October 11, 2011

Boston Police Target Convenience Store Owner for Selling 'Drug Paraphernalia'

The Boston Police Department and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino recently announced that they are targeting convenience store owners, primarily in Roxbury, who allegedly sell drug paraphernalia, such as "crack pipe kits", and charging them with violating the Massachusetts Drug Crimes Laws.

The investigation was reportedly initiated after complaints from the neighborhood that the stores selling these items would attract too many drug users and addicts.

In all, the Boston Police Department reportedly focused their attention on 14 locations and seized various items the store owners were selling to customers, including 'crack kits', illegal poker machines, Viagra pills, glass smoking pipes, and other items that drug users can allegedly use to support their habit.

14 store owner will reportedly be summonsed and charged with violating the Massachusetts Drugs Laws.

What is interesting about this case is that it appears many of the items that were reportedly being sold are not, in and of themselves, illegal. An item, for example, that could be used for legal purposes and sold lawfully, is now considered to be 'drug paraphernalia' by the Boston Police, subjecting these store owners to arrest and prosecution.

But the question that will inevitably be posed in most, if not all, of these cases, if it's legal to sell the item, then how can the proprietor be prosecuted criminally where it's the buyer who then elects to use the item for unlawful purposes?

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October 3, 2011

Boston Man Indicted on Sex Crimes Charges

Norman Barnes, 28, was indicted by a special grand jury on violation of Massachusetts Sex Crimes for his alleged involvement in forcing underage women into prostitution.

Barnes is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow in Boston's Suffolk Superior Court on various sex crimes charges, including 10 indictments charging Deriving Support from Prostitution; Statutory Rape; and Dissemination of Obscene Material.

Norman Barnes was arrested on May 19 when one of the young ladies was located by her family at a motel. Massachusetts State Police arrested Barnes that evening at the motel, also seizing almost $20,000 in cash along with a key to the room where he was allegedly staying with a 15 year old girl.

According to the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office, the charges against Norman Barnes allege that he forced two underage women, ages 15 and 16, to engage in prostitution and then collected the profits. It is also alleged that he took photos of the two girl to post on the internet, offering their services for a fee.

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October 1, 2011

Boston Woman Arrested for Stabbing Boyfriend

Angel Haywood, 26, of Boston's Dorchester section, was arrested this weekend on Massachusetts Crimes of Violence Charges for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend.

Haywood is was charged with Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon after she turned herself into the police station and admitting to stabbing her boyfriend.

According to the Boston Police Department, the incident occurred at about 4:00 o'clock this morning after the couple returned home. Haywood allegedly admitted to grabbing two knives and then stabbing her boyfriend, after which she jumped out a window and ran - with the stabbed boyfriend chasing her.

Boston Police spokesperson reported that when Angel Haywood turned herself in, she was crying and her clothes were bloodstained.

Although police searched the apartment and reportedly recovered two knives, the boyfriend who was stabbed has apparently not been located.

In Massachusetts, Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon is punishable by imprisonment to the House of Corrections for up to 2.5 years; or to state prison for up to 10 years. Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon is defined as an intentional touching of another person, no matter how slight, with a dangerous weapon.

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September 30, 2011

Massachusetts Woman Reported Being Raped After Facebook Encounter

A Massachusetts woman reported this week that she was allegedly raped after meeting a man on Facebook at an Andover hotel. David Rodriguez has been charged in connection with this alleged incident with several Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges.

According to police, the woman replied to a request for a modeling agency. At the hotel, the woman was allegedly given a drink that was believed to be spiked and ultimately made her feel dizzy. Although the woman reportedly refused to take off all her clothes, she did agree to model lingerie for the man. After taking several photos, however, the man allegedly raped her.

David Rodriguez, who was arrested in New Jersey, has been arraigned in Lawrence District Court on charges of Rape and Assault and Battery. Following his arraignment, he was held on $100,000 cash bail.

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September 27, 2011

Latest Massachusetts Armored Car Robbery Believed to be "Inside Job"

Three men, two of which were employees of the armored car company, were arrested this week on Massachusetts Robbery Charges in connection with Monday's armored car robbery in Methuen: Eliezer Martinez, 26, and Jose Salazar Vasquez, 21, both from Lawrence; and Justin Levesque.

