August 19, 2011

Massachusetts Judges May Not Impose GPS Monitoring Without Justification

gps.jpegIn a recent case, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decided that GPS monitoring or similar devices may not be added to a probationer as an additional condition of probation without a violation of probation where there is no material change to the defendant's circumstances.

In the Massachusetts court, probation is a legal resolution of a case that allows the defendant to be released, without incarceration, on the condition that he complies with certain conditions imposed by the sentencing judge. If, however, the defendant violates any of those conditions of probation, a judge may then revoke his probation and commit that person for up to the maximum sentence on the charge for which he was placed on probation.

Where, however, the defendant on probation has complied with his conditions of probation, a judge is then limited with modifying the terms and conditions of the persons probation [without a violation].

With regard to GPS monitoring that was not originally imposed, without a "material change" in the defendants circumstances such cannot be then imposed, as doing so would be "so punitive as to significantly increase the severity of the original probation."

In other words, even where there is no violation of probation, the defendant's conditions may be modified, but the modification may not be 'drastic' or 'severe' and must be in accordance with the underlying terms that were originally imposed and "consistent with the underlying basis for the modification".

Additionally, specifically with regard to GPS monitoring, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has acknowledged that GPS monitoring and creating 'exclusion zone' restricting the defendant from entering severely on a person's liberty so significantly that it may only be imposed after a finding of a violation of probation.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Major Felony Crimes.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Boston Criminal Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis may also be reached at

August 17, 2011

Proposed Bill Would Require Massachusetts to Register Online Screen Names

A recent effort from Massachusetts state legislators and District Attorney's Offices would put into law a bill that would require sex offenders to register their online names, including e-mail addresses, as well as their accounts on Twitter, Facebook and the like.

The proposed bill would apply to Level 3 Massachusetts Sex Offenders and is being anticipated to being heard later this month. Under the proposal, a failure to register online aliases would be a criminal offense, subjecting the offender to jail time.

The reasoning behind the proposal, according to those sponsoring the bill, is to provide law enforcement with another method of policing those sex offender deemed most 'dangerous' and likely to offend by the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board.

Currently, Level 3 Sex Offenders must register with their local police department and the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board annually. The registration includes the person disclosing his/her address; work address; if in school, the name of the school; and he/she is photographed and fingerprinted. By law, police districts across the state must share the registration information of all Level 3 Sex Offenders residing or working in their community.

The proposed law does have some precedent, although does not appear to go as far as laws in some other states, which actually prohibit and make it illegal for sex offenders to even have any social networking accounts at all.

Continue reading "Proposed Bill Would Require Massachusetts to Register Online Screen Names" »

August 15, 2011

Massachusetts Sex Offenders Get Favorable Court Ruling

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently decided the case of John Doe vs. Police Commissioner of Boston, ruling on the issue of whether a 2006 state law barring sex offenders from living in nursing homes or similar long term care facilities was constitutional. The Court ruled that it was not.

By way of background, the 2006 law passed by the Massachusetts state legislature barred Level 3 Sex Offenders from living in nursing homes, infirmaries or other homes for the elderly or developmentally disabled. Sex offenders who lived in such facilities in violation of the law were then punished with imprisonment, ranging from 30 days up to 5 years for subsequent violations.

In this case, "John Doe" had been previously convicted of Massachusetts Sex Crimes, and the Sex Offender Registry Board argued that, even at his age of 65, his criminal history and suggested a "high risk of re-offense and high degree of danger."

In the case of John Doe vs. Police Commissioner of Boston, the plaintiff in that case was a Level 3 Sex Offender who, had he been deprived the opportunity to reside in a nursing home or similar facility, would have ended up homeless.

In declaring this law unconstitutional, the Massachusetts Supreme Court reasoned that the law "presumes that all members of a class of sex offenders are dangerous to every community of rest home residents...[and] affords no opportunity for [the sex offender] to demonstrate that he represents no or a minimal danger to the community the law is intended to protect and makes no provision for the necessary balancing of the plaintiffs interest in protecting vulnerable elders from sexual assault."

