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.

Massachusetts Sex Offender With Weapon Said To Be Violent Or Selfless…Depending On The Circumstances

“Uncle Marky”, as he is known to Cape Cod children is in trouble again. He got shot by a Harwich police officer Monday night.

Court and police records describe Marcus M, whose last name has again been changed to “Defendant” as a violent and troubled soul. At the ripe old age of 29, he seems to have already displayed an impressive gift for criminal consistency.

Defendant is a Dennis-Yarmouth High School dropout and the father of one child. He is a Level 2 sex offender after his conviction in 1998 for raping a child, 13, with force, in a dugout at the youth league baseball field on Wixon Middle School grounds in Dennis in December of 1996. At the time, prosecutors said he already had a history of violence and was serving a suspended sentence for assault in Dennis.

He was 18 years old at the time.

In 2000, Defendant was placed on probation for two years for assault and battery on a police officer in Barnstable. In 2007, he was charged with two violations of a protective order. In August, charges were filed for his failure to register his address with Dennis police. During a routine check to verify sex offender addresses, police found that he had left a Dennisport apartment just before his eviction for owing $2,196 in back rent according to court records
On Monday, the police say that they were on their way to respond to a 911 call about Defendant. En route, a Harwich officer saw and pursued him on foot to a backyard near Willow and Belmont Streets The officer ordered him to stop and then shot him once in the hip after what police called “a confrontation.” Harwich Police Lt. Thomas Gagnon said Defendant appeared to have a weapon and the officer shot in self-defense. Asked if that weapon had been a knife, as rumored, O’Keefe said the matter is under investigation.

Defendant was last reported as in stable condition at Cape Cod Hospital, according to David Reilly, a spokesman for Cape Cod Healthcare, and had been admitted to the hospital. When he is able to leave the hospital, he will face arraignment of a number of offenses related to the domestic disturbance, according to Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe. The still-unidentified Harwich police officer who shot him is on three days’ administrative leave after a check-up at Cape Cod Hospital, as department policy requires, Harwich Police Chief William Mason said.

Meanwhile, Marcus M is being described by others somewhat differently from the above described walking crime wave. They seem to know him beyond his identity as “Defendant”. Several of his friends have come forward, albeit unnamed, to describe him as “harmless,” “selfless,” and “caring”, They even say he is responsible and trustworthy enough to baby-sit their young children on a regular basis. The kids know him as “Uncle Marky.”

They claim he is a responsible father to his daughter off-Cape, and was constantly trying to better himself by working as a landscaper for many years and, in the meantime, working toward a college degree. “He’d do anything for anybody,” said one close friend. “He’s a good person. He’s got a good heart. He’s not greedy. Marcus baby-sat my kids. If he was crazy, I wouldn’t have let him. Don’t believe everything you hear.”

“Marcus is a genuine person,” said another close friend. “He would never hurt anyone intentionally. It’s mind-boggling that this is happening right now.”

In his Facebook profile, he said he lives in Dennis and works as a foreman at a Harwich landscaping company. He graduated in 1999 from Cape Cod Regional Technical School in Harwich, the profile says, and currently is studying criminal justice at Kaplan University, an online university.

SAM’S TAKE:

Perhaps Uncle Marky’s most recent foray with law enforcement was merely an independent study in connection with his criminal justice studies.

Sarcastic attempts at humor aside, we seem to have a contradictory picture of Defendant. After all, the picture of a violent sex offender who keeps fighting with police hardly matches the picture of Uncle Marky, neighborhood harmless babysitter who would “do anything for anybody”.

I have been a Boston criminal defense attorney since 1990. Before that, I worked as a prosecutor in the Big Apple. I have seen more than a few criminal defendants in my time.

The truth? They are all people. Like the rest of us, they are three dimensional people who have various different sides and react to circumstances before them. The accused are not an alien people who are “pre-destined” to always be in trouble. They were not born with a scarlet letter “D” (for “Defendant”) on their chests.

In other circumstances, they might be people you like. In others, they might actually be you.

So what’s my point?

This is not a plea to understand and sympathize with the “criminal element”. It is a plea for you to realize that anyone, even someone you love and consider “selfless” could find themselves under suspicion, or even guilty of, a crime. In fact, even you could find yourself in that position.

I am still amazed when clients tell me that they have nothing to worry about because they believe that they have not done anything wrong. I cannot tell you how many clients tell me, “You know, I am not really a criminal”, as we wait for the jury to return. The problem is that there is no neon sign above people’s heads indicating levels of guilt. Actions can be misinterpreted and I have yet to meet the person who’s history, recent or distant, cannot be said to contain guilt.

I realize that the story chosen to illustrate this point today is extreme. It seems to present a career violent criminal contrasted with his friends and neighbors ready to elect him as the next Mr. Rogers. However, I have handled many cases where the person least likely to be accused of a crime is knee deep in the trenches of the criminal justice system. I also believe that many of these people were guilty only of bad judgment or simply bad circumstances. Many were not guilty. But there they were. With me. Facing judgment which may or may not reflect the truth.

The fact is that everyone involved in the criminal justice system, from the judges and jury to the prosecutors and defense attorneys, and even to the police officers and defendants, are multi-dimensional human beings. They can all make mistakes of judgment…or misinterpret such mistakes. Understanding this is key to successfully interacting with the system. Understanding it of the judge, jury, police officer and prosecutor, and utilizing it to my client’s advantage, is my job. Your job is to realize that there is no invisible Teflon-coated bubble which insulates you from prosecution because you are a good person who tries to be law-abiding in all respects and believes nobody could ever presume you guilty.

Any of us can be at risk, at the very least, misinterpretation. Further, other realities of the system (such as prejudice, personal vendetta and the omnipresent need for people to cover their own backside) can encourage such misinterpretation.

This is why, if you suspect that you are under investigation, I strongly urge you to consult with an experienced defense attorney so that you can do your best to protect yourself from what will likely be a negative life-changing event. You can say that such a view is paranoia. But remember the old adage ….“just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are not out to get you”.

The full article of this story can be found at
http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081001/NEWS/810010326

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