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.

Roman Correa (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is only 19 years old. He is said to be a “good student”.

Without the aid of a criminal defense miracle, his life, as he has known it, is probably over.

The Defendant, 19 years of age and a senior at Holyoke’s Dean Technical High School, has been charged with heroin trafficking.

He is presently being held on $50,000 bail.

He was arrested on Friday, along with his mother and sister, when law enforcement raided a home in the city’s Six Corners section and reportedly seized more than 800 bags of heroin.

He was arraigned on Monday when he pleaded “not guilty” to trafficking and related charges during his arraignment Monday in Springfield District Court.

Detectives seized 840 bags of heroin, $635 in cash and drug paraphernalia, according to the Commomnwealth.

During the raid, the Defendant’s mother and sister allegedly tangled with police, leading to charges against them, They were charged with resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer.

According to Mass Live, at the arraignment, the prosecutor asked for $50,000 bail for theDefendant, citing the large volume of heroin allegedly seized plus the fact he is apparently on probation in another heroin case in Holyoke District Court.

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If you are one of the many who still believe that convictions for “white collar crime” such as embezzlement or larceny do not bring jail or prison sentences…think again.

As we have discussed in the past, the authorities have been working very hard to dispel that belief. Take Robert Scatamacchia (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) for example.

The Defendant is not the type of man you would expect to see either at the defense table in court or wearing the appropriate garb in a Massachusetts prison.

But now, he has done both.

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There are various periodicals we lawyers read to keep up with not only what is happening system-wide, but also what is up with the rest of the world which we might be missing due to the myopia of our work. One which I quote from often (and thankfully returns the favor from time to time) is the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly . Another is the American Bar Association Journal .  The latter has given me the idea for today’s blog.

According to the Journal, “Pokemon characters are on the loose, and it’s your job to catch and collect them.”

I suppose to those “in the know” that sounds fun. While I don’t know how this works in the “augmented reality” of Pokemon, I do know that not everything that is fun in this world is safe if you would like to keep living in relative freedom.

We are talking about the new “Pokemon Go” app, which uses your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where you are and make Pokemon characters appear on your phone screens. “The Pokemon characters may be in public places such as parks, beaches and even bathrooms, and players have to go to the locations to find them.”

Sounds safe enough, right?

Well, maybe not so much.

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In my last blog, we discussed the case of two gentlemen who were taken into custody at Logan Airport and are facing heavy drug charges. They were arraigned in state court,

The cases are unlikely to stay there, though.

While they are currently in district court, they are likely to be indicted and prosecuted either in state superior court or federal district court.

Or, at least one of them is.

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 We have discussed a number of cases during which law enforcement is paying a great deal of attention on what is going on in the country’s airports. No, not simply for cases of potential terrorists.

The last one, this weekend, involved trafficking.

Narcotics trafficking.

On Saturday, the authorities say that two Pennsylvania men tried smuggling six kilograms of cocaine through Logan International Airport by stuffing bricks of the drug into the lining of their bags. This made the lining unusually heavy, according to police, which made the bag suspicious.

Ezra Mendez, 19, and Erick Domingues-Santos, 25, both of Allentown, Pa., and hereinafter collectively, the “Defendants”, were set to appear in East Boston District Court yesterday to face charges of trafficking in cocaine and conspiring to violate drug laws.

The Defendants, arriving on a flight from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Saturday morning, tried passing through customs 10 minutes apart, each carrying a black roller bag, according to state police according to the Boston Herald

When airport workers noticed an “abnormality” in the bags during the screening process, they emptied the totes, which had a thicker bottom liner than usual and felt “unusually heavy,” state police said.

This undoubtedly raised suspicions even higher given that “false bottom” bags are a common way by which contraband is often secreted.

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Ok, so where do the last few blogs, including yesterday’s, leave us?

The point is that what you have been raised to believe , and what our political leaders would like you to believe and wonderful theories upon which our system is based  do not always translate into reality very well. Does this mean that everyone is “lying”?

No, not really. I think, to some extent ort other, we try to be in perfect sync with the theories upon which this great country was based. But we are human.

On the other hand, this is not a blog to written to debate philosophies. It is to reflect the reality of the criminal justice system to you, my readers. Therefore, as was the message in yesterday’s blog, I am trying to use the various stories over the past week to help me describe realities about which you should be aware..

You see, in my opinion, the difference between what the system calls the “good guy complainant” and the “bad guy defendant” is not very large. It often hinges on one precarious moment.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Five Realities Of Which You Should Be Aware


  1. “We do not incarcerate people for being poor”

We discussed a new case on this subject earlier in the week in which the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts made this point. The fact is, however, that there are some crimes which will continue to be part of most homeless people’s lives. For example, there is the crime of Trespass. And, standing against the rights of the homeless to be free are the rights of a property owner.

What the law, in balancing the two interests, is saying is that if a homeless person can prove to a jury or judge the necessity of being somewhere in which he or she is otherwise not allowed, it is a valid defense to the crime.

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Now, I know we are in the middle of a three part posting and I owe you the third part. I will post that third part tomorrow. Today, however, something that should be more urgently on your mind.

It could be a drunk driving charge. It could be an allegation of domestic abuse. It could even be an unexpected accusation of rape.

People generally do not venture out expecting to be making an involuntary stop at the local police department before they return home.

But it happens. Especially on holiday weekends.

So, you’d best think about it. When the criminal justice wheels start turning with you inside them, you just might find it harder to think clearly and come up with a plan.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Holiday Police Encounters

Over the holiday weekend of course, court is not open. Therefore, should you end up in police custody, you may have to stay there until Tuesday comes along.

“Isn’t there something I can do about that? I don’t want to spend the weekend in jail.”


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You have probably heard the notion that being broke is not a crime in the United States. After all, they can’t prosecute you simply for being poor, can they?

Well, kinda- sorta.

Try not being able to pay restitution, probation fees or other court costs when you are on probation…!

A particular case covered by the Boston Herald , the Supreme Judicial Court seems to have noticed a case in which our legal theories do not coincide with reality.

David Magadini (hereinafter, the “Defendant”), now 67, was arrested in the Berkshieres . The man was then tried and convicted of criminal trespass. After all, he took shelter in a privately owned building during the harsh winter weather.

Oh, did I mention that he was homeless at the time?

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We have a couple of stories here which relate to each other in terms of a very serious lesson for the readers of this blog. They will take us into next week.

First, let’s look at proposed changes in the laws surrounding assault and battery…when the complainant is law enforcement.

Governor Charlie Baker is proposing new legislation. Should it pass, suspects who allegedly seriously injure a police officer would face up to 10 years in prison.  They would also be disqualified from receiving  a probation-only sentence. This is the apparent new political response to the murder of an Auburn­ police officer at the hands of a criminal with a history of attacking officers. That case, along with a variety of attacks on law enforcement, has sponsored the new concern for our police officer’s safety,

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Alexander Nguyen (hereinafter, the Defendant) has been arrested. Monday was his entry date to the criminal justice system.

The Defendant faces charges charges of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury, threats to kill, disorderly conduct, and disturbing the peace.

It was a “road rage” event.

According to, the Sharon Police Department reports that the Defendant, 21, engaged in the actions at issue on June 12th. They say he got out of his black Acura MDX and “assaulted the victim while the victim’s children watched from the back seat.”

The Defendant is said to have left the scene and Sharon police posted a description of the suspect on its Facebook page on Friday. On Saturday, Nguyen showed up at the police station, where he was arrested, according to police.

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