December 8, 2010

Two Men Arrested for Drug Trafficking on Route 114 in Lawrence


cocaine.jpgDennis King and Raymond Swanson, both of North Andover, were arrested today in Drug Charges after their car was stopped by Massachusetts State Police on Route 114 in Lawrence today.

The car, which was a rental from Lowell, was stopped for speeding. A later search of the car revealed over 30 grams of cocaine. Both men have been charged with Drug Trafficking in Cocaine, Conspiracy to Violate the Drug Laws; Drug Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon and were scheduled to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court this morning.

Drug Trafficking:
In Massachusetts, the crime of Drug Trafficking involves the knowing or intentional manufacture, distribution or possession with the intent to distribute certain net weights of controlled substances.

Drug Trafficking carries extremely serious penalties, which vary depending on the 'weight' of the drugs seized. For example, someone charged with Trafficking between 28 to 100 grams of cocaine could face anywhere from a minimum of 5 years, to a maximum of 20 years in state prison.

Constitutional Issues in Drug Cases:
In cases involving the Search & Seizure of drugs, whether from your car or home, raises serious constitutional issues that should, at the very least be explored, if not litigated.

When charged with the crime involving the unlawful possession of drugs, whether the search and ultimate seizure of the drugs was valid should be challenged to ensure that the officers had the requisite 'reasonable suspicion' or 'probable cause' to seize the items and make the arrest.

The 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights prohibits the police or government from searching your body, home, vehicle or property unless they have:

  1. At the very least, 'reasonable suspicion' to believe that you have engaged in the unlawful or illegal activity; or

  2. Secured a Search Warrant specifically delineating the place to be searched and the evidence that they are searching for.

In this context, even if you have been arrested for a Drug Crime, not all hope is lost. They police may have exceeded their Constitutional bounds and violated your Right to be Free from Unlawful Searches and Seizures. If so, you should challenge the seizure and seek to have the drugs suppressed or excluded from the criminal prosecution against you!

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December 7, 2010

Two Dorchester Girls Charged in Framingham Robbery


zapata.jpgTwo teenage girls, both from Dorchester, were arrested after breaking into a Framingham apartment this past Sunday. Luz Zapata, 18, along with a 14 year old juvenile girl, both allegedly admitted breaking into the Framingham apartment.

Both girls were discovered to have broken into the apartment when one of the residents arrived. Zapata was allegedly found to be in the apartment, while the other girl was apparently acting as a lookout. When confronted, the two girls got into a taxi and left.

The resident then then followed the taxi while calling the Framingham Police Department, and the police arrested the girls as they were found sitting in the taxi at a train station. Both girl initially denied stealing anything, but a later search revealed an iPod and charger that was reported missing from the apartment.

Both girls were charged with Breaking & Entering in the Daytime With Intent to Commit a Felony and Larceny Over $250.

Zapata was arraigned in Framingham District Cout and held on $500 cash bail. She also had an outstanding warrant against her person out of Boston Municipal Court. The 14 year old juvenile was arraigned in Framingham Juvenile Court.

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December 6, 2010

Ninth Drunk Driving Charge for Rhode Island Man


fd2859_perry.jpgVernon Perry, of Rhode Island, was arrested in Massachusetts this past Saturday and charged with his ninth (9th) Drunk Driving Charge.

Perry was arraigned in Tauton District Court this morning and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Subsequent Offense, as well as Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle. Following his arraignment, he was held without bail pending a Dangerousness Hearing.

In Massachusetts, a conviction for a 5th or subsequent Drunk Driving charge carries up to 5 years in state prison.

According to the Bristol County District Attorney's Office, Perry was driving erratically, and the vehicle was drifting back and forth over the double yellow line. The Taunton Police Officer that stopped Perry's car claimed he observed his eyes glassy and red; and that it took him four attempts to get his license out of his wallet.

Perry was also asked to perform Field Sobriety Tests, which he failed; and he refused to submit to a Breathalyzer Test.

Should I Take the Breathalyzer Test?
If ever pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving in Massachusetts, you should know that the legal limit for Blood-Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08, which is relatively low.