Now, the Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled, sex offenders should be provided a hearing to rebut the presumption that he/she poses no or minimal risk to the community; and if denied the opportunity to reside in such a permanent facility, whether the person will likely become homeless and expose himself to harm.

Continue reading "Massachusetts Sex Offenders Get Favorable Court Ruling" »

August 11, 2011

Brighton Man Arrested for Murder After Standoff with Boston Police

brighton shooting.jpgRandy Moore, 54, was arraigned this morning in Brighton District Court on Massachusetts Murder Charges following the shooting of his 76 year old neighbor and standoff with Boston Police. Moore was charged with First Degree Murder and Armed Assault with Intent to Murder.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Randy Moore allegedly shot his 76 year old neighbor at 10:30 yesterday morning at the John J. Carroll Housing Development in Brighton where the two men lived. When Boston Police responded to the scene, Moore had reportedly barricaded himself in the building. He eventually surrendered, but not before allegedly also firing shots at responding Boston Police Officers and EMT's who were on scene.

At this time, Boston Police have not revealed any apparent motive for the shooting, and are unclear if Randy Moore even knew the victim.

According to the Boston Housing Authority which oversees the John J. Carroll Housing Development, Randy Moore had reportedly been diagnosed as a schizophrenic and had lived in the housing under as a disabled resident for several years. Boston Police also reported that, notwithstanding any mental health issues Moore may have suffered from, that he was legally licensed to possess firearms.

Continue reading "Brighton Man Arrested for Murder After Standoff with Boston Police" »

August 9, 2011

Quincy Bartender Arrested for Drug Distribution

Emily McCarthy, a bartender at Paddy Barry's Bar in Quincy, was arrested last week on Massachusetts Drug Charges after she allegedly sold pills during her shift. She was arraigned in Quincy District Court on the charge of Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs.

According to the Quincy Police Department, an officer working a detail on Hancock Street allegedly observed Emily McCarthy engage in a suspect drug transaction with a truck that had pulled up to the bar. Although the officer apparently admitted not seeing what, specifically, was exchanged, based on his 'training and experience', he believed that a drug sale had just occurred.

After the truck left, the officer requested other officers to stop the truck and during questioning about the meeting with McCarthy, the driver, John Saturno of Milton, allegedly told police that he had lent McCarthy $40. The Quincy Police, however, searched the truck and allegedly seized 100 pills of Gabapentin. Meanwhile, Emily McCarthy was approached by officers as well. She was searched and from her person police allegedly seized 12 oxycodone pills.

Based on this information, it is very apparent that officers had no reasonable suspicion or probable cause whatsoever to believe that a drug transaction had occurred. There was therefore no constitutional basis for the officer to justify any stop and search of any of the parties involved. The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees that ever person be free from warrantless searches and seizures without the requisite level of suspicion.

Accordingly, it appears that all parties who were arrested in this case have tremendously strong issues in support of challenging the Search & Seizure and the Quincy Police Department's actions in this case. If successfully on such a constitutional challenge to a violation of their rights, all the evidence in this case should be 'suppressed' or thrown out.

Continue reading "Quincy Bartender Arrested for Drug Distribution " »

August 8, 2011

Taunton Man Arraigned for 'Hit and Run' That Left Teen Dead

Paul Baran was arraigned this morning in Taunton District Court on Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crimes for allegedly striking and killing a teenager riding his skateboard last week. Baran was a charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident After Causing Death.

According to prosecutors, Paul Baran allegedly left the scene of the accident after he struck teenager Nicholas Silva-Thomas in Tauton, who was riding his skateboard with friends near Watson Pond last Thursday night.

At his arraignment, prosecutors represented that 'a tip' led the police to focus their investigation on Baran. Prosecutors argued that the police investigation revealed that Baran's vehicle was missing its windshield, and there was visible damage to the front end of his car.

In Massachusetts, the crime of Leaving the Scene of an Accident After Causing Death is punishable in jail for not less than 1 year and up to 2.5 years; or commitment to state prison for not less than 2.5 years and up to 10 years.

