerous Weapon.

According to the Boston Police, officers responded to a call for a break-in at a home in Dorchester shortly after midnight. When they arrived, they allegedly observed Robert Smith jump from the second floor onto a neighboring porch. He allegedly tried to run away but was eventually arrested.

Meanwhile, Boston Police also reported locating Adel Fonts and Antonio Teixiera hiding in the home. Police also allegedly recovered 2 gun, zip ties, and cash.

Home Invasion in Massachusetts is defined as the entry into the home of another while armed and force is used against any person in the house. Home Invasion carries a very serious penalty of not less than 20 years and up to life in state prison.

Armed Robbery in Massachusetts, however, differs a bit from the crime of Home Invasion because the law does not require that the crime be committed in the house of another. Rather, an 'armed robbery' is committed when one, armed with a dangerous weapon, physically or otherwise threatens another person with the intent to steal his or her property. Armed Robbery also carries a potential sentence of up to life in state prison, but the law does not impose a minimum-mandatory sentence.

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November 28, 2011

Plane Lands in Boston, Professor Arrested for Child Pornography

A university professor was arrested this past weekend in Boston on Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges after his flight landed at Logan Airport for allegedly possessing and viewing child pornography in flight.

Grant D. Smith, 47, a science professor at the University of Utah, was arraigned in East Boston District Court yesterday for Unlawful Possession of Child Pornography.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Smith was allegedly viewing the child pornography from his first class seat while in flight. A passenger seated behind him allegedly observed the images Smith was looking at and e-mailed his son and asked him to contact police in Massachusetts.

Prosecutors further allege that the passenger then reported the incident to a flight attendant, who instructed Smith to shut off his computer. The flight attendant reported that Smith then allegedly tried to erase the images from his computer.

When the flight landed in Boston, Massachusetts State Police purportedly obtained consent from Smith to search his computer, and they allegedly recovered multiple child pornographic images of children between 5 and 14 years old.

Meanwhile, the University of Utah has placed Smith on administrative leave pending its own investigation.

The Massachusetts Sex Crime of Unlawful Possession of Child Pornography is a felony that carries up to 5 years in state prison for a first offense. Massachusetts law defines child pornography as any photograph or visual reproduction, or depiction by computer, any child whom the person knows or reasonably should know to be under the age of 18, and the child is engaged in some type of sexual or depicted in a lewd pose.

Additionally, a conviction of Unlawful Possession of Child Pornography may also subject the offender to Registration as a Sex Offender.

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November 25, 2011

2 Teens Charged in Shooting of Woburn Police Officer

Two teenagers were charged on Wednesday in connection with the attempted jewelry store robbery that ended in the shooting of a Woburn Police Officers.

Allegra Martinez, 18, and Erianiss Murillo, 17, both from Dorchester, were arranged in Woburn District Court this week on Massachusetts Crimes of Violence Charges, including Armed Robbery While Masked; Gun Crimes Charges, and Assault with Intent to Murder.

According to Middlesex County prosecutors, Allegra Martinez, the daughter of a Boston Police Officer, and Erianiss Murillo, were involved in the attempted robbery of Musto Jewelers. Prosecutors allege that the store was cased a few days before the incident when two women came into the store and asked store employees how many people worked there. A few days later, on September 6, two women and two men returned to the store.

Prosecutors allege that Murillo rang the door bell, and when she was buzzed in, two men, Hector Baez Cruz, 21, and Antonios Matos, 25, went through and attempted to rob the store.

Woburn Police Officer Robert DeNapoli was one of the first police officers to respond to the scene. He was allegedly shot by Antonios Matos. DeNapoli survived the shooting, but reportedly lost his right index finger and was his left eye was injured.

Meanwhile, Antonios Matos was shot by other officers. He was arrested on scene that day.

Hector Baez Cruz, Allegra Martinez and Erianiss Murillo were reportedly able to get away, but Baez Cruz was arrested a few weeks later. Martinez and Murillo were allegedly linked to the robbery by cell phone records.

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November 24, 2011

Drug Counselor Charged in Cambridge with Court Cost Scam

skinner.jpgA man who worked as a substance abuse counselor was charged in Cambridge District Court this past week on Massachusetts Theft Crimes Charges for allegedly attempting to scam clients by promising a reduction in their criminal charges in exchange for a "court fee".

Greg Skinner was arraigned in Cambridge District Court this week on charges of Larceny Over $250 by False Pretenses.

The Middlesex District Attorney's Office alleges that Skinner, in his role as a drug counselor, tried to persuade client he was counseling to pay him a hefty "court fee", and that he, in exchange would arrange so that their criminal charges would be reduced. He would allegedly tell client that he had connections to the court's Probation Department and that the charges would be reduced for a fee of $2,750.