Although police officers are supposed to tell you, they may (intentionally?) omit to tell you that you have the right to refuse to submit to a Breathalyzer Test. Although there will be a mandatory loss of your Driver's License if you do refuse to take the Breathalyzer Test (how long depends if you've previously been convicted and/or requested to take a BAC test), you should carefully weigh any loss of your Driver's License against the likelihood of providing greater evidence against you in the inevitable criminal prosecution.

For example, in cases where you know you would blow a BAC reading greater than 0.08, you might decide to refuse the Breathalyzer test with the hope of all other evidence against you being week, and hopefully beating your drunk driving case.

If you elect not to submit to a Breathalyzer Test, you should know that a refusal cannot be used at trial in the criminal prosecution against you.

In Massachusetts, the length of suspension of your Driver's License due to a Breathalyzer Refusal depends on whether you have any prior convictions or prior refusals to Breathalyzer Tests. If none, your license will be suspended for 180 days; with two priors, it will be suspended for 5 years; and with three prior, you could face a lifetime loss of your Driver's License.

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December 1, 2010

Regis College Murder Suspect Arraigned, Granted Bail


Robenson Daniel-thumb-250x187.jpgRobenson Daniel, who was arrested in September for the Murder of Elhaji Malick Ndiaye, 18, of Waltham, was arraigned yesterday in Middlesex Superior Court and charged with Murder, Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Armed Assault with Intent to Murder.

According to the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office and Waltham Police Department, Daniel allegedly stabbed Ndiaye to death in the parking lot of Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. The men, who did not appear to know one another, were reportedly visiting friends who attended the school.

Robenson Daniel was charged with ther Murder of Ndiaye, as well as for trying to stab two others. Following his arraignment, Daniel was held on $750,000 bail.

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November 28, 2010

Livery Driver Held up at Gunpoint in Mattapan


The Boston Police Department reports that a livery driver, who picked up two men and was driving them to Mattapan on Saturday afternoon, ended up robbing him of $400 in cash.

The two men allegedly put what the driver believed to be a gun to the back of his head and stole his wedding band, cell phone, earrings and cash. The driver walked to Boston Police District B-3 in Dorchester and gave a description of the suspects. Boston Police Officers reportedly saw two men matching the description given by the driver and followed them to an apartment on Walk Hill Street.

Boston Police ultimately arrested Troy Fernandez, 21, and Molijah Burley, 19, both from Dorchester, and have charged them with Armed Robbery.

While pursuing Fernandez and Burley into the apartment, officers also observed a large bag of marijuana, and ended up arresting three other people for Drug Crimes. Rodney C. Haskin, 22, Phillip Henry, 24, and Sharon M. Thibeau, all of Mattapan, were all arrested and charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, Marijuana.

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November 27, 2010

Massachusetts State Police Arrest Man for Thanksgiving Day Murder in Chelsea


Dennis Bowen, 22, of Chelsea, Massachusetts, was arrested last night for allegedly stabbing to death Carlos Ramirez, also of Chelsea, on Thanksgiving Day morning this past Thursday.

According to the Chelsea Police Department, Bowen allegedly stabbed Ramirez on Broadway Street in Chelsea after some 'altercation'. At this time, there is no information as to what prompted the altercation, or how Bowen and Ramirez were known to one another.

Last evening, Bowen negotiated through his criminal attorney to turn himself in to the Chelsea Police Department after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Chelsea District Court Monday morning on Murder Charges.

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November 26, 2010

Fall River Woman Charged with Assault to Murder


Mary Huot, of Fall River, Massachusetts, is charged with Assault with Intent to Murder for allegedly driving her car into a large crowd of people.

The incident occurred last Sunday morning when Huot allegedly drove into the crowd, which resulted in injuries to three young women. According to New Bedford Police, a witness told them Huot laughed as she drove her car over the curb and gunned the gas at several people standing on the grass. Huot then allegedly left the scene of the incident.

In addition to Assault with Intent to Murder charges, Huot was also charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident with Personal Injury, and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon. She is expected back in court this Monday for a Dangerousness Hearing.

A Dangerousness Hearing is held in those cases where the crime involves a Crimes of Violence or a felony offense that has as an element the use or threat of physical force against another person and where the prosecutor asks the Judge to detain the person without bail. A defendant against whom a petition for detention is requested is entitled to a hearing, at which the Judge must find that the prosecutor has proven that 'no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any person in the community.

