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) 206-1942.

Articles Posted in Felonies and Violent Crimes

…And so it still continues.

Let’s turn to the end of December and look south for example. This time in Decatur, Georgia. The dead man is 44-year-old Kevin Davis.

His involvement with law enforcement occurred when…he called them seeking their protection.

Folks remember Davis as a kind and loving man. air kindness included inviting coworker Terrance Hilyard, who was going through a rough time, to stay with him and his girlfriend, April Edwards, in their small apartment.. She took him up on the offer. Things did not end well.

On December 29, 2014, there was an argument between Edwards and Hilyard. Apparently, the argument escalated to the point where Hilyard stabbed Edwards with a kitchen knife. When Hilyard then fled the home, Davis called 911. He and his wounded girlfriend retreated to the bedroom to await the police in safety.

There they waited.

Until Davis heard gunfire from the home’s front room.

Fearing that Hilyard had returned with a gun to finish what she had started, Davis grabbed his own gun and went to the front room.

The shots fired were not from Hilyard. Nor had she returned. The shots were fired from the protectors whom Davis was desperately awaiting.

Police Officer Joseph Pitts, the first officer to arrive on the scene had fired those shots…into Davis’threelegged dog, Tooter.

And Davis was next.

As he entered the room, Davis was gunned down by Officer Pitts. Two shots. Officer Pitts claims that Davis was ordered to drop his weapon but did not comply soon enough.

On the streets, if not in the law, this can be a capital offense.

Interestingly, witnesses say that they never heard Officer Pitts announce himself. They also claim that there was no command for Davis to drop the gun until after the shots we fired.

Also unknown is what Tooter the crippled dog had to to earn his shooting.

Davis was then arrested, charged with aggravated assault of a police officer, and transferred to a hospital in police custody, where he would die two days later.

The family is reporting that they were not allowed to visit him as he languished and died, in custody,

Davis’ protection of Edwards ended more successfully than the police department’s protection of him. She was transported to emergency care, her wounds punctured an artery in her right arm, but she has since recovered
…But that’s in Georgia. How are the streets treating law enforcement here in the Commonwealth?

Well, on Thursday morning in Bourne, it looks like a member of the United States Coast Guard actually set a deadly trap for police officers.

You see, police received a number of calls describing a car fire and explosions on Roundhouse Road at about 2:15 a.m. When officers arrived, they found a car engulfed in flames blocking the road, police said. At the same time, police got a 911 call from a woman saying she and another woman, both members of the coast guard, had been shot and that the male assailiant had fled the scene.

Apparently, he hadn’t gone far though.

When the police arrived, 31-year-old United States Coast guardsman Adrian Loya, of Chesapeake, Virginia, is said to have shot atthe officers, hitting one of them in the back, below his bullrt proof vest.

Loya was subdued, alive, and charged a number of criminal charges including the ambush of the officers and the shooting of the women. The police say that the shooting was the result of a home invasion gone deadly. In fact, one of the two women died at the scene.

the wounded officer and surviving shooting victim were rushed to a Rhode Island hospital and treated.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Sad Reality Of Police Shootings (Both Ways)

My experience with police shootings began when I was an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, New York. Clearly, the problem has not gone away and is not limited to any one state.

“But, Sam, these are two stories and only one has to do with a police officer shooting someone.”

True. But in order to understand and protect your self from the reality of police shootings, it is important to understand stories like the one on Cape Cod.

So… Let’s begin with that subject matter in my next blog.

On Monday.

in the meantime, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

For the full story upon which this blog is based, please go to: and

The tragedy we remember today was as horrible and ugly as they come. And come they have. Repeatedly.

Too often, the tragedy results in the death or serious injury of our children. Often, it is our children who perpetrate the deed.

It happened again just last week. This time it was in Murraysville, Pennsylvania. This time it was at the Franklin Regional High School. This time it was knives.

Just as school was about to start, a student armed with two knives walked through the building and began stabbing people. By the time it was over, two students were in critical condition at a nearby hospital and the third was on life-support.

School violence seems to have become an almost expected reality. In days gone by, there was always some such violence. However, school-related stabbings, shootings and killings frequentLy found in the news.

We try to fight the trend via the usual approach, namely, jacking up criminal penalties and enacting do-nothing-but-feel-good such as semi-recent anti-bullying law. The result? The citizenry feels good for a little while and the problem continues.

Some approaches, however, show some promise.

The seriousness with which instances of school violence are treated changed after the Columbine massacre. Then, a couple of years ago, a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six adults at the Sandyhook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Now, there is even more scrutiny of security procedures in schools.

For better…and for worse.

“I don’t think anybody walks around saying it’s not going to happen here,” said John Panica, who works as a school resource officer at Massachusetts’ Newton North High School. “I think people say it could, and as long as you’re prepared you’re able to deal with those things.”

“It was a wake-up call that it can happen in any town and in any place in America,” said Canton Detective Chip Yeaton, who works as a school resource officer at Canton High School. Yeaton, who also serves as the president of the Massachusetts Juvenile Police Officer’s Association – an organization that represents school resource officers – estimated that about 70 percent of school districts in the state have at least one police officer working in a school.

Immediately after Sandy Hook, Reading police Officer Corey Santasky worked with the school district to review its building security, and spent time at schools to reassure children and parents that students were protected.

“After Sandy Hook, I went to all of the elementary schools every day and greeted the kids every morning to show them we’re there to help them and keep them safe,” he said.

Police presence is seen as serving two functions. First of all, and perhaps most important to many, it offers a feeling, if not reality, of security. Second, police point to the relationships they’ve built with students and teachers as proactive measures that have helped prevent possible mass shootings. In Marshfield, for example, police got word of an attack planned for 2005 to coincide with the sixth anniversary of the April 20, 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado that left 15 people dead. Three students who plotted a similar attack in 2001 were thwarted in New Bedford.

But more often than not, school cops can be found in the halls chatting and listening to students. Some are plainclothes, and some, like Santasky, wear a uniform. Walking the halls of Reading High School, Santasky said he believes listening to kids can prevent major problems.

“My goal is to make sure they can trust me, that I’m a resource for them,” Santasky said.

More and more police officers are being stationed in Massachusetts schools – serving as role models and lecturing to classes on drugs and alcohol, bullying and, more recently, cyber activity such as sexting. Most appear to be masters of small talk: They schmooze with students to gain trust, pull lunch monitor duty like teachers, and walk a beat through the halls in between classes, trying to learn as many names of students as possible. Many even spend some of their weekends at schools, attending games, dances, and plays.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Law Enforcement, Schools And Your Children (Part One)

Nobody can disagree that having a police presence at a school means extra security. It might even help in easing kids’ views about the police.

This blog generally focuses on warning the reader about dangers the Massachusetts crimnal justice system (and the nightmare called DCF) presents to the unwary.

Most people, particularly the innocent, are indeed unwary.

You will notice that I mentioned above that this extra attention to school violence has both positive and negative effects. The positive ones are pretty obvious. Take the police presence for example. More police presence provides extra security should a problem arise. Further, if handled correctly, the police may even strike up relationships with kids which serve as a more positive foundation to those kids’ reaction to law enforcement.

Everyone is happy with the positives…but few truly understand the negatives.

That is, until said negatives effect their child.

What do I mean?

Check back tomorrow.

For the original stories upon which this blog is based, please go to

At least 75 people were arrested yesterday by the Boston Police Department during a targeted raid in the Boston neighborhood of Roxbury.

The raid, called “Operation H,” took place around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning in an effort to crack down on drug deals and gang-related violence in the neighborhood before the beginning of summer. As of mid-afternoon yesterday, 75 individuals had been arrested for violent and drug-related crimes including cocaine and heroin dealing. At least 14 individuals were indicted by a special grand jury and arraigned Tuesday morning in Suffolk Superior Court. All of the individuals arrested, according to police, were considered dangerous and had been involved in gun violence.criminal-defense.jpg

Most of the charges against the gang members were brought on by a targeted narcotics investigation. According to Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis investigators had been building their case against gang members for several months.

“Detectives videotaped the suspects selling illegal drugs to undercover officers from various locations. The suspects were openly plying their drug trade, victimizing the community and creating an atmosphere of fear — today’s arrests will give residents back their neighborhoods,” Davis said.

Investigators will be now be seeking search warrants for several residences to gather more evidence for the case, as well as pressuring individual group members to provide additional information about several unsolved violent crimes around the city, including the January shooting of a 13-year old boy. The boy, Gabriel Clarke, was shot while walking to choir practice on Humboldt Avenue. Clarke fortunately survived the ordeal, and police believe that he was an innocent victim who was caught in the middle of a violent gang rivalry.
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The Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog has discussed the suggested procedure when law enforcement is upon you and investigating you for a possible crime. I have maintained that the safest practice is to not try to out-run, out-talk or out-fight the investigators. I suggest you invoke your right to an attorney and comply politely with what you are required to do.

After all, you are suspected of committing a crime. That is why it is called a criminal investigation.

The case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) and the issue of his timely receiving Miranda Rights goes to the very heart of this. Think twice before you wish to make exceptions to his Constitutional Rights because he is the villain of the day.

Tomorrow, you may be a suspected villain.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Miranda Rights, Statements And You

When it comes to answering questions of investigating officers, most folks do not understand the ground rules. The investigators do, of course. They utilize them every day for a living. The Miranda Rights do not fully advise the target of those rules either, by the way. It only advises that the rules exist to some extent.

Miranda Rights are necessary in only certain circumstances. They fit here. The Defendant has to be in custody and in that custody because he is the suspect of the crime about which he is being questioned. Both are undeniable here. It cannot, then, fit under any of the exceptions which would otherwise allow law enforcement to delay reading the Rights. The only one here is the public safety exception.
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As you may recall, yesterday’s Attorney Sam’s Take was as slated to continue the story of representing females in criminal cases Massachusetts violent crimes cases.

Unfortunately, this post was unable to be made yesterday as planned. I apologize. However, it will greet you bright and early on Monday morning.

In the meantime, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

An investigation that recently led to the closure of a Massachusetts crime lab could have some defendants who were convicted of drug crimes filing their appeals. The lab, which is located in Jamaica Plain, was shut down after state police discovered that chemist Annie Dookhan did not follow testing protocols and may have improperly handled drug samples. At this time, state authorities are not sure how many of these samples were tainted. However, in the wake of these recent revelations, Department of Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach, has announced his resignation.

The Boston Globe reports that Dookhan was involved in the testing of over 50,000 drug samples related to about 34,000 defendants from 2003 to 2012. One of the cases linked to Dookhan is the 2010 Suffolk County drug investigation that led to the conviction of Larry Blue for weapons and cocaine traffic offenses involving 14 to 28 grams and the sale of narcotics within 1,000 feet of a school.

During Blue’s trial, Dookhan testified that she was in charge of “quality control/quality assurance” at the drug lab, which included ensuring that balances were in proper effect, policies and procedures were being abided by, and all machines were working correctly. Looking back at this testimony, some Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers are now asking whether even the samples that other chemists at the lab handled may have also been contaminated. (Dookhan also mentioned that she conducted 30 to 50 preliminary tests a day, and, along with three other chemists, performed confirmatory tests on drug samples that had already gone through initial testing.)

Such speculation is raising concerns that there might have been other problems with the way the crime lab was run. (The Massachusetts Department of Public Health was in charge of the lab until police took over in July.) For example, reports that a backlog in work may have hurt testing quality and delayed some criminal cases. In 2007, overtime was reduced by 50% even though there was a backlog of 8,000 samples. By 2011, turnaround time was taking about 140 days/sample. Compare that to in 2004 when the turnaround time per sample was approximately 30 days.

Lawyers expect appeals in Mass. crime lab case,, September 13, 2012

Team 5 Investigates: Massachusetts drug lab in chaos, WCVB, September 15, 2012

DPH chief Auerbach resigns over lab scandal, lands new job, Boston Herald, September 17, 2012

More Blog Posts:

False convictions and improper sentencing almost certain after lab debacle, Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog, August 31, 2012
Boston Police department assists with arresting international drug traffickers, Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog, September 5, 2012

More Blog Posts:
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Yesterday, we discussed the rather dismal view of cyber-attacks against the country’s computers and, in fact, against the country itself. The situation is summed up by the words of Mike Tuchen, chief executive of the Boston data security company Rapid7 LLC. He tells us that virtually all company networks will be breached sooner or later. The only question remaining is when they will find out. In his words, “The question isn’t will I get compromised, but how quickly will I discover it when I am.”

Waltham-based computer security company CounterTackInc.’s Chairman William Fallon adds that, in order to defend against these attacks, “The best thing you can do is to have intelligence, not just spending all your money throwing up walls, which is not going to work.”

After the various years of experiences in dealing with these problems (not to mention the years in which the government only had access to such tools) and who knows how much money spend on them…the situation looks pretty dismal.

Now let’s turn to something which may seem totally different, but, as you will see, isn’t when it comes to a particular crucial point.

As you have probably heard, Boston was the scene of horrendous

When I left off in my last blog, I was making the point that more people were apt to disagree with the old adage that it is better to let 100 people guilty people go free than to send 1 innocent man to prison. It is, by the way, one of the beliefs which serves as the foundation of our criminal justice system, of course. However, I would imagine that many folks would argue that such beliefs made more sense hundreds of years ago and that such ideas are out of touch with the realities with which we live today.

Given what I do for a living, you may not be too shocked to hear that I still agree with the old adage.

I think I would be more willing to give law enforcement, including prosecutors, the benefit of the doubt more if the system were truly what it says it is.

Things like Melissa’s Bill, which mandate no parole for certain repeat violent offenders, are founded upon what the system pretends to be….but isn’t.

I would imagine that even the most ardent supporter of such legislation would think twice about supporting the new law if it were a given that police officers often lie and can be quite blind in their investigations,, prosecutors are advocates for their boss’ political careers and that the presumption of innocence has basically been replaced with an assumption of guilt. After all, I would like to think that while we may be bloodthirsty when it comes to criminal defendants….we like to assume that we have the right person behind bars.

Both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney I have folks allege that corruption rules the criminal justice system. I have heard suggestions of paid off jurors, judges and prosecutors not to mention defense attorneys who sell their client down the river for extra favors in other cases. I must tell you that, after a quarter century in the criminal justice system, I have not witnessed any of that.

What I have seen, however, is arguably just as bad.
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If you needed more evidence that the Commonwealth is in the mood to slam the cell doors shut on repeat violent offenders, you got it this week.

In Boston, Governor Deval Patrick held a private signing ceremony on Thursday to enact a law which removes the possibility of parole for certain repeat criminal offenders.

Among other advocates, present front and center was the man who championed the cause of this bill, Les Gosule. Mr. Gosule lost his daughter to the savage kidnap- rape-murder by such an offender in 1999. The bill suddenly gain new life after the murder nearly two years ago of Woburn Police Officer John “Jack” Maguire by a repeat offender.

Yes, that would be the one that brought about the dismantling and re-creation of the Parole Board about which there are complaints about folks entitled to parole not getting out.

Call it a “criminal justice ripple effect“.
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Suffolk Superior Court Judge Linda Giles ordered a halt to a murder trial over concerns regarding two witnesses who were involved in a stabbing yesterday afternoon in downtown Boston. Giles noted that she is “extremely reluctant to [postpone] this trial” due to the possibility that granting a delay could “set a precedent that all you have to do to derail a first-degree murder trial… is attack some of the participants,” but is choosing to go forward with the decision due to the condition of the witnesses. “I am basing it on two potential defense witnesses,” she said, in reference to the severity of their wounds.

Giles is presiding over the first-degree murder trial of two Dorchester men accused in the shooting of another woman. According to prosecutors, a second man was injured in the shooting but survived. However, he was reportedly not among the victims of yesterday’s stabbing.
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