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May 16, 2012

Massachusetts' Armed Career Criminal Sentencing Enhancement

Enacted in 1998, the Massachusetts Armed Career Criminal Statute, M.G.L. c. 269, section 10G, otherwise known as "ACC", imposes enhanced penalties for persons previously convicted of a "violent crime" or a "serious drug offense."

Depending on the number of prior convictions that might form the basis of an ACC enhanced indictment, a person may be indicted as an armed career criminal as a level 1, 2 or 3. ACC Level 1 provides for an additional punishment of a minimum-mandatory sentence of 3 to 15 years; Level 2 provides for 10-15 years; and Level 3 provides for a 15-20 year sentence to state prison.

But what "violent crime" is sufficient to form a basis of an enhance Armed Career Criminal indictment?

Massachusetts criminal law defines a violent crime as:

Any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year...that:
  1. has as an element the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force or a deadly weapon against the person of another;
  2. is burglary, extortion, arson or kidnapping;
  3. involves the use of explosives; or
  4. otherwise involves conduct that presents a serious risk of physical injury to another.

However, some crimes that might appear to be "violent crimes" may not qualify as a predicate "violent crime", such as the crime of Assault & Battery, which may be prosecuted under various theories. For instance, a "harmful battery" and "reckless battery" are violent crimes because they each have as an element the use of "physical force".

Another theory of Assault & Battery, however, is an "offensive battery", which does not have as an element the use of "physical force".

Especially in cases where someone is charged with an enhanced sentencing indictment such as under the Armed Career Criminal Statute, it is so critical that they are represented by an experienced Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer that knows the law well and how to apply that knowledge in the defense of his client.

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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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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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September 3, 2011

Former Boston Celtic Arrested for Disorderly Conduct

perkins.jpgKendrick Perkins, former center for the Boston Celtics, was arrested early this morning in his hometown of Texas on Disorderly Conduct charges.

According to police, officers responded to a club where a large group of men was reported to be rowdy. Although the group of men that were with Perkins reportedly tried to calm him, he became angry and allegedly tried to start a fight.

In Massachusetts, the crime of Disorderly Conduct is punishable with a fine of up to $150 for a first time offender; and up to 6 months in jail for a subsequent offense. The law prohibiting Disorderly Conduct is intended to control that conduct which disturbs the public tranquility or is aimed to alarm or provoke others. Specifically, Disorderly Conduct prohibits the following acts or conduct:

  1. The use of force or violence;

  2. Threats involving the immediate use of force or violence;

  3. Tumultuous behavior that may cause a riotous commotion and excessively unreasonable noise so as to cause a public nuisance; and

  4. Any conduct creating a hazard to public safety or a physically offensive condition by an act that serves no legitimate purpose.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for representation against all Massachusetts Misdemeanor and Major Felony Charges.

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

April 17, 2011

Suffolk D.A.'s Office Recruits Boston Globe in Campaign to Oust Massachusetts Judge

dougan.jpgSunday's Boston Globe cover story, entitled "He's the jurist defendant's covet - Judge 'Let Me Go'", unfairly portrays Boston Municipal Court Judge Raymond G. Dougan, Jr. as the most lenient judge in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and misleads the public from what the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office is trying to accomplish - an uneven playing field.

The reality is, for every Judge who may be 'defense oriented', there are 20 Judges who continue to 'prosecute from the bench'. Why doesn't the Boston Globe run a front page article about the number of cases that are dismissed in Suffolk County each year because Mr. Conley's office neglects to obtain evidence or otherwise prepare for trial? Or because police and other witnesses fail to appear? Or when prosecutor's witnesses are caught lying under oath in court? Or when prosecutor's withhold exculpatory evidence while defendant's are wrongfully detained in jail?

At the end of the day, it is a pathetic and clearly calculated campaign undertaken by the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office to remove from the judiciary any Judges that are not afraid to make truly independent rulings and without regard to whether or not they appease Mr. Dan Conley. I commend Judge Dougan for not caring whether his rulings piss off the prosecutors...I commend him for standing firm on each and every ruling he has made. The reality is, there are way too many judge's that make their rulings because they are influenced with public opinion.

One of the fundamental cornerstones of our criminal justice system is the judicial independence Judges are afforded. When the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office then makes it their mission, and if successful, to remove judges whose rulings may tend to make their prosecutions more difficult, the system will invariably be broken and constitutionally flawed.

I believe the public would be better served if the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office provided more attention to properly prosecuting their cases, rather than focusing their time and resources to remove Judge Dougan in order to help their prosecutors obtain a better conviction rate.

Mr. Dan Conley would be mindful to perhaps conduct an internal review of his own administration and correct whatever issues his office may be having, instead of attempting to create a constitutional injustice by influencing and manipulating the judiciary in his favor through a calculated media campaign.

...I'm sure if the criminal defense bar were to name individual judges who notoriously rule overwhelmingly in the prosecution's favor the Boston Globe would need to dedicate an entire section for that story. ...but oh, I forgot, when we speak about 'criminals', we should just burn that often disregarded piece of paper called the Constitution, skip arraignment and trials, and just impose the death penalty on everyone?

....we seem to forget that little known Constitutional right that everyone is 'presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt'. Sure, you may not be a hardened criminal with a 6 page record and have a hobby of robbing banks - but wait until you leave a restaurant with your family one night and get arrested for a DUI after having a glass of wine - suddenly you feel the police officers are overzealous, the system is corrupt, out to get you, and attorneys like myself are your best and only friend...

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis can be reached at 617-325-9500.

April 12, 2011

Massachusetts Police Officer Under FBI Investigation for Bribery and Obstruction of Justice

todd randall.jpgRevere Police Officer Todd P. Randall, was charged in Boston's Federal Court with Obstruction of Justice and Bribery.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Boston FBI office, Revere Police Officer Randall allegedly lied to FBI agents when questioned about a conversation he had with an FBI informant. The informant disclosed that Officer Randall, while on duty and with his Revere Police vehicle, drove to the informant's home and accepted a bribe of $200 to help fix or influence a pending criminal case of the informant's friends that was pending in Chelsea District Court.

Federal agents further allege that, when confronted, Officer Randall denied ever knowing or meeting the informant or friend. The FBI agents, however, had videotaped the Revere police officer in the act of taking the money and accepted the bribe.

The Revere Police Department, whose officers it appears have repeatedly been under FBI investigation for various corruption allegations, are reportedly being cooperative with the federal investigation involving Officer Randall.

If convicted of Obstruction of Justice, Officer Randall faces up to five years in federal prison.

Boston Criminal Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Misdemeanor and Felony Crimes.

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

January 21, 2011

Revere Mental Health Patient Arrest for Murder of Peabody Woman

Deshawn James Chappell, 27, was arrested last night by Boston Police Officers at his grandmother's apartment in Roxbury for the Revere Murder of Stephanie Moulton, 25, of Peabody, Massachusetts.

Moulton was a counselor at a Revere group home that was operated under the Suffolk Mental Health Association (which is contracted by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health) where Chappel was a resident. According to Revere Police, Boston Police and the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office, Moulton was allegedly attacked by Chappell and taken from the group home sometime yesterday. Later on in the evening, her body was found behind the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Lynn.

At this time, no information has been released as to specific details regarding the murder, but authorities believe that, at the time of the incident, Moulton was likely the only employee at the group home at the time. Police have indicated, however, that the murder most likely occurred inside the Revere group home, as blood and other forensic evidence was located.

Chappell was arraigned on Massachusetts Murder Charges this morning in the Chelsea Division of the Boston Municipal Court. Following his arraignment, Chappell was held without bail and sent to Bridgewater State Hospital for a Mental Health Evaluation.

It has been reported that Chappell suffered from some type of mental health illness, and so one can expect that issues relative to competency and/or an Insanity Defense / Defense of Lack of Criminal Responsibility should the case go to trial.

Continue reading "Revere Mental Health Patient Arrest for Murder of Peabody Woman" »

January 10, 2011

Methuen Man Arrested for 14th DUI / Drunk Driving Offense in Lawrence

Albert Lanzo, Jr., 50, of Methuen, was arrested for his 14th Massachusetts DUI Offense in Lawrence this past weekend. Lanzo was specifically arraigned on Drunk Driving Charges including Operating Under the Inlfuence of Alcohol, 5th or Subsequent Offense; Driving with a Suspended License; and Leaving the Scene of Property Damage.

According to the Lawrence Police Department, Lanzo allegedly drove over a mailbox and left the scene. After police responded to investigate, Lanzo's truck was located less than a mile away, with Lanzo slumped over the steering wheel.

Although Lawrence Police "detected a strong odor of alcohol", it is unclear whether Lanzo was asked to perform any Field Sobriety Tests and/or to submit to a Breathalyzer Test.

Following his arraignment, Lanzo remained held without bail pending an upcoming Dangerousness Hearing to determine if bail will be imposed, or if he will continue to be held without bail and deemed too dangerous to be released back into the community.