The purpose of this crime is obviously to impose punishment to persons who fail to identify themselves as responsible for accidents that result in death. Massachusetts law, therefore, imposes an active duty upon the driver to immediately stop at the scene and provide detailed information concerning his/her identity.

Following his arraignment in Taunton District Court this morning, Paul Baran was held on $100,000 cash bail.

Continue reading "Taunton Man Arraigned for 'Hit and Run' That Left Teen Dead" »

August 6, 2011

Boston Police Arrest Two on Gun Crimes Charges in Dorchester

gun.jpgAshawda Nelson, 19, and Noccokawon Pledger-Grant, 21, both of Dorchester, were arrested this past week on Massachusetts Gun Charges following a 'shots fired' report. Both men where charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, Carrying a Loaded Firearm, and Discharging a Firearm with 500 feet of a Dwelling.

According to the Boston Police Department, officers responded to the area of Auckland Street in Dorchester on a report of shots having been fired. The two men were reportedly observed running in the direction of the Savin Hill MBTA Station when they were apprehended. During a search of one of the men, a firearm was allegedly recovered on his person.

Despite that a gun was reportedly seized from one of the men, this strength of the prosecutions case against these men will rise and fall on whether the officers had sufficient probable to immediately arrest these men. In similar types of cases, the police will inevitably rely on witness reports and the purported identification of the men. In circumstances where the description of the purported suspects is in question, the defense may have ample grounds to challenge the constitutionality of their arrest by litigating a Motion to Suppress Evidence.

In Search and Seizure cases where the constitutionality of the seizure and arrest of the person is successfully challenged, the evidence seized, in this case the firearm and ammunition, will be deemed 'suppressed' or inadmissible. If that were to happen in this case, the prosecution would presumably have no evidence against them and would be unable to move forward in its prosecution against them.

Continue reading "Boston Police Arrest Two on Gun Crimes Charges in Dorchester" »

August 5, 2011

Massachusetts Prison Linked to 1989 Murder-Rape of Boston Woman

Charles Brook, Jr., 66, was recently indicted by the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office on Massachusetts Sex Crimes and Murder Charges in connection with the 1989 Rape and killing of an 87 Boston woman.

At his arraignment in Boston's Suffolk Superior Court, prosecutors claimed that Charles Brook allegedly sexually assaulted and strangled Zahia Salem, then 87, on November 30, 1989. Her body was found a few hours later by her downstairs neighbor. No person was charged with the crime, until Boston Police were reportedly able to match Charles Brook's DNA profile that was complied from a cigarette that was found at the scene.

Massachusetts law requires that every person convicted of a felony crime must submit their DNA sample to the state's DNA database. Because DNA technology wasn't advanced or even available years back, police departments across Massachusetts and the county are taking advantage of DNA database to link purported DNA profiles to unsolved cases.

Unfortunately, the public's perception is that DNA profiling is conclusive, reliable and 100% accurate, but that is far from the truth. The reality is that, DNA evidence can be 'reliable' as well as 'weak'. In far too many cases, even lawyers are overwhelmed by DNA evidence and often accept the state's lab tests 'conclusive' or 'unchallengeable'.

Although DNA testing relies in large part on computer-generated data, there is also a subjective component with the interpretation of test results. In those cases where the interpretation of the results, for example, may call for an ambiguous call, the state's DNA analyst will almost always weight his/her opinion in favor of the government's position.

Accordingly, the Charles Brook defense team will most certainly examine the DNA evidence in this case very closely, and seek to challenge its reliability at every level. Just as critical in a case involving DNA evidence that was recovered from evidence over 20 years ago, is whether the evidence was properly recovered, preserved, and was free from contamination.

Charles Brook, currently committed to Massachusetts State Prison on an unrelated rape conviction, was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court this past Wednesday for Rape and First Degree Murder.

Continue reading "Massachusetts Prison Linked to 1989 Murder-Rape of Boston Woman" »

August 4, 2011

Lawrence Man Arrested for Assaulting & Blinding Infant Son

Emanuel Quadros, 32, was arrested this past Tuesday on Massachusetts Domestic Violence Charges after he allegedly assaulted his 3 week old infant son. Quadros was charged with Aggravated Assault & Battery, Causing Serious Injuries.

