…And yet again we have a story in which a Massachusetts teacher is implicated in a sex crime. This time, it is not Possession of Child Pornography, but the actual sexual assault of a child.
Sam and I just wrapped up an attempted murder trial with a Not Guilty on all counts. Over the next couple blog posts I will be discussing various issues that came up throughout the litigation and the strategies that we used in order to put ourselves in the best position at trial. As always, any and all identifying information (names, dates, locations, etc.) will be altered to protect the identity of our clients.
An armed home invasion in Bedford, Massachusetts has left three individuals with various non-life threatening injuries. According to preliminary reports provided by the Bedford Police Department, three additional men broke into the home of the three victims at approximately 2:00 AM on Wednesday morning. The apartment where the altercation occurred is on the second floor of a shop located on North Road in Bedford. The suspects fled from the scene before police arrived—and now Bedford Police are requesting help from anyone who has information pertaining to the invasion.
The men who were injured in the attack are all in their twenties and they all suffered non-life threatening injuries. After police responded to the home invasion, the three victims were transported to a local hospital where they were further interviewed for information that could be helpful in identifying their attackers. Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno issued a statement to reporters saying that he believes that these attacks are not random. Based on evidence acquired from the initial investigation, Chief Robert Bongiorno surmises that the home invasion and subsequent assault are possibly drug related or could have been an attempted robbery. He believes that at least one of the three suspects that carried out the attacks knew one of the victims personally, perhaps through a work connection. Continue reading
The man accused of abusing a dog that came to be known as Puppy Doe over two years ago was sentenced yesterday for larceny charges brought against him in a case relating to the owner of the animal. Radoslaw Czerkawski, a 34 year old Polish immigrant, was found guilty of theft—he had stolen over $130,000 from the elderly dementia patient he had been entrusted to care for. The patient, 95 year old Janina Stock, passed away in August of 2013, and at the time of her death those investigating the matter had discovered that Czerkawski had been stealing her assets as well as neglecting to actually care for the woman. A report claims that in the entirety of the time that Czerkawski spent taking care of Janina Stock, which was roughly seven months or so, he never once took her to her see a doctor. He would frequently leave her alone while he made overnight trips to Connecticut. And according to investigators, he also severely abused, mutilated, and starved the woman’s dog.
The family of Janina Stock is still in shock about what had taken place right under their noses. They expressed a great sense of disbelief and confusion. Radoslaw Czerkawski had apparently informed the Stock family that he was in the country to become a priest. Now he has already stood trial for larceny and faces up to three to five years at MCI-Cedar Junction state prison for his crimes. He is scheduled for a hearing on August 14th, at which time they could potentially set a trial date for his animal cruelty charges. A man that was hired by an elderly woman’s grandchildren to be her constant companion and to provide her with the care she so desperately needed, violated every possible aspect of her life shortly before her death. Continue reading
Alejandro Done, 46, hereinafter, the “Defendant” was in Charlestown District Court this morning. He was arraigned on a rape charge stemming from a July 29, 2006, sexual assault on a woman near Moakley Park.
He remains in custody, held without bail, as the Commonwealth intends to have a dangerousness hearing to show that he should continue to be so held. Said hearing is currently scheduled for July 27th.
This Thursday, the Defendant will be arraigned on charges involving a July 29, 2007, attack along the Esplanade.
You might think that this is bad enough. However, in addition to the summer attacks of 2006 and 2007, law enforcement indicates that the Defendant will be charged with at least three other summertime attacks. These are alleged to have occurred on June 16, 2007, July 13-14, 2009 and June 13, 2010.
Perhaps because of our frustration with not solving actual criminal justice problems, we have convinced ourselves that the more we can define and characterize criminal behavior the more we are actually accomplishing something.
I have to admit that I think instead of accomplishing something, we are actually wasting time and deluding ourselves.
Long ago, we did not treat domestic violence cases seriously enough. Now, anyone associated with the criminal justice system can tell you that the pendulum has swung very far in the opposite direction.
An assault and battery case is, simply, an assault and battery case. The factors surrounding the alleged assault and battery come into consideration by a jury, prosecutor and judge. Certainly, a judge is going to treat a man convicted of beating his wife more seriously than a barroom brawl that simply got out of hand. Further, we would assume that the prosecutor would as well.
But that is not good enough now. Now, domestic violence matters get a great deal of public attention and the criminal justice system, which merely put into affect laws that are passed by our political legislators. The primary concern that I have witnessed, now handling criminal cases in two states and from both sides for 20+ years is the overwhelming drive to avoid negative publicity.
Seeming proactive or “harsh” on crime gets one good publicity. Anything that would suggest the contrary gets bad publicity. It is really that simple.
When I was first approached by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly to comment on the ruling in Commonwealth v. Dossantos, I did not understand why this case was considered noteworthy.
Upon further reflection, though,I realized that it could have been quite noteworthy.