This month, prosecutors allege that he attempted to obtain this ridiculous 'court fee' from a current client. The client, however, along with his parents, reported him to the Massachusetts State Police, who then arranged a sting operation to confirm the allegations. Thereafter, an undercover state trooper, posing as the client's mother, allegedly met with Skinner and provided him with the requested $2,750. Once the money was exchanged, Skinner allegedly stated that he had already taken care of the charges.

In reality, the Probation Department really has no leverage, aside from making a strong recommendation, to have anyone's charges reduced or dismissed. Ultimately, any decision to reduce someone's charges must either come from the District Attorney's Office, or upon motion by the defendant directly to the Judge who will ultimately decide whether or not the charges should and/or can be reduced.

The Massachusetts Theft Crime of Larceny from the Person Over $250 is a felony which carries a potential penalty of up to 5 years in state prison.

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November 18, 2011

Boston Man Charged with Sexual Assault on Woman in Cambridge Park

A Boston man was arrested by Cambridge Police earlier this week on Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges in connection with an alleged sexual assault on a woman near the Cambridgeside Galleria in Cambridge.

Cambridge Police have arrested Elisee Myrthil, 27, of Hyde Park, and have charged him with Assault with Intent to Rape.

According to police, Myrthil allegedly approached the woman from behind at Canal Park in Cambridge. It is alleged that he pushed her to the ground and attempted to sexually assault her. Myrthil was allegedly identified following review of surveillance video that purportedly captured the incident.

The Massachusetts Sex Crime of Assault with Intent to Commit Rape is defined as an assault with the intent to then engage in sexual intercourse without the consent of the other person.

Assault to Rape is a felony in Massachusetts, which is punishable by commitment to state prison for any term of years, up to life imprisonment. Additionally, as with most Massachusetts Sex Crimes, a person convicted of this crime will likely also face other collateral consequences, including Sex Offender Registration; and could dal so be subject to Community Parole Supervision for life and/or may also be civilly committed as a "sexaully dangerous person."

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November 17, 2011

Boston Firefighter Charged with Violating Restraining Order Against Police Officer

A Boston firefighter was arraigned this week in West Roxbury District Court on charges of Violation of a Restraining Order, Threat to Kill, and Intimidation of a Witnesses.

It is alleged that a Michael Costello, of Hyde Park, had been the subject of a restraining order taken out against him by a Boston Police Officer. According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Costello allegedly told another officer that he planned to kill the officer who had taken out the restraining order in Quincy District Court.

Following his arraignment, Michael Costello was held on $1,000 police, but was held without bail after his Quincy bail was revoked.

The Massachusetts Crime of Violation of a Restraining Order is a felony which is punishable by up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections. In order to be convicted of this crime, the prosecutor would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:

  1. A court has issued an order prohibiting the defendant from abusing or contacting the person;

  2. The order was in effect on the date when the alleged violation occurred;

  3. The defendant had notice of the terms of the order then in effect; and

  4. That the defendant violated that order.
In cases such as these, where the alleged threat was communicated to a third party, the government will have the additional task of proving that the defendant intended the alleged threat to be communicated to the victim.

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November 14, 2011

Weymouth Teen Arraigned in Quincy for Triple Murder

donald rudolph.jpgDonald Rudolph, arrested on Massachusetts Murder Charges, was arraigned in Quincy District Court this morning for allegedly killing his mother, Paula Rudolph, her boyfriend, Frederick Medina; and his sister, Caylin Rudolph.

Rudolph was arraigned on 3 counts of 1st Degree Murder and 3 counts of Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.

According to the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, Donald Rudolph allegedly stabbed Frederick Medina to death, cut his throat and then stuffed a baby doll in his mouth. He also allegedly stabbed his sister, Caylin Rudolph, several times; and allegedly beat his mother to death.

Weymouth Police Officers were called to the family's home last Thursday night after neighbors called police. On arrival, police officers reportedly observed Donald Rudolph to be covered in blood and hiding in the basement. He also allegedly told police "I fucked will see when you go inside the house."

Following his arraignment in Quincy District Court on Murder Charges, Donald Rudolph was held without bail and sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a mental competency evaluation.

In Massachusetts, competency evaluations are conducted where there is a question of whether the defendant charged has the mental capacity to participate and assist his attorney in his legal proceedings. If, after evaluation, the court makes a determination that the defendant is not competent, i.e., unable to comprehend the legal proceedings against him and/or that he is unable to help in his defense, then he will be found incompetent.

Under Massachusetts case law, the standard is whether the defendant sufficiently "has the present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding - and whether he has a rational as well as factual understanding of the proceedings against him".

Notably, there is a legal difference between a defend who is found incompetent to stand trial and one who asserts an Insanity Defense. Whereas competency is relative to the defendant's state of mind at trial or during the criminal proceedings; insanity refers to his state of mind at the time of the alleged crime.