OUI / DUI / Drunk Driving Charges:
Massachusetts Drunk Driving Crimes are prosecuted vigorously by all District Attorney's Offices and the consequences one may face for a DUI/OUI conviction can be severe, particularly if it is a subsequent offense.

Even if one can avoid jail time after being convicted with a DUI/OUI, the financial and other penalties involved in a drunk driving conviction can be severe. Total statutorily imposed fines/fees can reach into thousands of dollars; and the person can be placed on probation and ordered to undergo counseling; drug/alcohol treatment; community service; as well as face a suspension of his driver's license.

Continue reading "Methuen Man Arrested for 14th DUI / Drunk Driving Offense in Lawrence" »

December 20, 2010

Boston Man Arrested in Watertown 7-11 for Assault & Battery With Lollipops

Jose Rosario, 28, for Dorchester, Massachusetts, went into a 7-11 in Watertown and ended up being arrested for Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon and Disturbing the Peace for allegedly beating the clerk with windshield washer fluid and a lollipop tree stand.

According to the Watertown Police Department, police officers responded to the Mount Auburn Street 7-11 and observed Rosario allegedly threatening the clerk with windshield wiper fluid and assaulting the clerk with a lollipop display stand.

After separating the parties and speaking with witnesses, the Watertown Police Officer alleged that Rosario and the clerk got into an argument over a money order, which led Rosario spitting at him. The clerk, in return, threw a bottle of windshield wiper fluid at him in an effort to get him to leave; but Rosario allegedly threw the bottle back at him and then began to beat him with a lollipop display stand.

Disturbing the Peace:
In Massachusetts, the crime of Disturbing the Peace is a misdemeanor, which is punishable by imprisonment in the House of Corrections for up to 6 months, and/or by a fine of $200.

The essence of the crime of Disturbing the Peace is conduct that is unreasonably disruptive and annoys or disturbs the peace. For example, the conduct that is generally prohibited is that which most people wound find to be unreasonably disruptive, such as making loud noise; tumultuous, offensive or threatening conduct; or conduct that is so offensive that is inherently likely to provoke an imminent violent reaction).

File Under: 'Tis the season...

Continue reading "Boston Man Arrested in Watertown 7-11 for Assault & Battery With Lollipops" »

December 19, 2010

Cambridge Police Arrest Bicyclist for Assaulting Officer in Fit of "Bike Rage"

Stephen R. Gittens' "reckless and dangerous" bicycling on Broadway and Prospect Streets in Cambridge earlier this past week ultimately led to him unleashing a fit of 'bike rage' on a Cambridge Police Officer and his being arrested for several Violent Crimes Charges.

Gittens, 48, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was arrested and charged with Assault with a Dangerous Weapon; Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon; Assault & Battery on a Police Officer; Resisting Arrest and Disorderly Conduct.

According to the Cambridge Police Department, Gittens was riding his bike in a "reckless and dangerous fashion" by "dangerously weaving in and out of oncoming traffic." When officers stopped Gittens in order to inform him that it was unsafe for him to interfere with traffic in that manner, Gittens allegedly began to verbally abuse the officer.

As the officer got out of his police vehicle, Gittens allegedly attacked the officer, throwing his bike at him and punching him in the face. As Gittens managed to then wrestle the officer to the ground, he allegedly then tried to remove the officer's gun from his holster. Nearby bystanders were able to assist the Cambridge Police Officer, who then managed to subdue Gittens and pepper-spray him.

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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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November 7, 2010

Teen Mother Indicted for Tossing Infant Out Window

Eva Flores, the teenage mom who allegedly threw her newborn out a 2nd floor window shortly after giving birth has been indicted by a Suffolk County Grand Jury.

The newborn was found on September 20, 2010, in an alleyway in East Boston when a neighbor heard the baby's cries and found him lying face down. As a result of the incident, the child suffered hypothermia, skull fractures, bleeding in the brain and seizures. The child has since been taken into custody by the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.

Flores is expected to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court tomorrow on charges including Assault & Battery on a Child causing Serious Bodily Injury and Reckless Endangerment of a Child.

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October 19, 2010

Quincy Woman Who Starred in "Gone Baby Gone" Arrested for Breaking & Entering

Jill_Quigg_101910-thumb-200x280-23634.jpgJill Quigg, who got a role in the film "Gone Baby Gone" was arrested and charged in Quincy District Court with Breaking & Entering in the Daytime, Larceny Over $250, and Malicious Destruction of Property.

