Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

The judge’s comments were on the money and everyone should recognize it. Not knowing it could end your life one way or another.

The judge is Suffolk Superior Court Judge Mitchell H. Kaplan. He just presided over a murder trial. The case was the Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Peter Castillo (hereinafter, the “Defendant”).

The Defendant is the 28-year-old man who was charged with fatally shooting Stephen Perez, Jr. in order to settle an early morning insult-fest between the two strangers as they headed to their cars at closing time.

Perez had just returned from two terms of duty in the military. He was a sniper who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and was on a waiting list to enter the Revere police academy. His death came 10 days before his 23rd birthday. He lived in Revere.

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Usually, a stroll to the local CVS Pharmacy is something that you can assume will be non-eventful.

Not in Stoughton. Not last week.

Last week, three kids allegedly entered a Stoughton CVS, had words with another teen and then shot him.

In Twelve Step programs, one of the steps to recovery is to “make amends” to people you have wronged. Well, while I am not involved in such a program at present, I do owe you, my readers, an amends. I left you hanging during the police cam festivities, hinting that I was going to be returning to shining the light of truth on that notorious department…the Department of Children and Families.

Well, the police cam controversy is over for now and I will wait a bit longer before I return to the truth of …Them. Instead, let’s look at a more recent criminal case about which you should be aware.

Especially given the fact that we are probably going to be inundated with data from the police cams.

It involves a criminal appeal which, lo and behold, actually recognizes a particular reality  which we have discussed many times in this blog.

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I have been bouncing back and forth between the Boston Police Union vs. Body Cams follies and the return to…that other Department…in terms of topics for the blog this week.

I think, as a prelude to both, I should bring you a case in which the Supreme Judicial Court has just agreed that Mr. Sean Ellis (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) should be granted a new trial.

According to the Boston Herald , the Defendant was charged with shooting and killing Police Officer John Mulligan at approximately 3:30a.m. on September 26, 1993. The Defendant was convicted after trial in 1995.

According to the Commonwealth, Officer Mulligan had been on a security detail at the time. Allegedly in his car, asleep.

For some reason, the case was tried several times before he was finally convicted in 1995 and sentenced to a life sentence.

As it turned out, however, there were issues which dwelled beneath the simplistic view of the shooting which the Commonwealth wished to share with either the jury…or the defense.

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Ok, I know that when I left off in my last blog, I indicated that I was going to return to the topic of a particular mismanaged blight on the Massachusetts landscape that is being slipped a pass by our governor…but that will have to wait until next week.

Despite how it may seem, I have great respect for police officers. I do, however, recognize that some of them do bad things. To me, if you are hired to be a hero five days a week, it does not entitle you to act like a criminal on the other two.

I also have to recognize lunacy when I see it. And, dear readers, I have to admit that this seems like lunacy.

The Boston Herald  tells us that the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association is now seeking an injunction to prevent the department from ordering police officers to wear body cameras as part of the pilot program slated to begin next week.

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As you may recall, I have been entrenched in the criminal justice system, as well as a few related arenas, for over 30 years. Over the last several years, I have been doing so as Of Counsel at Altman & Altman, LLP in Cambridge

The last few years, of course, have also brought me the noteworthy Ian Keefe as my associate here.

Yesterday, as I was busy turning 57 years old, I took some time, as we often do at birthdays, taking stock of the situation.

You know, there is a reason that the recognition on I recently got mentioned both Altman and me.

Altman & Altman, LLP is primarily a personal injury law firm. However, the Altmans realized the wisdom in having other attorneys, like me, around so that their clients can receive expert representation in other areas of law as well.

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Well, apparently, we are actually getting started.

The Boston Police Department’s body camera pilot program is now being launched with 100 officers selected by a department consultant after none volunteered.

Ruffled blue feathers? Maybe.  But progress has been made according to Boston University’s NPR station, WBUR,

The six-month trial starts today with two days of training. It goes live next month.

The 100 officers are  said to be racially and gender diverse.  According to the police department,  55 of them are white, 29 are black, 13 are Latino and 3 are Asian. Eighty-seven of the 100 are men.  You can figure out how many are not,

The officers are scheduled to patrol some of the city’s high-crime neighborhoods, college student enclaves and tourist hotspots.

Activists had called for this program for a while, since  the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, two years ago.

Controversy dogged the start of the program, however.  Some of that still exists as the  NAACP has questioned why a disproportionately high number of black officers are wearing the cameras, while others wondered why the largely Latino East Boston neighborhood is not included

And so it goes.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Perspective…Blue And Darker

“Sam, what’s the big deal here?  Why is this so important?”

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Well, last week was supposed to house “the day”. Police Body Cam Day. Certain Boston Police Officers were to be dragged, apparently screaming and kicking, into the controversial body-cam pilot program.

As you may recall, this was going to be a voluntary selection. To sweeten the experience, the Department even offered a sizable financial bonus to said volunteers.

Not enough though.

Despite expectations that the blue-clad folks who claim to always act according to the great trust we place on them…no such volunteers showed up, according to the Boston Herald.

You might find this somewhat surprising. After all, the police and prosecutors often take the position that they cannot understand why folks would be afraid to be videotaped in the outside world…unless they are doing something wrong. Similarly, they cannot comprehend why one would not run to the police if they are the victim of a crime (as in the “first reporter is the victim” scenario we have discussed).

They regularly intimate to civilians that, if they feel they cannot simply be candid, and need unnecessary and evil creatures like defense attorneys present, then they must have something to hide.

After all, of course, as one attorney who regularly represents officers tells us, “Officers usually do the right thing, so they should get it on film.”

Sounds reasonable enough.


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Do you think that, if you are neither black nor a police officer, that the dangerously intensifying tensions and battles between police officers and people of color do not effect you?

I mean, not all the folks who seem be shooting at or being shot by police officers are folks of color. But the majority of the ones who mysteriously end up dead or injured sure seem to be.

Do you think that, the way things are going, you are not more and more likely to become a victim one way or another?

Let’s look at a few recent stories which reflect the current times.

Earlier this month, the Boston Herald presented a story about the spray-painted message, “Kill Cops” gracing a skate park in Tewksbury. Not surprisingly, Deputy Chief John Voto announced that the message was concerning in light of the police killings that have increased in numbers throughout the country.

On the other side of the coin, a more recent Boston Herald story tells us about a Cambridge police officer.

This officer was allegedly relieving himself on the side of a building in Revere with a few of his friends. This, by the way, is a crime that does get prosecuted in the Commonwealth. Not so long ago, it was enough to force a person to register as a sex offender with SORB.

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We have been discussing certain criminal justice truths as they apply to two high-profile matters. In one case, a dentist was charged with sexual assault. In the other, a dentist was charged with a drug-related fraud.

In both cases, the defendants are alleged to have abused their position of trust in order to perform their evil deeds.

Today, the Boston Globe , tells us of the arraignment in another such matter, this time playing out in Malden District Court.

This case involves 34-year-old Darnell K. Booth (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) stands accused of the rape of a 16-year-old Everett girl last month.

According to the Commonwealth, the Defendant was working as an Uber driver at the time the two met. He drove her in June and then allegedly contacted her through Snapchat. On July 5, she needed a ride to a summer school program.  Coincidentally, the Defendant contacted her on Snapchat to ask if she needed a ride.

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