Toll Free (877) 721-4732
Phone (617) 206-1942


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: May 3, 2013

THREE DARTMOUTH STUDENTS ARE HELD WITHOUT BAIL IN BOSTON’S FEDERAL COURT

In my last Attorney Sam’s Take I told you I would discuss the other high profile court case taking place on Wednesday. The other matter took place at Boston’s federal court.

That’s right, the Boston Massacre bombing case. However, there is a twist to this posting. One that could have easily involved you or your child.

As you may have heard, three college pals of the surviving bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (hereinafter, “Surviving Bomber”), were charged in a related case. No, there is no allegation that they actually participated in the planning or actual bombing. They are alleged to have helped out afterwards.

As authorities have already announced, this criminal investigation is continuing. Investigators intend to find out brothers Dzhokhar and Tam¬erlan Tsarnaev learned the tricks of the terrorist trade, including constructing bombs.

The fact that such information is freely posted on the internet as well as other places notwithstanding.

Leaving no potential stone unturned, officials arrested Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov and Robel Phillipos — all 19 years old and friends of Dzhokhar’s from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (hereinafter, collectively, the “Defendants”). Officials further indicate of the investigators that “…there are all kinds of avenues — 
international, domestic — they’re going to go down until there’s no one else to talk to…If these young people (the Defendants) have other information they haven’t shared with law 
enforcement at this point, they would be well advised to cooperate.”

Two of the three Defendants face charges of conspiring to 
obstruct justice, while the third, a U.S. citizen from Cambridge, was arrested on a
count of making false statements in a terror investigation.

They are currently being held without bail.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Massachusetts Criminal Investigations

First of all, I want to be clear here. I am not involved in this matter in any way. As I have told you previously, I do not blog about any case I am handling unless, at the very least, my client wants me to. In such cases, I will tell you. Thus far, there have only been two during my years in posting.

Second, when something like the Boston Massacre Bombing happens, many of the usual rules go out the window. Sometimes that is necessary; sometimes it is not. Generally, we cannot completely make that call until all…or, at least, most of the facts are in.

While it may seem to some of us that this matter is simply a domestic terrorist action that has only a hint of international flavor…we do not know that for sure yet. Therefore, investigators are continuing their investigation to find out all that they can.
As citizens, we want them to do that.

However, there are two lessons, about which we have often spoken, which are important to notice in this case.

First of all, in the statement quoted above about investigators’ intentions, we have reflected something that is true in most cases…particularly federal criminal cases. Usually, law enforcement does not so readily admit it.

While many might feel that what the Defendants are alleged to have done (protecting your friend, particularly when the full scale of what he may have done is not quite clear) is natural among young people. Particularly teenagers. However, do not be fooled. Understandable or not, they are charged with very serious crimes.

Of course, many folks are charged in serious cases. They are not all held without the right to bail. In fact, many are not held at all. Particularly when we are talking about teenagers who, as far as we know, have no prior records and their lives clearly are about simply going to school.

“So, then, why are they being held without bail?”

We have often discussed in these blogs that law enforcement often makes its case by casting as large a net as possible. This includes arresting people against whom convictions for the crimes charged are unlikely. It is done to bring as much pressure as possible to get the accused to join the “team” and cooperate with the prosecution, giving all the information they know…or the prosecution believes they know.

Now, I do not know what the evidence against the Defendants is. It would appear that much of it is from the Surviving Bomber told law enforcement before he was read his Miranda Rights. Those statements will not be admissible at trial against the Defendants. Further, he is unlikely to testify against them himself given the trouble that HE is in.

So, clearly, it is business as usual in this regard. The point of the arrests is to squeeze as much information out of them as possible.

“Is that really a problem in this case?”

Maybe. You see, in such cases, the prosecution often gets information that may not be reliable. The information is given so that law enforcement will be pleased and the accused will get some sort of “break”.

Remember…law enforcement is allowed to mislead and outright lie in its attempts to get a statement. Does anyone really believe that when they questioned the surviving bomber law enforcement did not lead him to believe that he would be helping HIMSELF by giving them information?”

Would you like to wager that words like, “Come on, you are a good kid. Your brother just kind of brainwashed you. We want to help you get out of this trouble. It wasn’t really your fault…” were not spoken during the interrogations before it became clear that he was being prosecuted and given his rights?

Often, folks in that position will tell law enforcement anything they think law enforcement wants to hear. They are desperate. And, now, held without bail, are the Defendants.

There is one other important thing to notice in this story. It, too, is something that we have often discussed and strikes me as somewhat ironic given what I have just told you.

One of the Defendants is charged with lying to investigators. This is a crime, albeit by different names, in state as well as federal court. It is a felony.

You may have the right to remain silent…but you do NOT have the right to lie (like law enforcement does). If you mislead law enforcement, you are realistically looking at felony criminal prosecution.

“Sam, are you saying that all this is unreasonable under the circumstances?”

Not necessarily. We do not know enough yet. I will, however, tell you about a case where I do think it is unreasonable.

Disgustingly unreasonable.

It will be posted later today.

For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/05/feds_charge_3_pals_of_tsarnaev_in_post_bombing_cover_up