Lamont Sands and Arthur Willis, both 19 and from Dorchester, Massachusetts, were both charged in the Boston Municipal Court last week in connection with robbing a man of his iPhone on Boylston Street. Both teens were charged with Armed Robbery and Receiving Stolen Property and held on $10,000 bail.
The Boston Police Department alleges that Sands and Willis approached a man on Boylston street, and one of them stuck his hands in his pocket as if he had a gun. The two teens threatened to shoot the man if he didn’t give up his cell phone. After the man gave Boston Police Officers a description of the teens, Sands and Willis were stopped in an alley near Westland Avenue.
The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office reports that Sands and Willis are believed to have been involved in selling stolen iPhones. They are believed to be responsible for at least 13 robberies since this past July.
In cases such as these, i.e., Armed Robbery from a street encounter, one of the most challenging issues prosecutors face is overcoming a Defense of Identification. In similar criminal cases which I have taken to trial and been successful, challenging the victim’s purported identification, most likely the central piece of evidence in this case, puts the prosecutor’s case to the test.
In every criminal case, the prosecutor has the burden of proving the identity of the defendant as the perpetrator of the crime(s) beyond a reasonable doubt. In evaluating whether the prosecutor has met his burden, the jury will be instructed by the judge to consider several issues, including:
- whether they are convinced the witness had the capacity, and an adequate opportunity, to view his/her assailants;
- how long or short a time was available for the observation;
- the lighting conditions; and
- the length of time that lapsed between the occurrence of the crime and the identification of the defendant(s).
Although identifying someone as the perpetrator of the crime may seem very easy to do, a number of evidentiary issues can complicate and call into question the identification. For example, if Sands and Willis were not in possession of the victim’s property when they were arrested, that may lead to arguing that they were the subjects of a mistaken identification, particularly if the details in the description that was provided to the Boston Police Officers was vague. In other words, a description such as: “two black males, 18-22 years old, wearing all black”, without further descriptions such as hair style, height or body type or other distinguishing characteristics, is extremely vague and does nothing for distinguishing these two individuals from any other black males in their community.
Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis has extensive experience in defending persons accused of Theft Crimes, including Armed Robbery and Receiving Stolen Property, and is available 24/7 for consultation.
To schedule a Free Consultation with a Boston Criminal Lawyer, Contact Us Online or call 617-325-9500.