Boston Criminal Lawyers Blog
Published on:

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.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has extensive experience in defending persons charged with Massachusetts Crimes of Violence, Gun Crimes, Drug Crimes, and Sex Crimes, and is available 24/7 for consultation.

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

Published on:

A Cohasset man was arrested for Massachusetts Murder Charges following the family brawl that ended in the death of his brother-in-law. The man was arraigned in Quincy District Court earlier this week and charged with Manslaughter.

According to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office, Cohasset police responded to the defendant’s home and found him to be unresponsive. The victim’s father told police that family were celebrating the man’s birthday when he became loud and began swearing. One witness told police that the victim had gone into a rage and had hit someone over the head with a chair.

The defendant allegedly tried to calm him and the two began fighting, eventually putting the victim in a headlock. When the defendant released him, the victim was motionless and unresponsive.

Voluntary Manslaughter in Massachusetts is defined as murder but with mitigating circumstances the lessen a defendant’s culpability for the act. Where both crimes of Murder and Manslaughter each require proof of an unlawful killing, the crime may be voluntary manslaughter if it occurred under mitigating circumstances; in other words, without malice.

Some examples of mitigating circumstances involving the crime of manslaughter could be heat of passion upon reasonable provocation; heat of passion by sudden combat; or excessive force in self-defense.

By contrast, Involuntary Manslaughter in Massachusetts is defined as the unlawful killing unintentionally caused by wanton or reckless conduct, which creates a high degree of likelihood that substantial harm will result to another. It may also be commission of a batter in circumstances that the person knows or reasonably should know endanger human life.

In either theory of manslaughter, it is an absolute defense if the person acted in self-defense or in the defense of another, which appears to be the case here.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has tremendous experience in defendant persons against Crimes of Violence, and is available 24/7 for consultation on all such cases, including Massachusetts Murder Crimes.

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

Published on:

In the recent case of Commonwealth v. Leslie Burton-Brown, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court considered the issue of whether a gun, manufactured before 1900, were unlawful to own/possess under the Massachusetts’ Gun Crimes Laws.

After a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, and Unlawful Possession of a Loaded Firearm. In his appeal, the defendant asserted that his convictions should be overturned because the gun at issue was manufactured before 1900, and under the law as written, he could lawfully possess the firearm with having been issued a license to carry.

Under the statute which criminalized the possession of a firearm without a license, the language further reads that the “…provisions of the [statute] shall not apply to…any firearms, rifle, or shotgun manufactured in or prior to the year 1899.”

In reversing the defendant’s conviction, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court resounded that, given the language of the statute, the defendant could not have been convicted of unlawfully possession this antique gun. The SJC went even further and overruled a prior Massachusetts Appeals Court case which had previously ruled that no “antique gun exemption” existed.

Moving forward, where a defendant is charged with Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, attorneys should give the appropriate pre-trial notice to rely on the affirmative defense of exemption so that the defendant could demonstrate to the jury, through expert testimony, that the gun is, in fact, an antique.

Boston Criminal Appeals Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Gun Crimes Charges, including Unlawful Possession of a Firearm, Possession of a Loaded Firearm, and all Massachusetts Criminal Appeals.

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

Published on:

A Boston man and woman from Dedham were arrested by Braintree Police Officers this yesterday on Massachusetts Drug Crimes Charges in what police are calling a “month-long investigation.”

Aris W. Veras, 35, of Boston, and Luz M. Cepeda, 29, of Dedham, have both been charged with Drug Trafficking, Distribution of Heroin and Cocaine, and Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs.

According to the Braintree Police, search warrants were executed for two cars and a home in Dedham when an undercover police officer allegedly purchased drugs from Veras and Cepeda. Following the alleged transaction to the undercover police officer, both were arrested on drug charges.

The search warrant on the home in Dedham, alleged to be Cepedas, reportedly yielded additional drugs, including cocaine and heroin; drug packaging materials, and cash.

Although at first glance these circumstances may seem unbeatable, there are truly many intricacies and legal issues that surround a case like this. Any seasoned criminal defense attorney defending a case of this nature would certainly look to the specific details of the alleged drug sale, including who, specifically was involved and how the drug sale was allegedly transacted.