Methuen Police and Boston FBI reported that the men, two of which are employees of the armored car company, that they were working a transaction shortly after 3:00 p.m. when they were approached by a man with a gun and ordered back into the armored car where they were robbed.

The Essex County District Attorney's Office, however, reported that the armored car guards allegedly gave conflicting stories, purportedly not getting straight the description of the alleged robber.

Although police allegedly did recover cash, a gun and duct tape, there is no confirmation as of yet how much of the approximately $380,000 that was allegedly stolen was recovered.

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September 26, 2011

Randolph Man Charged with Drug Dealing in Quincy

Destin Jean, 22 of Randolph, was arraigned in Quincy District Court this morning on several Massachusetts Drug Crimes Charges, including Drug Trafficking.

He had also previously been charged in Quincy on Gun Crimes Charges as well as Larceny of a Motor Vehicle and Leaving the Scene of an Accident.

According to the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office, Destin Jean was arrested following the execution of a search warrant after he had reportedly been the subject of a 'month long investigation' of alleged drug crimes.

In many types of these 'investigation' cases, police officers often typically engage confidential informants to purportedly conduct a few 'controlled drug buys' from a person suspected of dealing in narcotics from their home or other residence. Often times, the police themselves never enter into the home but rely almost exclusively on the representations of these 'confidential informants'.

The confidential informants, meanwhile, are most often individuals who themselves have gotten or sometimes are currently in trouble with the police, and offer to provide information for lenient treatment in their present (or sometimes anticipated future) criminal matters.

In applying for the Search Warrant, the police almost never reveal the true identity of the confidential informant, but rather refer to him/her by code name, for instance, CI12, or "AJAX". Ultimately, once the warrant is executed, the police hope to find evidence of criminal conduct and be able to establish a direct link to that criminal conduct to the person targeted in the investigations.

Sometimes, however, the government's case could turn out to be a 'dud', particularly if the person arrested did not reside in the own; had no personal belongings within that might establish his residence there; had no independent access to the home without another person; had not previously been seen at or near the home; or if several or more persons could have also had access to the alleged criminal instrumentalities seized.

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September 24, 2011

Boston Man Arraigned in Murder of Rockland Mother

Orlando Kavanaugh, 28 from Boston, was arraigned in Brockton's Plymouth County Superior Court on several Massachusetts Crimes of Violence Charges and Gun Crimes in connection with the death of Tina Gonsalves.

Kavanaugh has been charged with First Degree Murder; Armed Home Invasion; Armed Assault to Murder; Assault with a Dangerous Weapon; Unlawful Possession of a Firearm; and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition.

According to the Plymouth County District Attorney's Office, Orlando Kavanaugh allegedly broke into Tina Gonsalves' Rockland apartment by breaking a window and then unlocking the back door. At some point during the unlawful entry, Gonsalves reportedly confronted and struggled with Kavanaugh, during which the handgun Kavanaugh allegedly was carrying went off, striking Gonsalves in the stomach. She later died of her wound at a Weymouth Hospital.

Afterwards, prosecutors allege that Kavanaugh ran to a waiting car outside, but not before he was also shot in the shoulder by Gonsalves' son, who had his own firearm.

Police reportedly recovered Kavanaugh's hooded sweatshirt from the scene, and also obtained video surveillance footage from a Brockton Hospital where he was dropped off to be treated for his own gunshot wound. The video footage reportedly also captured the alleged 'getaway vehicle', though it's not clear if anyone else has been charged or even arrested in connection with this incident.

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September 22, 2011

Boston Man Arrested for Murder of Elderly Neighbor

Adam J. Cassino, 25, of South Boston, was arrested on Murder Charges by Boston Police today and charged in connection with the beating death of his 65 year old neighbor, Barbara Tagen.

Cassino was arraigned today in South Boston District Court and charged with First Degree Murder.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Adam J. Cassino beat his neighbor in her apartment this past August, and that forensic evidence, including witnesses, allegedly link him to the murder.

Although the motive for the Murder is unclear, prosecutors allege that Tagen had accused Cassino of stealing from her in the past, and that this incident may have also been a robbery that preceded the beating death.

Boston Police also reported searched Cassino's home and allegedly seized an unidentified object that they believe contains forensic evidence, suggest it may have been the weapon used to beat Tagen.

