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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: March 16, 2013

NEW HAMPSHIRE MAN IS SENTENCED TO 17 YEARS FOR ARSON ON SUB TO GET OUT OF WORK EARLY

In my last blog, I indicated that I would discuss another issue brought up by the incident involving the moter vehicle case which took the life of a young child. In that matter, the Commonwealth alleges the mother-driver caused the fatal accident by fleeing from a more minor accident.

Meanwhile, a little further north, in New Hampshire, a gentleman has been sentenced in a matter which just about defines the power of bad judgment in certain lives.

Casey Fury, 26 (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) was a painter in May, 2012. One fine day he was working in a submarine. He wanted to leave work early.

The Defendant’s solution? Set fire to the submarine!

Officials say that the fire caused $450 million in damage to the USS Miami while it was dry docked for an overhaul at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery.

Federal prosecutors say that the Defendant actually had involvement with two fire-type crimes. They claim that after the first fire, which injured five first responders as they battled the blaze for 12 hours in cramped quarters aboard the nuclear sub, the Defendant set a second (albeit smaller) fire three week later on the dock, and later, signaled a false alarm by pulling a fire alarm.

Eric Hardy, a shipyard firefighter who suffered back and shoulder injuries fighting the blaze, called it the first fire the worst he had ever seen. “The best way I could describe it, sir, is fighting a fire in a wood stove and climbing down a chimney,” Hardy told the judge.
At sentencing, the Government requested that the Defendant be sentenced to almost 20 years in prison.

Apparently, the first arson damaged forward compartments including living quarters, a command and control center and the torpedo room. It did not reach the rear of the submarine, where the nuclear propulsion components are located.

“The ripple of consequences of the defendant’s conduct is far-reaching,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Darcie McElwee wrote. “The damage to Miami and its removal from the fleet, whether temporary or permanent, will continue to affect the United States Navy for years to come.”

The Defendant’s attorney explained that his client had suffered anxiety problems and “just freaked out” when he set the blaze. He further said that this client “never intended anyone to be hurt or for the first fire to cause as much damage as it did.”

The defense asked for the sentence of 15 years and 8 months, the minimum amount of time the Defendant could receive.

For his part, the Defendant pleaded guilty to the fire. At sentencing, he apologized to o the people who were hurt and saying he meant no disrespect to the Navy.

“From the bottom of my heart, I’m truly sorry for what I have done,” he said.

The court sentenced the Defendant to 17 years in prison and ordered to pay $400,000,000 today in U.S. District Court in Maine.

The Navy determined it was cost-effective to repair the vessel with a goal of returning it to service in the middle of 2015 but its future is now uncertain as repairs have been postponed under mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Misjudgments Which Can Ruin Your Life

Look, I know it can happen in any walks of life. It’s just that I have seen it happen so many times in the criminal justice system with such dire results, that it is worth repeating here.

We all get into some troubles. We really need to get out of work early. We got into a minor accident. A police officer is pulling us over for speeding.

How we deal with the issue can literally ruin our lives.

I know that most people would not set something on fire in order to get out of work early…but we have seen cases where someone who wants to delay a court proceeding or an exam in school calls in a fire or bomb threat. It is not unheard of to read a story where someone tries to flee the scene of an accident and goes on to create further, and worse trouble for themselves and others.

…And, of course, the many cases in which someone is being stopped by the police for some reason and they decide to out-talk, out-run or even out-fight the officers. They usually end up far, far worse off than if they had simply followed the age-old advice of “shut up, be courteous and do what they say”.

“But, Sam, what if the officers are in the wrong?”

That’s where folks like me come in. You contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that your battle can be fought the right way without making a bad situation worse.

Now, I shall follow my own advice. As you may have noticed, there were woefully few blogs posted this week. Certainly not daily as it is supposed to be. Yes, there are reasons, but instead of listing what will look like excuses akin to “my dog ate my homework”, I will simply admit it, face the guilt and move on.

And I just did. Here’s to a better week next week.

Have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to
http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/03/worker_who_set_fire_aboard_sub_gets_17_years