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 Area Ex-Cop threatens to kill police and winds up on the side of the aisle with the defense lawyer

Yesterday, it was a former Boston police officer who found himself on the other side of the criminal justice aisle needing a criminal lawyer.

Ex-Boston Police Officer Isaac T., 43, of Arlington (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) ‘s legal problems began in the early morning hours of this past Saturday when he was allegedly observed to be drunk and carrying a BPD badge and a loaded 9 mm handgun when he was arrested at a Dorchester bar.

“Arrested? What would bring him to law enforcement attention?”

Well, he kind of said he would shoot a cop, according to prosecutors. In fact, he apparently said that he was carrying the firearm for the purpose of doing just that, according to MSNBC.

It was Saturday at about 1:30 a.m. at the Dublin House in Dorchester. After hearing the ex-guardian of society’s comments, an anonymous call was made to 911 from the pub to report the overheard threat. The Defendant was described as a man wearing a New York Yankees hat…which is sometimes considered a crime in itself in the area.

And so it was that the police confronted the Defendant outside the bar. Actually, he was hiding in a doorway next door to the nightclub when they confronted him.

They frisked him and found the 9 mm Beretta handgun. Apparently a loyal member of the “Hey, I’ll Bet I Can Make This Situation Worse” Club, the Defendant is said to have engaged in a “violent struggle” with two officers, the prosecutor later told the court in a bail hearing.

The Defendant, it would appear, did not win that struggle.

At the police station, the Defendant was allegedly slurring his speech and demanded a different booking photo be taken because he didn’t like the way he looked in the one taken that night according to the police report. He was found to have 30 rounds of ammunition in the gun and on his person as well as a Boston Police Department badge, the prosecutor said.

At yesterday’s arraignment, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Ryan Mingo argued for high bail at Dorchester District Court, particularly given the seriousness of the Defendant’s statements that he was willing to kill a police officer.

But the Defendant’s attorney said his client was fraternizing with police the night he was arrested and had a verbal disagreement with them over a woman. He suggested in court that the officers called 911.

He requested that his client, a divorced father of four, be held on no more than $3,000 cash bail.

The court did not go for it.

The Defendant was ordered held on $25,000 cash bail on illegal firearm charges, including carrying an unlicensed firearm and possession of ammunition.

The Defendant had been terminated from the Boston Police Department after he was investigated regarding allegations that he shot a teenager at a Roxbury nightclub in July 1991 while he was off duty. He was cleared of charges of attempted murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after a grand jury did not return an indictment against him.

Perhaps an Order keeping him out of nightclubs would be a good idea…

Attorney Sam’s Take:

This is an interesting sequel for yesterday’s daily blog, don’t you think? Yesterday, we talked of how the police do not want to use deadly force. Today the Defendant is terminated from the force after shooting someone (for which a grand jury decided not to return charges) and not only making threats, but carrying the means to carry them out.

Of course, there is the stellar example of bad judgment in terms of bragging that he is carrying a gun to kill a police officer and then ending up in a scuffle with law enforcement. It would appear that the Defendant might consider himself lucky to still be alive.

There are a couple of points of information that we can take out of the Defendant’s adventure.

First of all, many people feel that their First Amendment right to free speech is absolute. It is not. For example, you cannot yell “fire!” in a crowded room.

You also cannot issue threats.

Making threats to commit a crime is actually a crime in and of itself. Making specific threats about carrying an illegal gun, particularly when you are actually doing so, in order to shoot someone, no less a police officer, is…beyond description.

I have handled many cases where even threats like “You wait and see what happens to you!” was enough for the Commonwealth to seek criminal charges. In one such case, the “threat, in most people’s opinion was obviously that my client was going to have the person fired. The recipient did not see it that way, however, and so the matter was played out in criminal court.

Now, granted, the Defendant in today’s story is remarkably consistent when it comes to his judgment. Aside from bragging that he has a gun, carried illegally, for the purpose of killing a police officer, not to mention carrying a badge that is no longer any good, he resists arrest and makes a stir out of not liking his booking photo. One could almost be amazed that he did not “flip off” the court when it imposed bail.

You have heard (read) me rant over and over about resisting arrest. One would imagine that an ex-cop, no matter how much he had been drinking, would have known better. In fact, the hiding in the doorway and then fighting the police very likely were items the court considered when imposing high bail. In fact, he is lucky, particularly with these charges, that the Commonwealth did not seek to have him held without bail as a danger to the public. I have seen them do so on less evidence of such a threat.

By the way, as you might have gathered, it is illegal for a non-police officer to walk around with unauthorized identification indicating that he is a police officer. As the Defendant was no longer an officer, that is another law broken.

This story does demonstrate, once again, that anyone can, in the heat of the moment, make all these consistently bad choices. Well, ok, maybe a few of them. In any event, the situation could happen to anyone.

It could happen to you or someone you love.

Should that occur, my free legal advice is the same as usual. Do not engage the police. Do not hide, fight, run or fly from the police. Quietly comply and hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Oh – and it is not a good idea to walk around with illegal firearms, improper police identification and making threats to kill people.

But then, you may have already known that…!

The full articles of this story can be found at http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2009_01_05_Former_BPD_cop_arraigned_on_gun_charges/srvc=home&position=also and http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28498252/

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