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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) 206-1942.

Posted On: February 27, 2013

MASSACHUSETTS CHILD MURDER AND ASSAULT CASES MAKE THEIR WAY THROUGH THE COURTS

Well, this week's news in Massachusetts is not great for young children.

For example, in New Bedford today, a 23-year-old gentleman was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to an upgraded charge of murder in the death of his girlfriend's infant daughter. He had previously been arraigned overcharges including assault and child endangerment. Now, however, the child has passed away and so the new charge is murder.

According to the Commonwealth, the nine-month-year-old child died from "blunt force trauma to the head" on January 24 when the defendant was alone with her.

Court documents say the defendant told police he was angry when the child became 'fussy" . he admitted that his way of dealing with that anger was to cause the infant to hit her head twice on the floor. the baby was found to have a large blood clot on her brain.

Meanwhile, a Peabody man faced the final act in his pending child abuse case. Richard Elias was sentenced to up to four years in prison after pleading guilty to shaking and head-butting his 7-week-old daughter. The child's Infraction was apparently that she would not stop crying while he drank beer and played video games.

Authorities say that the abuse took place in October 2011 while his wife was at a Halloween party. the couple took child to the hospital the next day. Doctors determined her injuries included swelling and bleeding in the brain and retinas.

According to the Salem news, Elias' lawyer blamed the abuse on his client's post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from a tour of duty in Iraq with the Army in 2007.

After his release from prison, Mr. Elias will be on Probation for two years ethnobotanist plegia as also sentenced Monday to two years of probation as part of a plea deal

Attorney Sam’s Take On Enhanced Criminal Penalties

Under the law, everybody is entitled to protection under the law. However, some victims are considered entitled to a little bit more.

No, it is not because they are more important, but because they are more vulnerable.

It is considered so loathsome to victimize folks like the handicapped, elderly and very young that there are special statutes set up which either suggest or mandate harsher punishments than in cases where the victim is not as vulnerable.

Of course, some criminal charges, such as murder, cannot really be treated too much harsher. Murder in the First Degree carries a mandatory life sentence without parole. You cannot get higher than that in a state like Massachusetts where there is no death penalty.
The choice of which crime to charge, however, might be changed to fit the circumstances. For example, let’s say that a case where the Commonwealth might otherwise charge a lesser form of homicide…say manslaughter. In the case, let’s assume that Annoying Andy, a drunk 30-year-old kept taunting Danny Defendant and, actually, began to physically push him. Danny hits him over the head with the bottle from which he had been drinking.

The Commonwealth might feel that these circumstances do not necessitate the charge of murder. However, let’s say that it was Nancy Nagger, Danny’s elderly aunt, after having a bit too much of her wine began lecturing Danny on how he had made such a terrible mistake in his recent marriage. She eventually pokes Danny on the chest. Danny returns the poke. With a pool cue to her forehead.

The assault upon Nancy is likely to be prosecuted more aggressively than the one against Andy.

This, of course, like everything else, may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.

One thing that is consistent in the criminal justice system is that, when it comes to results, there is usually not much consistency.


For the original stories upon which this blog is based please go to: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/02/mass_man_arraigned_in_girlfriends_babys_death#sthash.N12SAGds.dpuf and http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/02/peabody_man_gets_up_to_4_years_for_hurting_baby