Additionally, that a search warrant was executed on Cepeda’s home may not necessarily be fatal to Vera’s defense, particularly if police cannot establish a strong link between him and the home – such as no evidence that he was ever seen near the home, let alone believed to have engaged in the selling of drugs at or near the residence. The search warrant should also be carefully scrutinized to ensure that it was properly issued based on the requisite probable cause. If not, the search warrant could be thrown out and any evidence recovered from the search could be excluded.

The penalties for Drug Trafficking in Massachusetts vary depending on the alleged drug in question and how much ‘weight’ was allegedly distributed. For instance, for cocaine, trafficking cocaine between 14 and 28 grams could result in a prison sentence of 3 to 15 years; while over 200 grams could result in a sentence of 15-20 years.

The penalties for Drug Trafficking Heroin in Massachusetts, however, are more severe. 14-28 grams could result in a sentence of 5-20 years; while trafficking over 200 grams of heroin could also result in a state prison sentence of 15-20 years.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation and has extensive experience in defending persons accused of Massachusetts Drug Crimes, including Drug Trafficking, Possession with Intent to Distribute Drugs; and Drug School Zone Violations.

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

Published on:

The United States Supreme Court today heard arguments in the cases of Jackson v. Hobbs and Miller v. Alabama on the issue of whether it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of the 8th Amendment, to sentence a youthful offender to life without the possibility of parole. The decision result in a change to Massachusetts law, which currently allows for juvenile life sentences without parole.

By way of background, the court has previously ruled against similar punishments for youth and adult offenders in the past. In 2005, the Court prohibited the imposition of the death penalty for any minor convicted of murder in the case of Roper v. Simmons. Then, in 2010, in the case of Graham v. Florida, the Supreme Court prohibited the imposition of a life without the possibility of parole sentence for a minor who committed any crime other than murder.

In both of those cases, the Supreme Court ruled that, due to the immaturity of youthful judgment and moral sense, those punishments were unconstitutional and therefore a form of cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th Amendment. With those cases as a backdrop, attorneys are urging the court to rule that a sentence of life without parole for the crime of murder is also too severe and unconstitutional.

The decision could have long reaching implications to several cases, including those in Massachusetts, such as the case of John Odgren, who as a teenager, was convicted of First Degree Murder and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. He was 16 at the time of the murder.

Prior to 1996, juveniles charged with murder in Massachusetts would have their cases tried in Juvenile Court. In 1996, however, the Massachusetts legislature amended the law which now mandates that juveniles between the ages of 14 and 17 who are charged with murder to have their cases transferred to adult court. In Massachusetts alone, there are 59 inmates who were charged with murder before they were 18. Notably, 38 other states have passed similar laws permitting juveniles to be sentenced to life without parole sentences for murder.

The indication from reporters, following oral arguments, is that the United States Supreme Court will lean towards ruling that sentencing youthful offenders to life without the possibility of parole is not cruel and unusual punishment. …but the official decision is not expected until sometime this summer.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Crimes of Violence, including Murder, as well as Massachusetts Criminal Appeals.

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

Published on:

A 22 year old from Roslindale was arraigned yesterday on Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the stabbing death of Kenneth Soto, 19, in October 2011.

The defendant, Hector Soto, was arraigned in the West Roxbury Division of the Boston Municipal Court on First Degree Murder Charges.

According to the Suffolk County D.A.’s Office, prosecutors allege that Hector Soto and Kenneth Soto were in separate vehicles with respective friends in the 7-11 parking lot on Centre Street in Jamaica Plain. As Kenneth Soto exited the store, Hector Soto allegedly approached him the two engaged in a fight that resulted in the stabbing death of Kenneth Soto.

First Degree Murder in Massachusetts is the unlawful killing of another with deliberate premeditation and malice, and is punishable by imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Crimes of Violence Charges, including First Degree Murder.

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

Published on:

A Cambrdige security guard was indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury on several Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges last week.

The security guard, who is reportedly from Hyde Park, has been indicted on sex charges including Assault with Intent to Rape and Indecent Assault and Battery. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court tomorrow.

According to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, Cambridgeside Galleria police responded to a woman crying for help at 2:00 a.m. on November 11. A review of surveillance video reportedly shows the security guard from Hyde Park escorting a woman around the rear mall entrance to the Cambridgeside Galleria from Thorndike Street. At that point, the man allegedly grabbed the woman, forced himself on her and allegedly sexually assaulted her. The woman was reportedly able to walk away to a nearby hotel where she called for help.