Following his arraignment in South Boston District Court on First Degree Murder Charges, Cassino was held without bail.

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September 19, 2011

Boston Man Arrested in String of Dorchester Assaults on Women

Walter Mains, 31, was arrested by Boston Police Officers on Massachusetts Violence Crimes Charges in connection with three separate alleged assaults, all involving women.

Mains was arraigned this afternoon in the Boston Municipal Court on charges including Assault with a Dangerous Weapon; Accosting a Person of the Opposite Sex; Armed Robbery; Assault with Intent to Rape; and Indecent Assault and Battery.

According to Boston Police, Mains allegedly assaulted one woman with a gun; and in a separate incident, allegedly assaulted another woman, again with a gun and tried to rape her. Both assaults allegedly occurred in the Dorchester section of Boston.

Meanwhile, Boston Police are also reportedly a third incident they believe Mains was responsible for, again involving the alleged sexual assault of another woman.

Following his arraignment in the Boston Municipal Court, Walter Mains was held on $50,000 cash bail.

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September 16, 2011

Lowell Man Charged with Attempted Murder in Home Invasion

burns.jpgDaniel Burns, 26, was arraigned in Lowell District Court yesterday morning on several Massachusetts Crimes of Violence Charges in connection with allegedly attacking Brenda Finch Wednesday morning at her home.

Burns was charged with Attempted Murder, Armed Assault with Intent to Commit Murder, Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, and Breaking & Entering in the Daytime to Commit a Felony.

According to the Lowell Police Department, Daniel Burns allegedly broke into the Lowell home Brenda Finch after she returned from taking her 4 year old child to preschool. She described to police that she noticed one of the windows in her home was up and then began searching the home.

When she came upstairs, she reported that a man snuck up on her from behind. Lowell Police allege that Daniel Burns, the man allegedly inside the home, then his Brenda Finch with a pipe and tried to strangle her before leaving.

Daniel Burns was arrested at his home in Lowell, though there is no report as to how Burns was linked to the crime.

Assault with Intent to Murder or Kill is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years in state prison, though it is not necessarily an easy crime for the prosecution to prove because the jury must find that the defendant possessed a "specific or actual intent to cause the death of the person assaulted."

This means that there must be proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant actually intended to cause the death of the person. Massachusetts criminal law defines "intent" as involving concentration or focusing the mind for some period of time with determination to commit the act and cause the death of the person.

Conversely, an intent merely to disable or scare off, for example, is not sufficient to sustain the conviction of someone for the crime of Assault with Intent to Murder or Kill; nor is it enough merely to intend to inflict serious bodily injury.

Following his arraignment on yesterday in Lowell District Court, Daniel Burns was held without bail pending a Dangerousness Hearing.

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September 14, 2011

Former Boston Red Sox Player Manny Ramirez Arrested for Assault & Battery

ramirez.jpgManny Ramirez, formerly outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, was arrested this morning at his home Florida home on Domestic Violence Charges agains his wife, Juliana Ramirez. He was expected to be arraigned this morning charges of Assault & Battery.

According to the police, Juliana Ramirez alleged that Manny Ramirez hit her with an open hand with enough force to cause her head to hit the headboard of the bed. Police also reported observing visible injuries on Ms. Ramirez' face, noting that it was red and swollen, and also had a bump on the back of her head.

The former Boston Red Sox player denied the allegations.

Assault & Battery in Massachusetts carries a potential penalty of up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections. In order to be convicted of Assault & Battery, the prosecutor has the burden of proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused intentionally committed a touching, however slight; that the touching was harmful or offensive; and was committed without justification or excuse.

In many Domestic Violence Cases in Massachusetts, alleged victims of these crimes may also seek to obtain Restraining Orders against the person they claim assaulted them. Restraining Orders are often issued by a judge in the Massachusetts District Courts or the Family Court.

With regard to the issuance of an Emergency Restraining Order, the standard is relatively low, and in many cases, is too easily issued upon the application of the person seeking it. Once an emergency Restraining Order is issued, the defendant would be served but would then be afforded a hearing in order to contest the order, typically 14-15 days following its issuance.