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November 13, 2011

2 Brothers Charged in Stoughton with Robbing 30 Dunkin' Donuts in Massachusetts

The Boston Globe reported that Canton Police arrested 2 brothers, one from Dorchester and the other from Quincy, with Massachusetts Theft Crimes Charges in connection with the robberies of at least 30 Dunkin Donuts across Massachusetts.

Canton Police arrested Peter Wallace, of Dorchester, and Wayne Wallace, of Quincy, were arraigned in Stoughton District Court on theft charges including Breaking & Entering in the Nighttime to Commit a Felony; Malicious Destruction of Property and Unlawful Possession of Burglarious Tools.

According to the Canton Police Department, the two brothers were arrested in Canton after officers reportedly responded to an alarm at a Dunkin' Donuts in Canton. The police alleged that responded officers allegedly observed the two brothers taking off their masks and then allegedly attempted to run away.

After chasing them onto I-93 and pulling their car over, Canton Police allege that the two men had evidence in their car, including a crowbar, sledgehammer and screwdriver.

Authorities believe that the Wallace brothers are responsible for at least 30 Dunkin' Donuts robberies, including those in Boston, Wellesley, Quincy and Braintree.

The Massachusetts Theft Crime of Breaking & Entering in the Nighttime is a felony punishable by up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections or up to 20 years in state prison. In order to be convicted of Breaking & Entering in the Nighttime, the government has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:

  1. The defendant broke into a building;

  2. The defendant entered that building;

  3. With the intent to commit a felony; and

  4. Which took place in the nighttime.
Under Massachusetts law, a "breaking" is defined as any physical force, no matter how slight, to forcible remove an object in order to gain entry. Believe it or not, even opening an unlocked door or going through an open window is considered a "breaking".

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November 10, 2011

Massachusetts Man Charged with Rape and Attempted Murder

A Massachusetts man was in court in Bourne this past week on Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges, answering to allegations that he raped and attempted to murder a woman on Cape Cod.

James Pearson, 42, was arrested and charged with Rape and Attempted Murder.

According to the Bourne Police Department, Pearson and the unidentified woman were in an apartment and a neighbor reportedly heard an assault. The woman then reportedly ran to the neighbors apartment door and stated she had been thrown down and kicked in the head several times.

Bourne Police officers allege that James Pearson ran away and initiated a chase through the woods and along the Cape Cod Canal. At his arraignment on these charges, Pearson denied that he ever raped, let alone assaulted, the woman and that it was only an argument.

The Massachusetts Sex Crime of Rape is punishable in state prison for a term of up 20 years. A conviction for rape, however, also subjects the offender to Sex Offender Registration and possibly civil commitment as a 'sexually dangerous person'.

Following his arraignment in Bourne District Court on these sex crimes charges, Pearson was held without bail.

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November 9, 2011

Protester at Occupy Boston Arrested on Drug Charges

Adam Brisbois, 28, of Boston, was arrested at the South Station on Massachusetts Drug Crimes Charges yesterday after allegedly selling pills to undercover Boston Police officers.

Brisbois, who was reportedly living at the Occupy Boston camp in Dewey Square, allegedly sold clonodine pills to undercover Boston officers in a bathroom at the South Station bus terminal.

He was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs and is scheduled to be arraigned in Boston Municipal Court this morning.

According to the Boston Police Department, there has been an increase in "drug activity" near the Occupy Boston / South Station area.

The Massachusetts Drug Crime of Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance criminalizes the distribution and/or possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and is punishable by imprisonment for up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections or up to 10 years in state prison.

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November 8, 2011

Boston Man Arrested on Weak Gun Charges

A 26 year old Boston man was arrested this past weekend in Dorchester on Massachusetts Gun Crimes Charges for allegedly carrying a loaded AK-47 assault rifle and allegedly firing a shot into the ground.

Mohamed Ali Bile, of Dorchester, was arrested by Boston Police officers and charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm; Unlawful Possession of Ammunition; Carrying a Loaded Firearm; and Unlawful Possession of a Large Capacity Firearm.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Boston Police Officers responded to an area in Dorchester for a report of "a black man wearing a black hooded sweatshirt" who had allegedly fired a shot into the ground. Police officers who responded allegedly encountered Bile, who allegedly ran away from the police and jumped fences through several backyards.

Upon his arrest, Mohamed Ali Bile denied that he ever possessed any firearms and allegedly stated that he was running because he thought that someone was trying to shoot at him.

Despite what may appear, according to reports, to be an open and shut case for the government, the reality is that prosecutors will have an uphill proving to a jury that it was Bile who actually possessed weapon and it was he who actually fired the weapon. After all, it does not appear that any witness would be able to identity Bile as the person who possessed the gun; and the police officers never saw him possess/fire the weapon. If the only evidence of 'consciousness of guilt' is that he allegedly 'fled', then any valid reason presented to a jury might arguably persuade them that there is, in fact, reasonable doubt...

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