According to the Lawrence Police Department, Emanuel Quadros allegedly admitted to striking and injuring his infant son last May, which left the child with broken ribs and permanent brain injuries resulting in blindness and possible confinement to a wheelchair.

Quadros was arraigned yesterday in Lawrence District Court and held on $75,000 cash bail.

Continue reading "Lawrence Man Arrested for Assaulting & Blinding Infant Son" »

August 3, 2011

Boston Woman Charged With Assault & Battery on 2 Year Old Child

Erica Ryan Transit police.jpgErica Ryan was arrested yesterday on Massachusetts Violent Crimes Charges after she allegedly punched her two year old son on an MBTA bus. She was arraigned this morning in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court on the charge of Aggravated Assault & Battery.

According to MBTA Police and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Erica Ryan was on an MBTA in Roxbury with her 2 year old son yesterday afternoon. After the child refused to eat what Ryan was attempting to feed him, Ryan allegedly punched the child in the mouth with a closed fist. Witnesses on the bus described Ryan as allegedly winding up and punching the child in the face with full force, causing the child's head to snap back into the stroller. Police officers who arrived on scene reportedly observed dried blood on the child's mouth.

After the alleged assault, Erica Ryan reportedly tried to get off the bus with the baby, but was confronted by other passenger who had witnesses the incident. The bus driver called the police and the other passengers held Ryan at bay until the police arrived. Suffolk County prosecutors represented that the incident was recorded on the bus' surveillance system.

Following Erica Ryan's arraignment in Roxbury District Court, she was held on $500 bail.

Continue reading "Boston Woman Charged With Assault & Battery on 2 Year Old Child" »

July 28, 2011

Boston Man Charged with Northborough Rape

Mark David Titto, III, of East Boston, was charged with several Massachusetts Sex Crimes in connection with an alleged rape and sexual assault of a woman on July 13 in a Northborough Motel 6.

Titto was arraigned in Westborough District Court on sex crimes charges of Rape, Indecent Assault & Battery, and Assault & Battery on a Disabled Person with Injury.

According to the Boston Police Department, Mark David Titto allegedly set up an online ad seeking women "with skeletons in the closet" who might be interested in appearing in a purported documentary he was filming. The woman reportedly responded to the ad and met with Titto at a Motel 6, where he allegedly raped and assaulted her. The unidentified woman is deaf, which is an aggravating factor in the charge of Assault & Battery.

After the incident, the woman apparently stopped a Boston Police Officer in Roslindale and reported the incident before being taken to be treated at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.

Following his arraigned in Westborough District Court on Sex Crimes Charges, Mark David Titto was held on $50,000 and will be subject to GPS monitoring if bail is posted.

Continue reading "Boston Man Charged with Northborough Rape" »

July 27, 2011

Natick Man Charged with Drug Crimes out of Framingham

Luis Hernandez, 41, of Natick, was arrested this past week and charged with Massachusetts Drug Crimes Violations following a 'month-long' investigation in Framingham. Hernandez was charged with Unlawful Distribution of a Controlled Substance; Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs; Conspiracy to Violate the Massachusetts Drug Laws and Resisting Arrest.

According to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, Natick Police allegedly observed Luis Hernandez engage in a drug transaction from the parking lot of his Natick apartment. Police then followed the alleged buyers, Gina Stucchi and William Roberts, to a parking lot in Framingham off Route 9 and allegedly observed them attempting to himself with cocaine or heroin. One of the passengers in the car, Maria Woods, allegedly told police they had purchased the drugs from Luis Hernandez.

Natick Police stopped Luis Hernandez sometime thereafter and he allegedly admitted to having drugs in the car, as well as drugs in a safe in his apartment. Officers then searched Hernandez' apartment and allegedly recovered cocaine and drug paraphernalia.