According to the Quincy Police Department, witnesses reported seeing Quigg and Georgios Keskinidis, 28 of Lynn, near the apartment building, and carrying a flat-screen TV and a computer printer. When Quincy Police Officers approached the pair, Quigg allegedly told them she saw a black male breaking into the apartment, and that she and Keskinidis chased the man, who then dropped the stolen items. Quigg said she took the items only for safekeeping.

In Massachusetts, the crime of Breaking & Entering in the Daytime is a felony that is punishable by up to 2 years in the House of Corrections of up to 10 years in state prison. In order to be convicted of this crime, the prosecutor would have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that:

  1. The defendant broke into a building belonging to another person;

  2. He/she did so with the intent to commit a felony in that building; and

  3. The act was committed in the daytime.
Under Massachusetts criminal law, "breaking" is defined as exerting physical force, however slight, and forcibly removing an obstruction and gaining entry. However, opening a door, even if unlocked, or even going through an open window, is considered a "breaking."

Continue reading "Quincy Woman Who Starred in "Gone Baby Gone" Arrested for Breaking & Entering" »

October 13, 2010

Wilmington Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Millions from Comedian Half-Brother Dane Cook

Darryl McCauley, of Wilmington, pled Guilty to stealing millions of dollars from his celebrity comedian half-brother, Dane Cook.

McCauley had been indicted in Middlesex Superior Court on 27 counts of Larceny Over $250, three counts of Forgery, Embezzlement, Uttering, and Conspiracy. McCauley allegedly stole millions from Dane Cook when he worked as his business manager from the early 1990's to December of 2008. The indictment alleged that he wrote company checks to himself and transferred funds to his personal bank account.

As a result of his plea deal, McCauley was sentenced to five to six years in state prison.

In Massachusetts, Larceny is the wrongful taking of the personal property from another person, with the intent to deprive that person of that property permanently. In order to be convicted of the crime of Larceny, the prosecutor is required to prove four things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the defendant took the property;
  2. That the property belonged to someone other than the defendant;
  3. That the property was taken from the person who owned it or from the other person's immediate control; and
  4. That the defendant did so with the intent to deprive that person of the property permanently.

Embezzlement, on the the other hand, is the unlawful conversion of the property of another with the intent to steal it. The crime of Embezzlement is met if the prosecutor can prove:

  1. That the defendant, while in a position of trust or confidence, was entrusted with possession of personal property belonging to another person;
  2. That the defendant fraudulently took, hid or converted that property for his own use without the consent of the owner; and
  3. That the defendant did so with the intent to deprive the owner of that property permanently.

Click here for other White Collar Crimes.

Continue reading "Wilmington Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing Millions from Comedian Half-Brother Dane Cook" »

August 7, 2010

2 Boston Men Arrested for Exposing Themselves on MBTA - Twitter Aids in Arrest

Two Boston men were arrested this past week for exposing themselves on the MBTA. Lawrence MaGuire, 59 of Dorchester, and John A. Beyers, 64 of Brighton, were separately charged with the unlawful public indecency acts. Each have been charged with Open and Gross Lewdness and Indecent Exposure.

Tperps.jpgMaGuire is alleged to have exposed himself and then masturbating while on the Red Line from Davis to Park Street in Boston this past Wednesday.

Beyers is alleged to have exposed him to several women on July 22 at the Reservoir Station in Brookline. A witness to the incident apparently took a photo of Beyers with a cell phone and published the man's photo on Twitter. The Boston Herald, after becoming aware of the Twitter posts, alerted the MBTA, who apparently recognized Beyers from prior incidents. This led to Beyers' arrest yesterday.

As a result of apprehending Beyers through Twitter, the MBTA now also plans on creating a Twitter account to help passengers report possible crimes.

Open and Gross Lewdness:
The crime of Open and Gross Lewdness is the intentional, indecent and offensive exposure of one's genital's to another person, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 3 years in state prison. A subsequent conviction of Open and Gross Lewdness will also subject the defendant to Sex Offender Registration.

Indecent Exposure:
The crime of Indecent Exposure is the intentional exposure of one's genitals to one or more persons, who were offended as a result, which carries a maximum penalty of up to 6 months in the House of Corrections.

By contrast, the crime of Open and Gross Lewdness includes the intentional exposure of genitalia, but has the additional element that it must be done in a way as to produce alarm in shock.

Continue reading "2 Boston Men Arrested for Exposing Themselves on MBTA - Twitter Aids in Arrest" »