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.

Articles Posted in Felonies and Violent Crimes

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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At the end of last week, the United States Attorney’s office issued a press release. The posting of it, as we have discussed in the past, as recently as last week, is apparently deemed necessary in LawenforcementLand to let us know that they are doing their job and arresting people.

Whether those people turn out to be guilty, of course, is another issue. In the meantime, of course, they will be presumed innocent…and assumed guilty.

To be fair, though, the federal prosecutor’s office generally gets the convictions that they are after.

As I recall, this was released around the same time I was getting posts on my IPhone that they were trying to find some gang member who apparently had escaped from federal custody. Yes, that would be the same office.

But I digress.

According to the release, two gentlemen from Cambridge were among 56 alleged “MS-13” gang members, leaders and associates who were taken into custody by law enforcement Friday morning.
Erick Argueta Larios, aka “Lobo,” 31, and Herzzon Sandoval, aka “Casper,” 34, both of Cambridge, had been indicted on federal racketeering conspiracy charges.
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Yesterday, we discussed the recent shooting/stabbing case which unfolded in Brookline this week.

“Yes, you were kind of mean to the nice Police Chief about his statements and the arrests.”

Do you think so?

“Yes and you left off suggesting that the way the police handled this matter put me in some kind of danger”.

So I did. I tend to find that when the authorities decide to make “urgent” and rushed arrests…before even thinking the whole matter through… the general population is put at risk.

“How so?”

In a number of ways. For example, one thing I often find when law enforcement rushes through to make arrests is that they increase the risks of getting it wrong. This is a reality to which, when mentioned, officers generally scoff. You will notice that they also seldom reconsider and admit that they might have been wrong.

Not solving a violent case correctly, as opposed to “expediently” puts us all in danger as the true culprits are often left unprosecuted. This should be apparent on its face. The flip side of this danger is something fewer people end up having to worry about.

This would be the folks who end up facing charges for things like home invasion, assault and attempted murder who shouldn’t be.

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It is a Boston violent story that is continuing to unfold. The ongoing criminal investigation apparently continues although law enforcement is already pointing fingers.

Wednesday, three men were wounded in shootings and stabbings in Brookline’s Coolidge Corner. Brookline police say that the violence was related to a home invasion.

Brookline Police Chief Daniel C. O’Leary explained that the incident began around 11:50 a.m. Wednesday when officers responded to a report a disturbance on St. Paul Street. When officers arrived, they say they found signs of a struggle in the stairs and hallway leading up to an apartment. One man, who was found with several gunshot wounds to the leg as well as a stab wound, was found and taken out of the apartment.
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Boston’s MBTA travelers have been having a rough time over the past year. First were the disasters of the Winter of 2015. This was followed by other types of problems such as a runaway train and threats of fare hikes. A couple of days ago, there was the example of another type of T Disaster.

Someone apparently got angry and began to shoot at people. Two men were hit. Thankfully, the injuries were not life threatening.

This is not to say that the shootings were simply random or the typically touted “acts of terror”. They followed a fight.

Hence the explosive anger.

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…And so our list continues.

Law enforcement has appeared at your door, interested in coming in to either look around, have a chat or both.

Now what?

I had just finished the second of five points for you to keep in mind when we left off.

Suggestion 3. Thou Shalt Not Give False Information

Whether or not you choose to carry on conversations with the investigating officers is your choice. However, that does not mean that you are free to tell them anything you want.

The law does not give you the license to lie to the investigators.

In fact, in Massachusetts, to give false information to law enforcement is to commit a felony. That felony, ironically, is called “Intimidation Of A Witness” for some reason which continues to allude me.

Sometimes, as it does with logic, the law has its own way of defining words.

However, the meaning of the law is clear. You cannot lie to law enforcement.
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In my last blog, we discussed the scene where law enforcement is banging on your door and asking to come in. Let’s assume that they have come for something other than simply a social visit or to congratulate you on being such a great citizen.

Let’s also assume that, all things being equal, you would prefer not to be part of their ongoing criminal investigation.

I am not one for giving orders, so you may wish to consider the following five items to be suggestions rather than commandments.

Rather strong suggestions:

Suggestion No.1: Thou Shall Try To Ascertain If There Is A Warrant And What It Is For

It is usually a good idea to find out if, indeed, the officers have a warrant. If they do not, then they may not have a right to bother you if you prefer they go away.
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Yesterday, we began discussing two of a myriad of matters in which civilians and police officers met…violently. In those two matters, as is too often the case, death for somebody was the result.

I said that there was an important reality here which could effect you.

“Sam, I have read many of your past blogs. I know that you have always advised that when investigating officers approach me, I should not try to out-run, out-talk or out-fight them. Let’s assume I don’t. Let’s assume I also do not go out committing crimes. So, how would I be in a position to ‘learn’ from these tragic episodes?”

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Michael Pupura (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is 36-years-old and from Westwood. He is also learning an important lesson in criminal justice reality. If the allegations against him are true, he is learning that the system does not forgive violent criminal acts just because the accused is polite or tried to mitigate psychological damage on the victim.

The Defendant was arraigned Monday in Roxbury Municipal Court. He currently faces two counts of aggravated rape.

He has pleaded “not guilty”.

According to the Commonwealth, the Defendant followed the woman out of a Boston supermarket, forced his way into her apartment and, therein, raped her twice. He is then said to have apologized and explained to the woman that his actions were not a “reflection on her” and that it was not her fault.
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