Seems too easy for the police doesn't it? Imagine how simple it was for everyone involved to admit their criminal culpability, make statements implicating themselves in drug dealing, while at the same time providing police with the probable cause to conduct a warrantless search of an apartment. There must be more, or less, to this story...

At the end of the day, in almost every case my clients are involved with, I almost always get the same statement from the client: "I never told the police that!" Discrepancies concerning any alleged statements are to be taken very seriously, particularly where the client/defendant denies making any statements in the first place. For that reason, I always advise clients to err on the side of caution and invoke their Right to Remain Silent or Privilege Against Self-Incrimination.

Regardless, all other persons involved in this investigation were arrested on various Drug Crimes Charges.

Continue reading "Natick Man Charged with Drug Crimes out of Framingham" »

July 26, 2011

Boston Man Arraigned for Murder of Ex-Girlfriend

Junior Fernandes, 22, of Boston's Dorchester section, was arraigned on Monday on Massachusetts Murder Charges and Gun Charges following the shooting death of his girlfriend, Alessa Castellon, last Sunday night.

Fernandes has been charged with First Degree Murder, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of a Loaded Firearm.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Junior Fernandes allegedly shot Alessa Castellon early Monday morning after the two got into an argument outside his sister's apartment on Granger Street in Dorchester.

Following his arrest by Boston Police, Fernandes allegedly told police that he met with Alessa Castellon to talk about their relationship, when she began to assault him. According to police, Fernandes allegedly stated that he tried to walk away once Castellon began hitting and punching him, but he then pulled out a gun, fired a shot, and then 'blacked out' before driving away.

Following his Murder arraignment in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court, Fernandes was held without bail.

Continue reading "Boston Man Arraigned for Murder of Ex-Girlfriend" »

July 25, 2011

Roslindale Man Charged with Murder

Laquan Miller, of Boston's Roslindale section, was arraigned this morning in West Roxbury District Court on Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the shooting death of Wilfredo Martinez, 23, on June 5.

Miller was arraigned on charges including First Degree Murder, Armed Assault with Intent to Murder, and Gun Charges including Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Carrying a Loaded Firearm.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office and Boston Police, Laquan Miller allegedly shot Wilfredo Martinez to death on June 5 near the Archdale Housing Development. Another man who was with Martinez, was also shot, but he survived his injuries after surgery at a Boston hospital.

At this time, there have been no released reports by the Boston Police with any possible motive or circumstances surrounding this incident.

Continue reading "Roslindale Man Charged with Murder" »

July 20, 2011

Boston Man Charged with 1991 Rapes in Suffolk County

Jerry Dixon, 38, has been indicted by a Suffolk County Grand Jury in Boston of several counts of Massachusetts Sex Crimes, including several indictments for Aggravated Rape stemming from three separate incidents in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain.

Dixon was reportedly linked to the three 1991 alleged sexual assaults through a CODIS ("Combined DNA Index System") hit that is essentially a DNA database maintained by the FBI. According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Dixon has allegedly been linked to these three sexual assaults after his DNA allegedly matched DNA samples that have been kept from those incidents.

Police were reportedly able to match Jerry Dixon's DNA after he was convicted of Armed Robbery. In Massachusetts, any person that is convicted of a felony offense is required by statute to submit their DNA to the Massachusetts DNA database, which in turn submits the DNA samples into the CODIS database.

Notably, however, another man, Anthony Powell, was previously tried and convicted of these three 1991 Rapes. Powell was convicted in Suffolk Superior Court in 1992 and spent 12 years in state prison before he was released after DNA technology became available and he was exonerated.

In many sexual assault cases, many people believe that simply because there is an alleged DNA match that there is no defense to the charges. That is not true. In fact, there may be several other explanations and defenses as to why a person's DNA may be found at the scene of the crime, including the defense of consent, i.e., that no alleged rape occurred at all.

As far as Jerry Dixon's case goes in his defense against the Sex Crimes of Aggravated Rape, the defense will certainly explore all the evidence that allegedly links him to these crimes, as well as any reasonable explanations as to the reasons for those links.

Continue reading "Boston Man Charged with 1991 Rapes in Suffolk County" »