Boston Criminal Lawyers Blog
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The Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure establish time limitations as to when a criminal defendant is charged and to be brought to trial, and these protections are guaranteed in the United States Constitution and the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.

But in many criminal cases, there are a variety of delays that often occur. Delays can result from simple discovery or evidentiary issues; witness issues; or in some cases, neglect.

By way of background, defendants are protected from potential criminal charges through the Statute of Limitations or where the initiation of criminal charges are delayed. By statute. Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 277, Section 63, many felonies must be charged within 10 or 15 years from the date of the commission of the alleged crime. The exception is murder, however, for which there is no statute of limitation. By contrast, most misdemeanor offenses must be charged within 6 years from the alleged commission of the crime.

Generally (with some exceptions and variations), the statute of limitations begins to toll (starts running) upon the completion of every element of the criminal offense.

Against this backdrop, a defendant’s speedy trial rights, more specifically defined in Rule 36 of the Massachusetts Rules of Criminal Procedure, establish time limits for when a case should proceed to trial. Because criminal cases can vary in complexity, there are different time limits for cases that are non-complex (drug cases); somewhat complex (cases that might involve forensic evidence or unique evidentiary issues; and complex (murder, rape, etc.).

Rule 36 essentially mandates that all criminal defendants are guaranteed a trial within 12 months from arraignment. If the 12 months period expires without a trial, a defendant may petition the court to have the charges dismissed, which would bar prosecution for this offense.

However, simply because a criminal case went beyond the 12 month period without a trial does not guarantee that the case will be dismissed. The government may rebut the motion to dismiss by offering evidence that certain delays in the case were excusable.

Excusable delays or “excluded periods” of time can arise from any circumstances that was not the result of the conduct of the prosecution; or where those delays benefited the defendant or he agreed to such delays. A delay benefitting the defendant and that would thereby be ‘excluded’ from the computation for purposes of speedy trial issues include: unavailability of a witness or even the defendant; competence to stand trial; continuances that were granted by the court that were at the request of the defendant or upon the court’s own motion; and some other extraordinary circumstances.

So when does the clock start ticking for purposes of speedy trial issues?

Under Article 11 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights, the clock starts ticking when a criminal complaint issues against the defendant.

Courts scrutinize speedy trial violations very carefully and, more often in not, the calculations do not benefit the defendant, particularly when the “excluded time period” is calculated. Nonetheless, extraordinary circumstances do present themselves in some cases.

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

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney or call 617-325-9500.

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A Northeastern student was recently charged with various Massachusetts Crimes of Violence against two women in Boston in separate incidents.

The student, who is from Medford, was charged in Roxbury District Court last week with Assault with Intent to Rape, Armed Robbery, and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon. In this incident, the student is alleged to have jumped out of bushes and attacked a woman, threatening to rape her while trying to remove her clothes. The woman reportedly suffered wounds to her hand and her leg and reported that the student used a knife in this attack.

In another incident occurred later that same evening, the student allegedly knocked another woman over and tried to rape her. He was charged in connection with that incident in West Roxbury District Court with Assault with Intent to Rape.

Although these attacks are technically ‘separate’ incidents, the prosecutor may seek to “join” the offenses and try them together as one single scheme.

Generally speaking, evidence of a separate crime cannot be introduced at a defendant’s trial for another crime in order to show a propensity for criminal conduct, but there are some exceptions. Smart prosecutors may seek to join the two incidents by asserting to the court that they are related by way of common scheme or pattern, and it would be in the interests of judicial economy to have the two matters tried at one trial.

Among the factors a judge would consider for joinder of the offenders would be the similarity of the alleged conduct, i.e., common scheme or pattern; and whether the same witnesses would be testifying at both trials.

Although allegations of random sexual attacks often turn on the sufficiency of the identification of the alleged perpetrator, in each of these cases, the police reportedly had video surveillance footage of the student at or near the alleged incidents.

Not having scene the surveillance video or still images, any competent defense attorney would certainly want to thoroughly review the integrity of the images and determine if there are then any challenges to the defendant’s identification.

