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 Criminal Lawyer Blog’s Bad Week For Law Enforcement Ends As It Began, With Assaults On Police Officers

This week, the daily Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog ends its week as it began…with stories which demonstrate dangers faced by law enforcement and defendants applying to the “Hey, I’ll Bet I Can Make This Situation Worse” club.

Today, we have tales out of Springfield where two police officers suffered injuries Wednesday night while making two unrelated routine arrests.

Officer Francisco Otero suffered a severely injured shoulder while subduing a shoplifter during a violent struggle at Wal-Mart and Officer Maciej Jasinski suffered a severely injured knee while tackling a suspect in an icy parking lot.

Sgt. John M. Delaney, aide to Police Commissioner William J. Fitchet, said both officers required hospital treatment and have been relieved from duty.

Otero was sent to the Boston Road Wal-Mart, at about 8 p.m., for a report of a shoplifting in progress, Delaney said. Once inside, Otero was greeted by the store manager and security who stated they were monitoring a suspect who had a straight razor and was removing cell phones from their packaging and placing them in his pocket.

Otero pursued the suspect when he fled and injured his shoulder while making the arrest. Store security assisted, Delaney said.

As the suspect was being led out, he kicked Detective Darrin Fitzpatrick in the knee, Delaney said.

Jorge C., 20, (hereinafter, “Defendant 1”), was charged with carrying a dangerous weapon (a straight razor) while having an active warrant, shoplifting, assault and battery on a police officer, two counts of assault and battery and resisting arrest, Delaney said. He also had two default warrants.

Massachusetts default warrants are generally taken seriously. There is a fine to remove them and, usually, the subsequent arrest means high bail, even if the new charges are not felonies.

The second incident began shortly after midnight as Officer Darren Edwards, a member of the street crimes unit, drove home at the end of his shift.

As he drove, Edwards observed a stolen car traveling in front of him, Delaney said.

Edwards called police on his cell phone and continued to follow the suspect who attempted to elude the officer by taking different side streets off Sumner Avenue.

When the stolen Dodge Ram van pulled into a corner parking lot at Sumner Avenue and Abbott Street, officers Elenie Mendez and Jasinski arrived. Jasinski was injured in the lot as he and Mendez attempted to arrest the suspect, Delaney said.

The suspect, Salustiano C. (hereinafter, “Defendant 2”) 40, was charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle, resisting arrest and driving without a license, Delaney said.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

It would appear that we end the week with a couple more applicants to the HIBICMTSW club.

If you have two pending warrants out for your arrest, is it really the wisest thing to be out in the open, shoplifting cell phones?

Well, not really. But then again, it also does not make sense to kick the officer in the knee upon arrest either. Especially when these stores usually have video cameras and so everything is often taped for your courtroom entertainment.

As we have covered, anything can be deemed a weapon. A Massachusetts dangerous weapon, quite simply, is anything that is used as such. It can even be a shoe (the famous “shod foot”). However, there are some items which can be charged as weapons even if not necessarily used violently. This would account for the charge against Defendant 1 for the razor.

Unfortunately for Defendant 1, his application to the HIBICMTSW club will likely be rejected as he did show a glimmer of good judgment by not using the razor against the officers.

Next, we have Defendant 2, the driver of stolen cars although he is not supposed to be driving in the first place.

You may be wondering why he is not charged with the actual theft of the motor vehicle. This is because there is no evidence, at least, so it seems at this time, that he actually stole the car. Therefore, all they can allege is that he was in possession of the stolen car.

In some cases, the police might use such an arrest to pressure the defendant to find out where the car came from if he did not steal it and, perhaps, offer a plea bargain for such information. This is unlikely to be one of those cases because of the alleged resisting arrest and assault on the officers.

In other words, he probably gets accepted to the HIBICMTSW club.

Have a good, safe and law-abiding weekend!

The full article of this story can be found at http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/02/two_springfield_officers_suffe.html?category=Crime+category=Springfield

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