Assault with Intent to Commit Rape in Massachusetts is a felony that is defined as an assault of another with intent to engage in sexual acts without their consent, and is punishable by commitment to state prison for any term of years up to life. If, however, the accused has previously been convicted of Assault with Intent to Commit Rape, the minimum-mandatory penalty to be imposed is 20 years in state prison.

Indecent Assault & Battery in Massachusetts is punishable by imprisonment in the House of Correction for up to 2.5 years, or to state prison for up to 5 years.

A conviction for the crimes of Assault with Intent to Rape and Indecent Assault and Battery would each render the person subject to Sex Offender Registration and require him to submit a sample to the Massachusetts State DNA Database.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has experience in defending persons charged with Massachusetts Sex Crimes, including Rape, Assault with Intent to Commit Rape, and Indecent Assault & Battery, and is available 24/7 for consultation.

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

Published on:

The Newton Public School teacher who has already been indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on Massachusetts Sex Crime Charges, has now also been indicted by a Suffolk County Grand Jury on additional sexual assault charges, including Aggravated Assault & Battery on a Child Under 14.

The new charges against the former Newton second-grade elementary school teacher at the Underwood School, David Ettlinger, seem to have arisen from the discovery of files of his computer and from search warrants conducted following his initial arrest.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office also revealed the discovery of additional photographs that aren’t ‘pornographic’, but have rather termed them as ‘troubling.’ The photos allegedly depict children playing the playground and on school grounds. Notably, however, Ettlinger did also make an annual video tutorial and photo collage for parents during his tenure at the school, which could also explain these other photographs.

Given the high profile and sensitivity of these charges, however, prosecutors will sort through everything they can find with a fine-tooth comb and certainly seek to charge him with anything they can. It’s also been reported that the Ettlinger may also face federal sex crimes charges as well for an alleged connection in a ‘global internet pornography ring’.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has experience in defendant Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges, including Rape, Indecent Assault & Battery, and Unlawful Possession of Child Pornography, and is available 24/7 for consultation.

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

Published on:

Boston Police have arrested a Dorchester man and charged him with Massachusetts Murder Charges in connection with the shooting death of Anthony Depina in Roxbury last week.

Jason Barbosa was arraigned in Roxbury District Court yesterday on charges of First Degree Murder and Gun Crimes Charges.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, Jason Barbosa allegedly encountered Anthony Depina in area where Depina wasn’t supposed to be, in an alleged referenced to gang turf. A few hours later, Barbosa allegedly encountered Depina again, at which point he is alleged to have shot him in the chest and head.

Prosecutors allege that Jason Barbosa was linked to the crime scene by video surveillance, as well as a GPS device that he was reportedly wearing as a condition of his probation on an unrelated criminal matter.

Simply because prosecutors have alleged that Jason Barbosa was in the vicinity at or around of the alleged murder, that does not necessarily mean that he was the one who pulled the trigger or was otherwise in any way connected with this crime. It is still unclear if there is any other evidence, whether forensic, ballistics, or otherwise, that could more accurately connect Barbosa to this murder.

First Degree Murder in Massachusetts is defined as the unlawful killing committed with deliberate premeditation with malice, and is punishable by commitment to state prison for life.

Following his arraignment in Roxbury District Court, Jason Barbosa was held without bail pending his next court appearance.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has extensive experience in defending persons charged with Massachusetts Crimes of Violence, and is available 24/7 for consultation for those charges, including First Degree Murder and Gun Crimes Charges.

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

Published on:

Max Nicastro, a Boston University hockey player, was arraigned in the Brighton Municipal Court last week on Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges for allegedly raping another BU student on campus.

Nicastro was arraigned on two counts of Rape and released on $10,000 bail.

According to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the female student was allegedly raped last Sunday, a few hours following the Boston University and University of Massachusetts-Lowell hockey game. Boston University Police, after conducting “interviews”, reportedly arrested Max Nicastro at 6:30 a.m.

The crime of Rape in Massachusetts is defined as the compelling another to engage in sexual acts against their will, and is punishable by life imprisonment for up to 20 years. Additionally, a conviction for rape also carries other collateral severe penalties, including Sex Offender Registration.

Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis is available 24/7 for consultation on all Massachusetts Sex Crimes Charges, including Rape.

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