Assault with Intent to Rape in Massachusetts is punishable by imprisonment to state prison for life or for any term of years. A conviction would further subject the defendant to other collateral consequences, including mandatory Sex Offender Registration.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is experienced in defending persons charged with various Massachusetts Sex Crimes, and is available 24/7 for consultation.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Sex Crimes Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

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A Boston man was charged this past week with various Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges involving the alleged sexual assault of a woman in Provincetown on Cape Cod.

The defendant was charged in Orleans District Court with Rape, Indecent Assault & Battery and Distribution of Drugs.

Rape in Massachusetts is defined as the natural or unnatural sexual intercourse with another person by force and against that person’s will, and is punishable by up to 20 years in state prison.

A rape conviction carries other several collateral penalties as well, including Sex Offender Registration and the possibility of lifetime community parole and/or commitment as a sexually dangerous person.

The success of a defendant’s defense when charged with any crimes of alleged sexual assault can depend on a number of factors, including whether there were any witnesses; the credibility of the complainant; the results of a SANE exam or an evidence collection kit; and the existence of any forensic evidence, such as DNA.

Not all rape charges result from “forced” sexual conduct. In many cases, there may be a defense of consent or even a defense of mistaken identification.

Unlike other ‘average’ crimes, rape cases often involve intricate legal and scientific issues, including an understanding of forensic evidence and other issues, such as first complaint testimony; prior sexual acts of the complainant; and cases involving late disclosure or child victims.

For those reasons, a person charged with any sex crimes should take great care with choosing the right criminal defense attorney and consider someone who has experience in defending sex crimes.

Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has extensive experience in defending persons charged with various Massachusetts Sex Crimes, including Rape, and is available 24/7 for consultation.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Sex Crimes Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

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A Lowell father was arraigned in Lowell District Court last week on Massachusetts Violent Crimes Charges for allegedly assaulting his two month old infant.

The defendant, Christopher Berry, was formally arraigned on Aggravated Assault & Battery charges, but that charge could be upgraded if the child succumbs to its injuries. He was held on $500,000 cash bail.

According to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, the defendant was caring for the infant when, over apparent frustration, allegedly violently shook the baby for as many as 30 seconds. Prosecutors believe that the infant suffered grave brain injuries and it is not known at this time if it will survive. Prosecutors do not believe the child’s injuries are consistent with accidental trauma.

The Massachusetts Violent Crime of Aggravated Assault & Battery is defined as an intentional touching, without justification, that results in serious bodily injury. Under the law, ‘serious bodily injury’ is defined as injury that results in permanent disfigurement, loss or impairment of a bodily function or organ, or a substantial risk of death.

A conviction for the crime of aggravated assault & battery is punishable by up to 5 years in state prison.

Massachusetts Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has successfully defended persons charged with various Massachusetts Violent Crimes, and is available 24/7 for consultation.

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

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A Lynn priest was arraigned in Lynn District Court on various Massachusetts Sexual Assault Charges for allegedly sexually molesting over several years.

The defendant, Daniel Lopez, was a priest at the Vida Real Internacional Congregation in Lynn. The Essex County District Attorney’s Office alleges that between 2004 and 2008, he sexually assaulted several children who were younger than 9 years old. During that time, he is also alleged to have raped one of those children.

The defendant was arraigned in Lynn District Court and charged with several counts of Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14 and Rape of a Child by Force.

The Massachusetts Sex Crime of Rape of a Child is the sexual intercourse with a child under 16 where the child is compelled to engage in such acts by force. A conviction for this sex offense would subject a defendant convicted of this crime to Sex Offender Registration; require that he submit his DNA to the state’s DNA database; possible community parole supervision for life; and could also serve as a predicate offense for civil commitment as a “sexually dangerous person”.

A conviction to Rape of a Child by Force carries a potential prison sentence of any term of years up to life.

Boston Criminal Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis has successfully represented persons charged with various Massachusetts Sex Crimes, and is available 24/7 for consultation.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Sex Crimes Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

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A second defendant was charged with Murder in connection to the October stabbing death of Cherby Lajoie in Dorchester, Massachusetts.