You see, back in 2014, there were changes made to the Massachusetts domestic violence laws. A part of this was General laws chapter 276, section 56(a). This mandated that when a criminal defendant is arrested and charged with a crime against a person or property, the court must inquire of the prosecutor as to whether the Commonwealth alleges that the matter was a domestic violence incident. Should the prosecutor answer in the affirmative, the statute necessitates that the judge “make a written ruling” that the Commonwealth so alleges. In such an event, the defendant’s name is added to a domestic violence registry, “DVRS”.
Let me present that another way. The Charges are read. The judge asks the prosecutor whether it is alleged that the matter involves domestic violence. The prosecutor answers the question (as he or she is also required to do in writing). The issue addressed in this case involves exactly how the court is to react before it reacts…affirming what the prosecutor has just said both orally and in writing.
Now, let’s review what this statute is not. It is not a change in the crime charged, which, at the time this event happens, has already been decided. While this “hearing”,
must take place before bail is addressed, there is no indication that the answer to the question will affect the question of bail. Other than the act of adding the defendants name to the DVRS, there is nothing new for the judge to do upon making the finding in a case where, for example, the defendant is charged with striking his spouse over the Head with a baseball bat. Simply echo that the defendant is charged with a crime of domestic violence.
Well, kinda-sorta. Keep reading.
Multiple news agencies are reporting that a suspect has been placed into custody following a string of serious sexual assaults that have taken place at Boston’s esplanade over a period of about nine years or so. The suspect, whose identity has not yet been released to the public, has apparently been in police custody since this past December. The cause behind this course of action has not been made immediately available, but it can be assumed that law enforcement officials deemed it to be a necessary course of action based off of the man’s extensive history of sexual assault.
The unnamed suspect had been placed into police custody following a specific sexual assault that took place in December 2014. The man had been accused of raping a Cambridge woman, who has also not been identified at the current moment. The man in question allegedly used to be an Uber driver prior to this incident—and this form of employment is actually what led him to come in contact with the female from Cambridge he is accused of assaulting. According to initial reports, the woman contacted the suspect for an Uber ride to an exact destination she needed to reach. When the man picked her up however, he drove her off to a remote location in a secluded area instead and proceeded to sexually assault the victim inside of his car. The man also locked the doors of the vehicle at this time, preventing the woman from trying to escape. The suspect has officially been charged in relation to this particular assault, although the severity of the charges he faces is unknown. Continue reading
On Thursday, June 25th of this year, Quincy police reported that they seized a large supply of heroin that a drug delivery service had been planning on distributing across various nearby cities. The heroin seized by law enforcement officials is said to be worth around $150,000. Quincy police, as well as state troopers and police officers from five other departments spread out across Quincy, Braintree, Randolph, and Brockton in an intense effort to seize the drugs contained in three different “stash houses” within the area. During the operation, police made four arrests, seized three separate vehicles, and found over $25,000 in cash along with the supply of heroin.
The Lieutenant Detective for the Quincy Police Department, Patrick Glynn, has said that the investigation stemming from these actions is currently ongoing, and that they also expect to make more arrests in relation to these events. He believes that if police enforcement is able to take away the key factors that drive these types of delivery services, it may halt wrong-doers in their tracks. Lt. Detective Glynn says that if they are able to take away the profits, product, and transportation used, then law enforcement officials will consider their efforts to be a success.
The group of individuals involved in this extensive drug delivery service was using the products for personal use, and they were also distributing the drugs in bulk to people who contacted them via specific phone numbers. Lt. Detective Glynn went on to say that in addition to the phone calls being placed for these drugs, there also appeared to be a lot of activity surrounding the home on Euclid Avenue in Quincy where they made their discoveries. This rise in activity prompted concern from neighbors in the area—neighbors who just wanted to see their street restored to what it had once been before a drug operation opened its doors nearby.
Two people were arrested on site at the “stash house” located on Euclid Avenue, and two others were arrested in relation to the drug operation at a traffic stop located near Furnace Brook Parkway. The individuals arrested were 25 year old Jordan Martinez from Dorchester, 21 year old Alexa Geracie of Plymouth, 22 year old Luis Guerrero of Chelsea, and 34 year old Brian Stuart of Quincy. Each of the individuals, with the exception of Brian Stuart, has been charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws as well as trafficking more than 200 grams of heroin. Brian Stuart, however, is only being charged with conspiracy to violate drug laws.
The other stash houses located on Bridle Path Circle in Randolph and Fenton Street in Brockton resulted in police seizing three vehicles—a Mercedes Benz, an Infiniti, and a Honda Accord.
Although Lt. Detective Glynn anticipates the raids that took place on Thursday will only deter the heroin supply in Quincy for a few days, law enforcement officials are counting this as a victory despite that fact. They made the streets a little safer, and halted the possibility of further drugs being distributed by these individuals. Every small step is a step toward a great triumph.
And Lt. Detective Glynn also wants those who plan to rebuild this operation to know one thing—the police will be there to take down that initiative, too.
*Additional quotes and information can be found in the original article found here: http://www.wickedlocal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=%2F20150626%2FNEWS%2F150627338%2F12581%2FNEWS