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November 25, 2010

Natick's Louis Vuitton Store Robbed of $30,000 of Merchandise


This past Tuesday, three men were caught trying to remove $30,000 worth of merchandise from Natick's Louis Vuitton collection while one of the men ordered an employee to remove the cash from the register.

Natick Police repsonded and arrested Duane White, 44, of Boston. The other two men, however, were able to get away and remain at large to date. According to Natick Police, most of the stolen merchandise, which consisted mostly of purses, were left by the three suspects once officers responded. The cash taken, however, was not recovered.

Duane White is to be charged with Unarmed Robbery.

Unarmed Robbery is the crime where one, not being armed with a dangerous weapon, by force and violence, robs, steals or takes from the person of another money or other property. Massachusetts punishes the crime of Unarmed Robbery with imprisonment for any term of years up to life.

In order to prove the crime of Unarmed Robbery, the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The defendant either applied actual force and violence to the victim or put him or her in fear by using threatening words or gestures;

  2. The defendant took the money or other property with the intent to steal it; and

  3. The defendant took the money or other property from the immediate control of the victim.
The actual force and violence, or assault and putting the victim in fear must be the essence of the defendant obtaining possession of the property. This is distinguished from the crime of Armed Robbery, where a dangerous weapon, such as a gun or a knife, was used to obtain the property.

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November 24, 2010

Suffolk County Prosecutors Allege Mattapan Quadruple Murder Resulted from Drug Robbery


Dwayne Moore, 33, was arraigned yesterday morning in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court, charged with four counts of First Degree Murder in connection with the Mattapan murders of four people: Levaughn Washum-Garrison, Simba Martin, Eyanna Flonory, and her 2 year old child, Amanihotep Smith.

At Moore's arraignment in Dorchester, Suffolk County prosecutors alleged that Moore conspired with Kimani Washington to rob Simba Martin, who was allegedly dealing drugs from his Mattapan home on Sutton Avenue. According to prosecutors, Moore lived with Martin at one point in 2010 after being released from state prison following a Manslaughter conviction, and therefore knew about Martin's illegal drug business, and presumably, his stash of drugs and money at his home.

On the night of the murders, September 28, Moore and Washington tried to get Martin to come out of his home, but another man, Marcus Hurd, arrived to purchase drugs of his own. At that point, Moore and Washington forced both Martin and Hurd inside at gunpoint and the two began robbing the home.

After cash, drugs and other items were taken, the two men, one woman and her child were forced out of the home naked and taken to nearby Woolson Street where they were shot multiple times. Only Marcus Hurd has survived the incident but he remains in critical condition.

The day following the murders, Kimani Washington was stopped by Boston Police driving the car that was believed to be linked to Marcus Hurd, and he was arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition. As of this date, Washington has not been charged with Murder.

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November 23, 2010

Boston's Triple Murder in Jamaica Plain Believe to be Gang-Related


same old place.jpgThis past Sunday, three young men were Murdered as a result of the gun and knife fight inside the Same Old Place Pizza shop in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Boston Police now believe that the incident was gang-related.

According to the Boston Police Department and witnesses on scene, shots were fired at around 7:30 on Sunday. An altercation that initially began with fists, led to a knife being drawn and then a gun. When Boston Police Officers responded on scene, one 21 year old man was found suffering from stab wounds; another 21 year old man and a 28 year old man both were found to have been shot. All three men were transported to Boston hospitals where they eventually succumbed to their wounds.

A fourth vicitm, a female pedestrian who happened to be in the area at the time shots were fired, was struck in the leg. She was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries where she was treated and released.

At least two of the shooting victims have been identified: one as Ariel Dume, 20, of Dorchester; the other as Johnell Cruz, of Jamaica Plain. A Boston Police spokeswoman revealed today that all three of the victims that were killed in this incident were all 'associated' in some way with gang activity.

To this date in 2010, Boston Police have recorded 70 homicides in the city, compared to only 45 by this time in 2009.

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November 22, 2010

Boston Man Arrested in Quincy Home Invasion


Jose Lorenzo, 22, of Boston, Massachusetts, was arrested in connection with a shooting and Home Invasion that occurred at a Quincy last month. The incident resulted in one man being admitted to the hospital with critical injuries.

