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.

Holyoke man arrested for assault and A and B on a police officer

About an hour and a half west of Boston, there is a town called Holyoke. In Holyoke, Julius T., 29 (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) got arrested early evening on Tuesday. He is said to have assaulted a woman, kicked a police officer and thrown himself down a flight of stairs.

His story is not only of note because of his alleged rather unusual actions, but also because he is an example of how, in the System, one’s past always catches up.

The police were dispatched at 5:00 p.m. on an “unknown medical call”, according to Police Chief Anthony Scott. When they got there, the officers heard screaming from inside the address and people were gathered outside.

The officers entered and say they observed the Defendant at the top of the staircase yelling at someone inside a room.

The officers tried to calm the Defendant down. This attempt failed. So, they approached and handcuffed him after a brief struggle, according to police. The Defendant, however, continued to yell, scream and argue with others inside the residence. He apparently also told the officers that he was wanted in Florida, police said.

To help bring tranquility to the scene, another officer came to the bottom of the staircase and attempted to calm down a woman who was also yelling and screaming, according to police. Then, when Officers attempted to escort the Defendant outside, police say the Defendant allegedly threw himself down the stairs.

So much for calming the situation down.

The Officer who was at the bottom of the stairs went to pick the Defendant up and claims that he was kicked in the face for said effort.

Unfazed by the allegedly self-propelled flight down the stairs and the fact that he was handcuffed, the Defendant is said to have continued the fight, causing an officer to injure his thumb.

While the officers allegedly suffered the carnage of a kick in the face and an injured thumb, the Defendant is also said to have suffered wounds. However, according to the officers, his wounds were self-inflicted. You see, apparently, when fighting and struggling with the officers while handcuffed did not seem to work, the Defendant is said to have tried a new approach…that of smashing his own head against the walls and other objects in the house.

He also finally got pepper-sprayed, but the police agree that it was done by them.

Apparently, after the Defendant was finally put in the police cruiser, the investigation began. The officers learned that the incident had begun when the Defendant began arguing with his girlfriend’s mother, pushed her into a table and threatened her life with a knife. The woman, who suffered a cut lip and neck pain, was taken to Holyoke Medical Center for treatment.

The Defendant was charged with threatening to commit a crime, resisting arrest, destruction of property over $250, assault with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery on a police officer and two counts of domestic assault and battery.

It was also learned that the Defendant had been previously arrested two times for possession of a controlled substance, disorderly conduct and destruction of property. He also was found to have three outstanding warrants, two for defaults and a third for being a fugitive from justice

Attorney Sam’s Take:

Well, it seems we have come full circle this week. We began on Monday with a suspect in custody allegedly banging his own head against the wall…and now we have a gentleman whom the police say was basically smashing his own head against anything that either was or was not nailed down.

I wonder if such behavior takes place outside of police custody as often as it seems to happen inside said custody?

As I indicated in the beginning of today’s posting, the Defendant is an example of not being able to escape one’s prior deeds. In fact, such prior history can snowball and create further such issues in the future.

This is particularly true in certain felony cases.

One example of the Defendant being unable to escape his past is simply demonstrated by the outstanding warrants. These indicate that he probably thought he could literally escape his cases by simply not showing up in court. We have discussed many such cases. We find out about them because this approach seldom works. It only makes the situation worse and the bail conditions tougher.

Regardless of how the specifics of how the arrest took place, we do know that the Defendant is being charged with assault and battery on a police officer. Regardless of what happens to that charge, the mere fact that he was charged with it will remain on his criminal record. This means that if he ever gets in trouble again, the police, or investigating agencies, will know that he has been so accused in the past. This can have its own repercussions down the road. Simply put, it does not earn him gentler treatment when he becomes known for allegedly attacking police officers.

Now, there is a mechanism by which a defendant might try to address this problem. This brings up the question of expunging or sealing the criminal record.

Expungement of a record is, literally, wiping clean a case from one’s Cori. It would be as if nothing ever took place. This is not typically possible in Massachusetts except in circumstances where the wrong person was arrested (such as they picked up the wrong “Joe Jones”).

It is often possible to seal the record of a matter, however. There is a set procedure to follow and it can take some time, but it is possible. The effect would be similar to that of a juvenile record. The difference is that there would be an indication that something had happenned…but what that would would not be available in most searches.

The decision on whether or not to try to seal a record should be carefully considered. Some results are better to have unsealed rather than leave the nature and result of the case up for interpretation. For example, if you have a dismissal for tresspass, you might want to just leave it alone. True, it would be better to have nothing, but it may be better than to let the reader’s imagination run wild in these days of sex crimes, white collar crimes and drugs!

On the other hand, there is a situation like the Defendant’s. The assault and battery on a police officer charge is likely to be a hindrance in and of itself. So, particularly if it ends up without a conviction, it may be worth sealing…if you can.

A couple of caveats. First of all, not every type of crime can be sealed. Second, the courts, and law enforcement in certain situations, can still access the sealed record. However, for the quick check from the street, it might be better to keep your involvement in some types of cases private.

Have a good, safe and law-abiding weekend!

The full articles of this story can be found at : http://www.abc40tv.com/Global/story.asp?S=10188525 and http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/holyoke_police_subdue_28yearol.html?category=Crime&category=Holyoke

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