Once a Restraining Order is issued, there could also be many collateral consequences. For example, the order prohibit the person from returning to his/her home; from seeing his/her children; or even include an order to pay temporary child support.

Additionally, if a person violated the terms of a Restraining Order, he/she could also be charged with the additional crime of Violation of Abuse Prevention Order, which carries a penalty of up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections.

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September 13, 2011

Beverly Woman Charged with Boston Arson and Attempted Murder

Syretta Copeland, 31, was arraigned this morning in Salem District Court for Assault & Battery on a Police Officer, and is also being held in connection with Arson and Attempted Murder Charges arising out of a Dorchester fire last weekend.

According to Beverly Police, Syretta Copeland was arrested at her apartment on an outstanding Boston Police Warrant. Once at the police station, the Essex County District Attorney's Office alleges that she allegedly became combative during the booking process when she was asked to remove her jewelry. According to police, she allegedly clawed at the officer's face. Syretta Copeland, however, maintains that she only acted in self-defense as a result of the excessive force used against her by the police.

Meanwhile, Boston Police allege that Syretta Copeland allegedly set the fire to a home on Devon Street in Dorchester, which then spread to another home. Suffolk County prosecutors expect Ms. Copeland to be brought into Dorchester District Court at some point to be formally arraigned on Arson and Attempted Murder Charges.

The Massachusetts Crime of Arson is defined as the willful and malicious burning of a building or dwelling, and is punishable by up to 20 years in state prison.

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September 10, 2011

Roxbury Teen Charged with Shooting at Boston Police Officers

shooting.jpgTyre Wade, 19, was arrested this past week and charged with Massachusetts Gun Crimes Charges for allegedly carrying and shooting at Boston Police Officers. He was charged with Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, and Unlawful Possession of Ammunition.

According to the Boston Police Department, officers were in Roxbury this past week looking for what they described as "gang members known to have outstanding warrants." At a residence on Slayton Way, police came across several individuals, who allegedly fled upon the arrival of police officers.

One of the men, Tyre Wade, allegedly reached into his waist and pulled out a gun, which then discharged. He was eventually taken in custody and was subsequently arraigned in the Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court on Gun Charges.

What is unclear is whether Tyre Wade was one of the men believed to have an outstanding default warrant. If not, then Tyre Wade may have have a viable defense in his case in challenging his Search & Seizure.

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September 8, 2011

Saugus Man Charged with Massachusetts Child Rape Charges

Sergio Donatelli, 37, of Woburn, was arrested by Saugus Police on Massachusetts Sex Crimes charges involving allegations of the rape of a child. He has been charged with Rape of a Child, Distribution of Child Pornography, and Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Over 14.

The crime of Rape of a Child involves the forced sexual intercourse with a child under 16, which is punishable with imprisonment to state prison for any term of years, up to life.

As with most Massachusetts Sex Crimes, a conviction for this sex offense would require the person to become subject to Sex Offender Registration; submit his/her DNA to the state database, and could even subject the person to a term of parole supervision for life.

Because of the tremendously severe consequences involved, it is critical that anyone charged with a Sex Crime in Massachusetts consult with a competent sex crimes lawyer. Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation.

Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Sex Crimes Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

September 7, 2011

Two Boston Men Charged with Intimidating Witness in South End Murder

Derrick Hunt, 21 of Roxbury, and Jose Maysonet, 19, of Boston, were both arraigned this morning in Boston Municipal Court on charges of Intimidation of a Witness in connection with the Murder of Alex Sierra, 18.

Sierra was shot this past weekend in Boston's South End, allegedly by Ricardo Arias. According to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Hunt and Maysonet, friends of Arias, allegedly threatened a witness prior to Arias' arraignment.

In Massachusetts, the crime of Intimidation of a Witness is defined as the attempt to influence or intimidate a witness or to interfere with a criminal investigation. The potential penalty upon conviction for this crime is for any term up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections; or up to 10 years in state prison.

Intimidation of a Witness was specifically passed to encompass a wide variety of acts that may be interpreted to influence any stage of a criminal proceeding. In recent years, for example, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has defined intimidation as included even pointing a cell phone camera at a witness waiting to testify.

In recent years, prosecutors are more frequently using this statute to charge persons with Intimidation of a Witness if they are interviewed and either lie or mislead police in their criminal investigation.

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