Lorenzo is charged with Armed Assault with Intent to Murder, Assault with Intent to Rob, Home Invasion, Armed Robbery, Kidnapping, and Larceny of a Motor Vehicle.

According to the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, Lorenzo's DNA was allegedly found at the scene of the crime. A warrant for his arrest was issued shortly thereafter police discovered his DNA, and Lorenzo was arrested when you appeared to check in with his Probation Officer.

The Quincy Police Department reported that two men broke into the home. Four men were in the home at the time, but the two men were wearing bandanas to conceal their identity. The two men allegedly stole numerous flat screen TV's, cash and computers, and ultimately shot one man in the head. The men allegedly took one of the occupants hostage, later dropping him off on Dorchester Street.

Home Invasion:
Generally speaking, other than Murder and Rape, Home Invasion is considered to be one of the most serious crimes one can be charged with. Home Invasion is the crime of entering the home of another while armed with a dangerous weapon, and force or at the least the threat of force is used upon the occupants of the home. In Massachusetts, the crime of Home Invasion is punishable for 'not less than' 20 years and up to life in state prison.

In order to prove the crime of Home Invasion, the prosecutor must establish, by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that:

  1. The defendant unlawfully entered the dwelling of another;

  2. He knew or had reason to know one or more persons were person within the dwelling;

  3. He was armed with a dangerous weapon at the time of entry; and

  4. He used force or threatened the imminent use of force on any person within the dwelling house; or alternatively, caused injury to any person within the dwelling.

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November 18, 2010

Massachusetts Supreme Court Throws Out Salem Murder Conviction


In an opinion released this morning, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court today reversed the First Degree Murder conviction against Jerome McNulty, who in 2001, had been convicted of the murder of Linda Correia, 27, in her Salem bedroom.

In its decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that McNulty's right to be informed by the Salem Police Department of his criminal lawyer's attempt to provide advice to him had been violated. Consequently, it was error for the judge at his murder trial to admit into evidence McNulty's signed statement that he made to the Salem Police Department.

When an attorney representing a person held in custody makes it known to the police that he is seeking to reach his client to provide legal services, the police have an affirmative duty to inform the suspect immediately of the attorney's efforts. Even if the suspect had previously agreed to speak with the police, once the attorney makes that request, the suspect must be informed of his lawyer's efforts to reach him and the suspect's prior consent is invalid. Failure to do so results in a violation of a suspect's constitutional right to counsel.

No matter what the circumstances or the charges, no suspect or person in custody should agree to speak with the police unless they have first consulted with an attorney and have a lawyer present during any interviews.

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November 17, 2010

Witness in Boston Murder Trial Changes Testimony Again


The two men charged with First Degree Murder for the killing of 18-year old Cedirick Steele are once again on trial, for the third time. The first two trials against Antwon Carter and Daniel Pickney, Jr., resulted in mistrials: the first one resulted in a deadlocked jury; and the second was declared a mistrial largely in part because of the prosecutor's key witness, LaToya Thomas Dickson, recanted her testimony.

During the second trial of Carter and Pickney, LaToya Dickson testified that she was with the two defendants when they allegedly murdered Cedirick Steele, 18, from Roxbury, Massachusetts. During cross-examination later on in that trial, Dickson recanted that testimony and told those same jurors she wasn't with them.

According to the Boston Police Department and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Carter and Pickney allegedly drove to the Highland Street section of Roxbury with the purpose of retaliating a non-fatal shooting of an alleged gang member. The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, however, maintains that Steele was simply an innocent bystander and not associated with any gangs.

In now the third murder trial and attempt to prosecute Antwon Carter and Daniel Pickney, Jr., Dickson took the witness stand today and testified that she was with the two defendants during the murder. According to Dickson, Pickney parked his car on Norfolk Street and Carter got out of the car. Soon after, gunshots were heard and Carter then returned to the car and tapped Dickson on the arm with a silver firearm, which she said was still hot. Pickney, who was dating Dickson at the time, asked her to take the gun allegedly used in the murder to her mother's house, but she said no.

Notably, after her recantation during the second murder trial, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office charged Dickson with Perjury. Earlier this month, Dickson pled Guilty to that Perjury charge and the case is now pending for sentencing.

