Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog
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.

We are going through a rather bumpy ride through this political season. Insults are being handed out like candy, including against the Commander-In-Chief. However, there are limits (at least, as to most presidential candidates) which folks are supposed to know they cannot breach.

Do you know what they are?

Alex Hernandez, 31 and hereinafter the “Defendant” may have missed that particular memo.

The Defendant, an inmate at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater, has been charged with threatening to kill President Barack Obama.

The charges were brought Monday with two counts of threatening to kill the President and inflict bodily harm upon him.

You may be wondering how in inmate in state prison got out to threaten the President.

Well, actually, he didn’t.

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Look, there is no question about whether robbery is a serious crime in Massachusetts.  Thus, the circumstances were certainly intense in Methuen yesterday.

36-year-old James Dobbins (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) was arraigned today at Beth Israel Hospital. He is charged with robbing a convenience store…armed robbery while masked.

The Defendant is in the hospital because he was shot at least four times by detectives. This took place when investigating officers went to talk to him about the robbery.

According to the Commonwealth, the Defendant called officers to the apartment complex. Then “without warning drew a black firearm, pointed it at the officers and began to move at them rapidly.”

Not the wisest thing to do should you wish to stay alive a bit longer.

He is alive, though, the Boston Herald tells us . Meanwhile, the four officers involved have since been placed on administrative leave, which is common procedure with such shootings.

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You may be suffering under the misnomer that you have the right to dance on public property.

Basically, you do.

Unless law enforcement tells you that you don’t.

Let me give you a for instance…one that can be viewed on video at, among other places, the Huffington Post.

The issue of dancing at the Jefferson Memorial dates back a few years. Folks went to the Memorial to commemorate the president’s 265th birthday by dancing silently, while listening to music on headphones.

Park Police ordered the revelers to disperse.  When the dancers apparently mocked the officers and refused to stop dancing, they were arrested.

Rather Forcefully arrested.

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Baltimore Police Officer Edward Nero, hereinafter, the “Defendant”, has made a fairly unusual decision.

The Defendant is one of three officers who arrested 25-year-old Freddie Gray, a man of color, about a year ago. Mr. Gray apparently made eye contact with one of those officers and then allegedly began running in a high crime area. Upon arresting him…for something… the officers took Mr. Gray into custody and placed him in the back of a police van.

When the van arrived at the police station 45 minutes later, Mr. Gray was critically injured.

Mr. Gray died a week later, sparking protests and fueling the Black Lives Matter movement, becoming a rallying cry in the growing national conversation about the treatment of black men by police. On the day of his funeral, rioting and looting broke out and a city-wide curfew was imposed as the National Guard rolled in to help restore order.

 

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On Friday, we began discussing a particular meeting in Pittsfield where law enforcement made an unfortunate declaration about gang-related violence.

It would appear that the local police department is waiving the fear-mongering flag of “gang violence” without much of a basis and is relying on the stale standard chorus of “just trust us…we don’t really have the time to be up front”.

When one looks between the lines…one sees the questionable basis.

Few people, however, look between this lines, especially when the alleged danger seems so great.  They tend to simply take the advice of law enforcement.

“Just trust us”.

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Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn is sounding an all-too-familier cry.

Simply put, “The gangs are coming! The gangs are coming!”

After all, this is a time where there is a great deal of violent crime, usually gun-related, throughout the Commonwealth. Attention of late has also shifted to the alleged criminals upon who’s word the Commonwealth has depended in putting other accused individuals away. That can’t bring too much comfort to law enforcement.

But I digress.

Of course, the Chief is actually saying that the gangs are not only “coming”, but are actually here.  In fact, he has announced that this is an opinion he has held for many years, although, for some unannounced reason, he says that the department did not talk about it.

Watch the video!  I did not make it up!

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One of the major subjects today is the problem of “distracted driving”. It is the latest motor vehicle crime which is nearly over-taking drunk driving (OUI) in the headlines.

Just ask a certain police officer in Reading who, according to the CBS, may have been texting while driving. Apparently, a woman took a photo of the officer which shows a him with one hand on the wheel and the other holding a mobile device. The officer is looking down at the device which raises questions about whether the officer was texting.

The photographer claims that he was.

This is a case in which, it would appear, there has been no arrest…yet. The criminal investigation is continuing. I would suggest that the question is what the charges will be as opposed to whether there will be any charges.

It is a story that brings an important reminder home to roost.

Again.

The incident took place in Dorchester this past Sunday at approximately 1:15 a.m.

According to the Boston Herald , a fight began. It really does not matter why.

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Granted, it was longer ago than I had expected, but when we left off, we were discussing Cell Site Simulators – often referred to as “Stingrays”, one of the newer investigative tools of law enforcement. The Stingray is used to gather sensitive information about cell phone users by essentially tricking their phones into thinking they are communicating with cell phone company towers, when in fact they are communicating with law enforcement.

The Stingray not only gathers data about the intended target, but can also sweep up information from countless bystanders who end up monitored just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Since the days after September 11, 2001, law enforcement, on varying levels, has been given extra powers to eat away at our various rights, particularly those regarding privacy. The process, whether it is a murder case, a drug case or any other case has almost become predictable

Step One: “No, we could not spy on someone like that. It is not allowed”;

Step Two: “We cannot spy on folks like that in regular criminal cases. We only get o use those extra powers when dealing with terrorism”;

Step Three: Ok, we figure we ARE allowed to use those powers in normal criminal cases…but we don’t have the funding to do so; and, finally,

Step Four: Yes, of course we used it to fight regular crime. Doesn’t ALL criminal behavior endanger our way of life?

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Today is April Fool’s Day.

It seems fitting then, to begin this story today. No, the story is not a joke. Not the funny kind, anyway.

It is a subject that makes fools of many of us.

In the days, weeks, months and years after September 11 2001, our law enforcement leaders, both prosecutors and politicians, explained that they needed more powers in order to fight the scourged of terrorism.

Folks like me, the stick-in-the-mud liberal “zealots” in favor of actually respecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution had a problem with giving all those powers carte blanche.
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