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.

Boston Red Sox Nation Is Quiet; Assaults, Malicious Destruction and Disorderly Conduct Move To Other Areas

…Gee, and it seemed like such a controllable Commonwealth.

The Red Sox faced the ultimate test again Sunday night. And failed. Sorry ’bout that. But, Boston officials had braced for any resulting outcry of emotion that might…overflow… into violence; they warned everybody to stay away from Kenmore Square, the area in Boston where exists Fenway Park…home of the Sox.

While thousands of fans packed Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida for the game, officials in Boston closed several streets to vehicular traffic and restricted parking in the area surrounding Fenway Park. Police cadets even handed out flyers, asking fans to celebrate…or the other… responsibly.

“I think they are excellent, given what has happened in the past here. I also appreciate that they were so on top of handing them out to everyone. As soon as you came down here, hours before, they were handing them out,” one fan said. The flyer warned against the crimes of unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct and disturbing the peace, as well as the punishments for them. It also warned about the strong police presence. “Enjoy yourself, but stay on campus. Don’t come down to Kenmore Square. If you come down to Kenmore Square, there will be a force of Boston police there,” Boston Mayor Tom Menino said.

Well, Fenway was under control…but people staying in their neighborhoods turned out to be a mixed blessing. Fox example, Gloucester had a few people who might have found those leaflets handy.

Police responded to early morning reports of an unwanted guest at the home of M.N., 17, (hereinafter, “Defendant 1”). When they reported to the scene Melissa S., 37 (hereinafter, “Defendant 2”) was banging on Defendant 1’s door and appeared to damage it. Defendant 2 was taken into custody on charges of malicious destruction of property over $250 and disorderly conduct. When police ran a check on Defendant 2, they found that she had an outstanding warrant for speeding and driving without a license.

Elsewhere in Gloucester, Michael W., 48, (hereinafter, “Defendant 3”), had already been arrested and charged with domestic assault and battery. According to police, they were called to Defendant 3’s home after a complaint came in from his ex-girlfriend. Upon their arrival, she told police that she was returning her 15-year-old son from a visit and was unloading groceries outside of the house when Defendant 3 approached, demanding to speak to her. Apparently, she was not interested in the proposed conversation. So, Defendant 3 took her car keys. When she ran up the street, he allegedly followed, grabbed her by both arms and threw her up against his pick up truck. He also made verbal threats.

And the rambunctiousness was not limited to the northern quadrant of the Commonwealth. In Newton, Daniel D., 41, (hereinafter, “Defendant 4”) was arrested yesterday after allegedly causing a ruckus in BJ’s Wholesale Club on the Providence Highway. He was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer and malicious damage to a motor vehicle.

According to the police, Defendant 4 is said to have suddenly jumped up on a cashier’s moving conveyor belt and, while “riding it”, announcing, “God is a giant and we live inside Him.” He then began knocking items off shelves and disturbing customers and workers. Upon their arrival, police initially handcuffed Defendant 4 and sat him in a cruiser as they talked to store employees, according to reports. Then, when officers tried to move him to another cruiser in order to transport him to Dedham headquarters to receive mental help, Defendant 4 got violent, police said. He lowered his shoulder and ran into an officer then kicked a police car, causing a large dent.

No pamphlets warning against disorderly behavior were found at the scene.

So, what could have caused the upheaval witnessed around the Commonwealth while Boston’s Kenmore Square and environs remained relatively disorderly free?

Well, let’s turn to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus for another bit of chaos. There, University and state police arrested six people (hereinafter, “Multi-Defendants”) during the early hours of Monday morning for disorderly conduct and other charges after the Boston Red Sox lost the dream of defending their World Series title.

About 300 students gathered at the campus’s southwest residential area following the Rays 3-1 Game 7 victory, campus officials said.

Of those arrested, one had an additional charge of resisting arrest and another had an additional charge of being a minor in possession of alcohol, officials said.

No injuries or damage was reported. The gathering dispersed about 12:30 a.m., about 45 minutes after it began, on the order of both campus and state police.

Perhaps a bad case of “Red Sox Fever” was caught throughout the Commonwealth and a symptom thereof was … bad choices.

Samuel’s take:

Ok, I know that not all these instances were because of the Red Sox’ loss…as far as we know…but even a daily blog writing Boston criminal defense lawyer has to vent his frustration at the game somehow…!

The mini-melees above do contain lessons for us that are worth noting, however. They are instructive in the question of when a situation, or behavior, becomes “disorderly conduct”. Often, it is a question of extent.

Let’s start with our Gloucester defendants. Defendants 1-3 had issues with the concept of coming and going. Defendant 1 wanted to come in. Defendant 2 did not want her to, but made the mistake of not coming in to court when she was supposed to. Defendant 3 did not want his ex-girlfriend to leave and his activities ended up providing him with a new place for him to stay – Commonwealth housing.

The question of when such annoyances become crimes is often the moment when someone decides to call the police. By then, the behavior has already happened and the accused is stuck. The lesson? Be very careful what you do in difficult and emotional situations. If somebody wants you to leave – you leave; if someone wants to go – let them go.

Of course, there are a couple of obvious lessons mixed in here which we have dealt with in earlier blogs. Not showing up to court when you are supposed to is a bad idea. At some point, they will find you and you will be returned to court and usually held on higher bail. If you have already defaulted, then contact an experienced defense attorney right away to try to ease your voluntary return. As for the second lesson…you do not get to physically assault your ex to get her to stay and chat. That seems simple enough.

It is not illegal to preach. It is not illegal to state your opinions. However, this, too is a matter of extent. It is not ok to get up on a table, spouting about your views of the Almighty, knocking things off shelves and accosting people. Defendant 3’s plight goes on to include a lesson we already know – fighting with the police is a bad idea. If you suddenly find yourself on the receiving end of the Commonwealth’s bracelets of shame, comply, keep your mouth shut and contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Do not struggle. Do not shove the police. Do not kick their cruiser. These things are all frowned upon and carry with them additional criminal charges.

Well, sat least we know that the Multi-Defendants were reacting to the Red Sox’ loss. However, apparently, the police were not in such a good mood either. So, when does a gathering or demonstration become disorderly? Again, it is a matter of extent…and timing. When the police say it is time to go, it is usually time to go. Resisting them is a bad idea. Bringing some illegal substances along is similarly a no-no.

It does not matter who is playing or where things are happening. One has to be careful when one’s behavior effects others or when the police arrive to tell you to stop. Should you find yourself in one of these, or a similar, situation, the course to follow should be clear by now. Comply with the police. Save your frustration and battle it out another day if need be…in court with your lawyer.

By the way, “Red Sox Fever”, fueled by frustration is not a valid defense to these crimes.

The full article of this story can be found at :
http://www.gloucestertimes.com/punews/local_story_294130456.html, http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/10/six_arrested_at_the_university.html?category=Amherst+category=Crime, and http://www.dailynewstranscript.com/news/cops_and_courts/x1412466210/Police-activities-for-Monday-Oct-20

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