Last week, Dedham police officer Michael Schoener (hereinafter, the “Defendant”), 40, was in court. No, not in the seats reserved for police officers waiting to testify…in the defendant’s seat waiting to be arraigned.
The Defendant has been arrested in connection with an ongoing investigation into the kidnapping of an Avon man which is alleged to have taken place back in January. The arraignment took place in Norfolk Superior Court. The specifics involve allegations of having supplied police gear and other materials to the kidnapping scheme.
37-year-old James Robinson from Avon was allegedly kidnapped from home on new Year’s Day. According to Mr. Robinson’s parents, he was taken by two men “posing as” officers. Authorities say he has not been seen sincxe, although law enforcement apparently believes that he is no longer alive.
Prosecutors claim that the Defendant was an associate of one of the kidnapping suspects and had, in fact, been buying pills from that suspect. They allege that the Defendant gave the suspect his Dedham police badge, handcuffs and an empty gun holster and that those items were used to lure Mr. Robinson away. It is also alleged that the Defendant provided the alleged kidnappers with a picture and probation information of the Mr. Robinson.
The Commonwealth further claims that two other kidnapping suspects posed as constables and told Mr. Robinson, who was on probation, that he needed to report for a drug test.
Two kidnapping suspects. along with a man police believe to have planned the kidnapping, have previously been arrested.
The Defendant is not currently in custody. After a night in jail, he entered a “not guilty” plea in court and was released on $5,000 bail. He will also have to wear a GPS tracker.
In the meantime, the Defendant has been placed on leave from the police department. For their part, the Dedham Board of Selectmen released a statement saying "The charges against Officer Schoener are serious. We have confidence in the district attorney, law enforcement and judicial system and we cannot comment on ongoing investigations."
Make of that what you will.
“We don’t want to get sued here or look like idiots. We believe that the system will work this all out in its own way…not involving us.”
Attorney Sam’s Take On Deals And Conspiracies
This seems like one of those cases that there's more action going on behind the scenes then on the surface.
We have discussed the theory behind conspiracies or joint enterprises many times. If the actual kidnapping scheme is prosecuted as a conspiracy, then those who aided in that conspiracy can be prosecuted for what the other participants do to further the goals of that conspiracy.
This is why the Defendant need not have actually taken part in the actual kidnapping event in order to be held responsible for that event.
One would expect that the idea on the part of the prosecution would be to put pressure on people on the outskirts of the kidnapping, such as the Defendant, in order to prosecute fully the participants of the actual act. There is a twist here, however.
The Defendant is not an ordinary guy. He is a police officer. Someone holding the public's trust as he holds onto his shield, gun and all the other law enforcement accoutrements. Therefore, if he is going to be prosecuted, he is of more interest than he otherwise would be.
Generally, in cases such as this, one would have expected the order of the arrests to be different. In other words, it is usually people on the outskirts of the event that are arrested first. The hope is that they will give information on the "bigger fish" in order to get a better deal. I suspect that in this case, the attempt to get a better deal would be made by one of the other actual participants in the conspiracy. The reason is that the fact that the defendant is a police officer makes that information more valuable.
We just passed the anniversary of a similar case. That of the late former President Richard M Nixon. 40 years ago this past weekend Mr. Nixon felt compelled to resign from the office of the president of United States of America.
This had to do with the infamous Watergate break-in and conspiracy. As for the break-in itself, we are talking about, depending upon Washington DC's statutes' names, a burglary and/or a breaking and entering. Mr. Nixon was never suspected of taking part in the actual physical Brakin at the Watergate Hotel. However, he is alleged to have been involved in the planning of the Break-in as well as the conspiracy afterwords to prevent suspicion from finding it's way to his doorstep.
Because Mr. Nixon was not an ordinary guy, but the president of United States, his involvement became even more important to prosecutors than the involvement of the actual burglarers.
Of course, in this case, much of the defense is easy to foretell. Those who gave information against the Defendant did so because they wanted to make a better deal and were willing to lie in order to get that deal. If, indeed, the kidnappers had items belonging to the defendant, they somehow got into their possession without the aid of the Defendant. Of course, it is important to note, that the fact that parts of the defense are easily predicted does not take away from the fact that they could indeed be true.
Often, one has to reminds jurors and judges that that is the case.
As for the government's case, there are also issues with that that are already apparent. For example, it appears that there inconsistencies in how the kidnapping may have taken place and witness statements. Of course, time, and a good attorney, will have to flesh that out for us.
On a different note, I will be returning to the subject matter last left off in the near future. Unfortunately, events have decimated attempts to regularize the blog, or even do it, for the past couple of weeks. Let's cover some more up-to-date matters first.
For the full story upon which this blog is based, please go to: