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.

Lynn Man Enters Fray And Faces Attempted Murder Charges

According to today’s Lynn Item, Carmet Cruthird of Lynn was arraigned Friday on attempted murder charges after he allegedly stabbed a man outside a Liberty Street apartment building the day before. However, the circumstances appear a bit sketchy and are likely to not be resolved until the time of trial…which usually takes about a year.

Mr. Cruthird, a gentleman of 60 years, is said to have been involved in some kind of brawl which resulted in a stabbing. Gerald Nason, also of Lynn and 22 years of age, was the recipient of the knife’s blade. However, while law enforcement has labeled him the “victim” of this story, the facts leading up to the stabbing are apparently blurred. For example, one witness said that Cruthird was actually the one being assaulted by a small group of men when he pulled out a knife in self-defense. Other witnesses said that Nason was trying to break up a fight involving Cruthird and another person when he was stabbed.

Everybody seems to agree that the incident occurred around 9:30 p.m. outside of Cruthird’s apartment building.

When the police arrived, they found Cruthird in his apartment bathroom washing his hands and face. According to police, they found Cruthird with an extremely swollen right eye and in need of medical treatment…which was provided after his arrest for armed assault with intent to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.

On Friday, the court ordered Cruthird held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing, which is scheduled for this Thursday.

Sam’s take:

If this story’s result seems confusing to you, then consider yourself about to learn an unfortunate, yet true, lesson regarding the criminal justice system.

Many people find themselves in physical altercations. Sometimes we, especially the younger folk, find it nearly impossible to “back down” when faced with an insult or a threat. After all, nobody wants to lose face. We all know that we could get hurt or worse. Sometimes, though, either that possibility does not occur to us at the time, or we are simply sure that we are up to the task.

But that is not the only threat facing you when in that position.

In this case, there seems to be conflicting stories about how the stabbing took place. At least according to the Item’s account, there were no reports that Cruthird actually started this brawl, which took place outside his own home. Further, it does not seem to be refuted that the group of others were the ones who attacked Cruthird…but nobody else seems to be arrested. Finally, Cruthird is said to have pulled out the knife in self defense and, while his injuries seem to suggest having had need of self defense, he is now being held without bail pending a hearing to decide whether or not he is a threat to the community if released. While I am not personally involved in this matter, I am willing to go out on a legal limb and bet that the prosecutor’s position is not simply that this man is a threat when attacked by a gang of men at his residence.

“So”, you ask, “this does not make any sense to you either, does it, Sam”.

Unfortunately, it does.

One fact is that that the police were not present at the event and so have no firsthand knowledge as to how it transpired. Another fact is that the most injured party was the stabee, Mr. Nason. Fact three is that it seems undisputed that, no matter how or why, Cruthird was the stabber.

And now the bottom line ugly fact about motivations in today’s criminal justice system…the obsession with covering one’s legal and publicity fearing behind. The explanation I have heard the most over the many years I have been entrenched in the courts is, “What happens if I let him go and he goes out and kills someone?” No, that is not a question. It is a statement. It is an admission that tomorrow’s headlines and lawsuits govern a great deal of what happens in the system. I also call your attention to the fact that there is seldom an outcry that someone is “too hard on crime”. And so, I will again gather the facts for you:

1. There was an altercation which the police did not witness;
2. Nason was stabbed and apparently seriously injured; and 3. Cruthird was the stabber.

All else blends into the confusion of the case and is to be determined later. For now, however, the stabber is going to be today’s defendant because if he were to go out and kill someone, there would be huge criticism, and perhaps lawsuits, against law enforcement officials in this case. That is also why, I would suggest, the prosecutor asked that Cruthird be held for a dangerousness hearing.

So, other than the daily gathering of information, what does this have to do with you? A lot. Obviously, if you are attacked by a group of people, you are going to try to defend yourself. However, if there is a choice between “backing down” and engaging in violence, you now have another reason to back down. Simply put, if you lose….you lose. You have lost face and perhaps a few vital organs. If you win…and you win too definitively…you are likely going to jail until it can all be sorted out. Later. Much later.

Assuming it is worked out in your favor, that is. See the need for an experienced lawyer in earlier blogs!

The full article of this story can be found at
http://www.thedailyitemoflynn.com/articles/2008/09/09/news/news09.txt

Contact Information