The female defendant, Tarayiah Hunt, 21, of Dorchester, was formally arraigned in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court recently and charged with murder.

The victim in this case, Cherby Lajoie, was found on on Charles Street on October 6th just after 1:00 a.m. suffering from 37 stab wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, this defendant was allegedly identified in connection with this murder through DNA evidence at the crime scene and nearby surveillance video. Prosecutors also represented that police were provided with an anonymous tip identifying this defendant by her nickname, “Tip”.

The other person first charged with murder on this case is a 15 year old juvenile, and he is the person prosecutors allege actually stabbed the victim.

In cases where the crime is committed by one actor, others may also be charged with the crime under the principle of aiding and abetting or joint venture. Under this theory of criminal law, a person may be guilty of a crime even if he did not personally commit the crime, but somehow aided and abetted in its commission.

In a joint venture, a person is guilty of the crime as a joint venturer if he intentionally participates with another in the commission of a crime as something he wishes to bring about and seeks by his actions to make it succeed.

In order to prove a defendant guilty of a crime as an aider and abetter, the government must prove that the defendant (1) was present at the scene of a crime; (2) had knowledge that another person intended to commit the crime and shared that person’s intent; and (3) aided or assisted the commission of that crime; or by agreement, was willing and available to assist the other person in carrying out that crime if necessary.

In some circumstances, the government would not have to prove that the defendant was even present at the scene of the crime. In this scenario, the government would have to prove that the defendant actually aided in the commission of the crime or was an accessory before the fact of the crime by counseling, hiring or otherwise procuring the crime to be committed.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Murder Charges.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here Contact a Massachusetts Murder Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

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A man who used to reside in Lowell was arrested on a fugitive warrant in New York and returned to Massachusetts to face Violent Crime Charges relative to a 2011 home invasion in Lowell.

The defendant, Samuel Merced, 22, was arraigned in Lowell District Court and charged with Home Invasion, Assault & Battery, Intimidation of a Witness, Malicious Destruction of Property and Violation of Abuse Prevention Order.

According to the Lowell Police Department and the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, the defendant allegedly assaulted his pregnant ex-girlfriend in the summer of 2011, grabbing her by the jaw and threatening her with a knife. At the time, there was reportedly an active restraining order in place.

When officers responded to the scene, they allege that they approached the defendant, who gave them a false name and resisted arrest. He was also reportedly on probation at the time of the offenses prior to defaulting on the case when he allegedly fled the state.

Although the issuance of a restraining order against a person is a civil action (and not criminal), an alleged violation of an issued restraining order is a criminal offense.

The criminal offense of Violation of Restraining Order is punishable by up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections. Additionally, a person convicted for this offense must also complete a certified batterer’s intervention program. Completion of a batterer’s program is mandated by statute and can only be waived if the court issues findings detailing the reasons why the batterer’s program should not be ordered; or the batterer’s program otherwise determines that the defendant is not suitable for intervention.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has successfully defended persons charged with various Massachusetts Crimes of Violence and is available 24/7 for consultation.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney or call 617-325-9500.

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A 19 year old Framingham man was arrested on various Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges for allegedly raping a 15 year old girl after she got off the school bus.

The defendant was charged with Aggravated Rape of a Child, Indecent Assault & Battery and Kidnapping.

According to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, the defendant allegedly accosted the girl after she got off the school bus and forcibly led her into the woods at knifepoint where he raped her. Prosecutors do not believe that the girl knew the defendant and that the incident appeared to be a random attack.

The Massachusetts sex crime of Rape of a Child is the act of compelling a child under 16 by force or against his/her will to engage in sexual intercourse, and is punishable by commitment to state prison for any term of years up to life.

In addition to a lengthy prison sentence, a conviction of Rape of a Child, as with other sex offenses, would require the defendant to register as a sex offender and submit his DNA to the state’s DNA database.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has handled several cases involving Massachusetts Sex Crimes, including rape and indecent assault & battery, and is available 24/7 for consultation.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Sex Crimes Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

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A Massachusetts State Police Trooper pulled over two Boston men in Stoughton late Sunday night, ultimately arrested the passenger on Massachusetts Gun Crimes Charges.