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November 16, 2010

Boston Man Acquitted of Rape - Released After 18 Years in Prison


Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis successfully represented a man falsely accused of raping of a woman dating back in 1988. The client had initially been indicted in 2003 with two counts of Aggravated Rape and Kidnapping. The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office alleged that the defendant had raped a woman in 1988, but no one had been charged until the defendant's DNA was linked in 2003 to the complainant's physical evidence.

Prior to his trial in 2005, the Kidnapping charge was dismissed for being beyond the Statute of Limitations; and the client proceeded to trial on both counts of Aggravated Rape.

The complainant initially reported the alleged rape in 1988. She alleged that, while she was walking down the street, a car pulled up and a man jumped out and 'snatched' her into the car, blindfolding her and putting a gun to her head. He then allegedly drove her to an unknown location; got a motel room; allegedly raped her; and then drove her back to the area from where he allegedly kidnapped her.

Notably, the complainant admitted early on that, at the time, she was a 'drug addict' and 'ran the streets' as a "chef" (cooking and preparing pure cocaine into crack for distribution by drug dealers). She was a heavily drug dependent person and admittedly smoked at every opportunity.

She was called before the Grand Jury in 2003 and again gave sworn testimony at the trial in 2005. The details of her accounts, however, changed between her initial report in 1998 to when she testified before the Grand Jury, and then again in 2005. It appeared that she had conveniently forgotten some of the most horrific details that she had reported to the police. In 2003, she had no recollection of the person who 'snatched' her having a gun; as well as no recollection of ever being blindfolded. She further had no memory of these details when she testified at the first trial in 2005. Curiously, she had somehow forgotten the most traumatic details of the alleged crime...

At the client's first trial in 2005, a jury acquitted him of both counts of Aggravated Rape, but did convict him of one count of the lesser-included charge of Rape. Following his conviction on that lone Rape charge, he was sentenced to 10-12 years in state prison. He appealed...and his conviction was thrown out for critical errors that occurred during the 2005 trial. In 2010, the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office then elected to re-try the client on the lone Rape charge.

In the meantime, however, the client had been convicted of other felony crimes, including Gun Crimes and other unrelated Sex Crimes. As such, he had been held in custody since 1992. If Attorney Travayiakis obtained an acquittal for his client, he would be released; otherwise, the client would likely spend at least another 6-8 years in prison.

The stakes were high for other reasons as well. Although the client had already been adjudicated and ordered to submit to Sex Offender Registration, another conviction for a Sex Crime would most certainly ensure civil commitment as a "sexually dangerous person" for life.

At the retrial, Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis focused his client's defense in challenging the credibility of the complainant. Did it make sense, he argued to the jury, that this woman, who admittedly worked for drug dealers and got high whenever she could, was really raped? Did it make sense that someone who was viciously raped would somehow remember intricate details such as the person having a wedding ring on and forget the most traumatic details, e.g., the person blindfolding her and putting a gun to her head?

The defense also called into the question the physical evidence from the 'Rape Kit' that was conducted at the time, i.e., the evidence did not support the complainant's allegation of a forcible rape. Under cross-examination, the prosecutor's own medical expert essentially conceded that there was no evidence of trauma or other evidence, i.e., bruising, lacerations, torn tissue, that would otherwise suggest a forced sexual assault.

Despite a very heated jury trial, which included Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis having to object an extreme amount of times for impermissible statements made during the prosecutor's closing argument, he successfully convinced a jury to acquit his client. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of NOT GUILTY as to Rape, and the client walked out of court a free man for the first time in almost 20 years.

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November 12, 2010

Two Everett Women Charged in Armed Robbery and Stabbing of Winthrop Woman


Sharnell Donahue, 31, and Diane Tuck, 51, both of Everett, Massachusetts, were each arraigned this morning in East Boston District Court for allegedly trying to rob a Winthrop woman of drugs.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Donahue, while wearing a ski mask, allegedly stabbed the 44 year old Winthrop woman in the chest after conspiring with Tuck and a teenage girl to steal her drugs.

Donahue and Tuck were both charged with Armed Assault with Intent to Rob, while Sharnell Donahue was also charged with Armed Assault to Murder and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon. Following their arraignment, each were held on $50,000 cash bail.

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