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.

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.

But.

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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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In my last blog, we discussed two pending cases involving Massachusetts dentists. One was charged for sexual assault and the other was for using his position to get drugs illegally.

We started discussing similarity “between the lines” with the two cases.  It comes down to the fact that they are both “high profile” cases.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Changes Involved In High Profile Cases

For more years than I care to remember, I have handled “high profile” cases .

In the previous century, I began my professional career as a prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York. There was no shortage of high-profile criminal prosecutions. It was the 1980s, the early days of the crack epidemic, a high point in racial unrest and the changing of how much the media affected criminal cases. I saw from the point of view of the prosecutor the considerations and how they change when the matter is in the public Eye.

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This has been a bad week for dentists of the Commonwealth already…and it’s only Wednesday!

Let’s start with a Worcester dentist  arrested Monday after allegedly indecently assaulting an adult patient.

According to law enforcement, police responded at around 11:00 am to a report of a woman claiming to have been indecently assaulted. The 35-year-old female complainant reported that during her 9 a.m. appointment with her long-term dentist, Dr. Nikilkumar (Nikhil) Patel, 54, he touched her inappropriately on several occasions.

The woman said that she  immediately got up from the dentist chair and left the office, police said. The sexual assault unit was sent to meet with the woman and, after that meeting, went to the office of Dr. Patel.

After the brief meeting, they took him into custody.

According to Boston.com,   Dr. Patel was charged with indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14.

He was arraigned yesterday at Worcester District Court.

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In my last posting, we spoke about a particular defendant who was arrested for drug crimes. Members of his family were also arrested at the scene for, basically, trying to prevent the arrest from taking place as the officers had intended it. Let’s call them, collectively, the “Defendant Family”.

On Thursday, I indicated that the Defendant Family would already be  affected by their arrest even if they ended up being found “not guilty”.

What many people still do not realize is that you do not need to be convicted to lose your “innocence” under the law.

A Clerk Magistrate hearing takes place in some cases before an arraignment. There is no judge at such a hearing, only a Clerk Magistrate. The purpose of the hearing is to decide if there is probable cause for the Clerk Magistrate to issue a criminal complaint. Should the criminal complaint issue, the next step is an arraignment.

This is why the Clerk Magistrates hearing is so critical to a defendant. It is the last stop before an arraignment. It is more than worth doing all that you can, usually through counsel, to get one. We have discussed the requirements and procedures for this in earlier blogs and, I am sure, will return to them again at some point.

But not today.

As you know, an arraignment is the first time a criminal defendant appears before a judge. At the arraignment, a defendant effectively loses his or her presumption of innocence.

“Sam, how can that be? We are all told that the presumption of innocence never ends unless and until the government proves the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt before a judge or jury.”

You’re right. That is what we are told. In some cases, it is actually close to true.

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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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