The passenger, Brian Marsh, 45 of Hyde Park, was arrested and arraigned in Stoughton District Court for unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of drugs.

According to the Massachusetts State Police, a trooper on his way home from a paid detail after 11:00 p.m. Sunday night observed a car with an invalid inspection sticker. Attempted to pull the car over for this violation, the trooper alleged that the vehicle accelerated to speeds of approximately 90 miles per hour.

When the car finally pulled over, the trooper approached the driver and could smell an odor of marijuana. The operator of the car, Jason Brewer of Roxbury, allegedly admitted he was unlicensed and could not locate the registration for the car. The trooper additional spoke with the passenger of the, who allegedly made inconsistent statements concerning the who owned the vehicle.

The Massachusetts State Police trooper, based on inconsistencies of the passenger’s stories, ordered him out of the car and conducted a pat-frisk. As a result of the frisk, state troopers recovered an unloaded revolver on the passenger.

The fact pattern in this incident is one that could potentially raise several constitutional challenges by way of a motion to suppress evidence. For instance, was the officer’s stop of the car even lawful in the first place? The trooper is going to say that it was because he saw the car traveling with an expired inspection sticker…but are we really going to believe that? How did he see it? At 11:00 p.m. at night while the car was traveling down the road and through his rear view mirror?

Secondly, there is a serious concern whether the trooper’s exit order and pat-frisk of the passenger was even lawful. Under Massachusetts law, before a police officer in a routine traffic stop may order a person out of the car, he must have a reasonable belief that his safety or the safety of others is in danger. I also don’t believe that simply because the passenger’s story was inconsistent was enough to justify the exit order. There must be something specific that would give the officer concern that his safety was in danger, and hunch is not enough.

Additionally, with regard to pat frisks, Massachusetts law considers even a limited search for weapons as a serious intrusion against a person’s constitutional rights. Unless there is probable cause to arrest, a search will only be justified if there is both a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity and a reasonable apprehension of danger.

If the prosecutor cannot meet his burden in establishing that the exit order and subsequent pat frisk was justified pursuant to constitutional standards, then any evidence obtained as a result should be suppressed or excluded from the case.

Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Gun Crimes Charges.

To schedule a Free Consultation, Click Here to Contact a Massachusetts Gun Crimes Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.

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A Braintree karate instructor was arrested by the Braintree Police Department this past weekend on Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges involving one of his students.

The instructor was arraigned in Quincy District Court on charges including Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14.

According to the Braintree Police Department and the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, the karate instructor was giving a 10 year old girl a private lesson when it is alleged that he pulled down her pants. The incident is alleged to have occurred in December.

The karate instructor was arrested by the Braintree Police Department after he reportedly went to the police station voluntarily this past Saturday to speak with detectives.

Defending allegations of this sort is obviously very sensitive, particularly where a young child is involved and where there is likely no other evidence other than the word of the complainant. Although it is our human nature to immediately believe a child victim who reports allegations of this type, numerous studies have suggested that, in many cases, children who report sex crimes either fabricate, exacerbate or misinterpret the purported criminal conduct.

The Massachusetts Sex Crime of Indecent Assault and Battery on a Child Under 14 is a felony punishable by up to 2.5 years in the House of Corrections or up to 10 years in state prison. As with most sex crimes, a conviction for this offense would require the defendant to register as a sex offender and submit his DNA to the state’s DNA database.

Given the sensitive nature and extreme consequences involving Massachusetts sex crimes allegations, anyone charged with such crimes should immediately consult with a criminal defense attorney who has particular experience in defending these types of cases.

Boston Criminal Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis has successfully defended various Massachusetts Sex Crimes allegations and is available 24/7 for consultation.

Click Here to Request a Free Consultation with a Massachusetts Sex Crimes Lawyer or call 617-325-9500.