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.

Sports Star’s Future Is In Danger As He Is Arrested For Domestic Assault And Battery

Yesterday’s Boston Globe contained the story of a “standout” high school football star who now is not looking for a talent scout, but a criminal defense attorney. While he had been scheduled to bring his athletic prowess to college, his future is now in doubt due to allegations of demonstrating them at the wrong place and time.

The crimes alleged are of the Massachusetts assault and battery variety and have invoked further suspicion of ongoing domestic abuse.

It would appear that Mathew G., 18, of Dracut (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) and his girlfriend are parting ways. His 17-year-old ladyfriend has accused the Defendant of hitting her early Sunday morning in a rage of alcohol-fueled jealousy at a party in Lowell. Apparently, this assault included pouring beer over her head as she talked to another male. She also claims that the Defendant punched her in the face when she ran away from him, refusing to return.

The Defendant was arrested was arraigned on domestic assault and battery charges in Lowell District Court on Tuesday, during which time he pleaded “not guilty”. While both he and his court-appointed attorney have refused to make any public comment, his ex-girlfriend has indicated that this is not the first time the Defendant has struck her.

While the complainant declined a ride to the hospital, the officers say that they saw redness on her face, presumably from the Defendant’s blow.

The Defendant’s future looked quite bright before this incident. He was the star quarterback on the Dracut Senior High School championship football team. He had been named to the Boston Globe All-Scholastic football team in the fall and was the Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year. He was one of only 50 players selected nationally as an Old Spice Red Zone Player of the Year, and led the Dracut team to an 11-2 season and the Division 1A Super Bowl title. He also had been chosen to play Division II football next year at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.

And now?

Well, high school officials are keeping silent, but a spokeswoman for the college, said yesterday that, while she could not discuss issues concerning any student or prospective student, “we are aware of the charge made against [the Defendant] and we take this accusation very seriously.” She added that the college does not condone or tolerate abuse and that , “The college is conducting its own investigation and monitoring the legal situation closely”.

Oh. And one more thing.

She also added that “St. Anselm always reserves the right to modify, defer, or rescind an offer of admission as circumstances require.”

Hmm. I wonder what that could mean.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

Things are not exactly looking rosy for the Defendant.

For one thing, he is facing criminal charges…the type of criminal charges the courts tend to take quite seriously. That’s never good. If the result is a guilty finding, it will brand him for what one would assume to be a very long life.

But…whatever the result of the actual case…he has more immediate problems.

He has been charged with the crime. As any regular reader of this daily blog knows, the very charge is now on his record. True, whatever happens with the case will be on his record too. However, let’s assume for the moment that the case ends in something other than a guilty finding.

The charge of domestic assault and battery will remain on his record for all to see.
In these days where not only is domestic abuse a hot issue, but the conduct of professional athletes are closely scrutinized, such a branding could make him “untouchable” in the future.

The same logic which tends to rule in the criminal justice system about which I have often lamented to you, namely “what if I let him go and he kills somebody”, is likely to face him during potential career moves. In fact, that begins now, with the college.

The high school is also very likely to take some kind of action. In their investigation, of course, one would imagine that they will examine both the assault as well as the issue of underage drinking, which is also a crime.

For the college, their best method of covering themselves is to avoid the problem altogether and cancel his acceptance. True, he might call “foul” and threaten legal action, but, particularly if the matter does result in a guilty finding, he is not likely to have much success.

And then there are the teams to which one would imagine he plans on making his home in the future. This is now a red flag for them to consider should he even get that far.

On the other hand, he is lucky he has not been charged with the felony of assault with a dangerous weapon, to wit: the beer.

Speaking of the beer, do not even consider the argument that he could not have formed the necessary intent to hit her because of his being under the influence of the alcohol. Voluntary intoxication is not a defense.

Now…what does this have to do with you?

Well, plenty, actually.

It is a reminder that losing control of one’s temper, regardless of whether it is caused by alcohol or drugs, for just a moment can wreak havoc with your carefully laid plans.

Now, there is an allegation that this was not his first time striking her. The fact is that it does not matter. It is one time too many.

And it may be about to get worse quite quickly. For example, the complainant is likely to be urged by the Commonwealth to seek a restraining order pursuant to 209A against the defendant. There is little doubt that, if she requests one, she will get it. What happens then?

Well, that will go on his record too. Not only that, but he may have to restrict some of his activities, or even presence on the campus, so as to obey the Order.

“What?”, I hear him exclaiming. “I haven’t even been convicted of anything yet! I am presumed innocent!”

Yeah…about that. Not so much.

Restraining Orders are allowed in much weaker showings than this. Further, the media has become interested in the story, so people are watching. The attitude from the bench is likely to be, ‘”Well, what if I do not allow the restraining order and he kills her?” Sound familiar?

“Hey”, he retorts, ” What makes you think I am going to kill anybody? Even if the allegations are true, it only shows that I lost it just one time”. Yes, for the sake of this posting, let’s forget about her allegation about the past.

“Why should my entire life be ruined and I can’t be in the classes that she is in when I am not even convicted of anything yet?”, he asks, a copy of the Constitution shaking in his hand.

“Well, you should have thought about that before you hit her”.

“But I’m still presumed innocent of that!”

Yeah…how about that?

So, be careful. Watch out for those moments. We all have them, but if you do not handle them right, you could find your entire future at risk.

If you have already found yourself accused of not doing so well on the self-control front in one of those moments, the best thing you can do is find an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you at the earliest possible moment. at the very least, he or she may be able to minimize the damage.

In the meantime, have a good, safe and law-abiding weekend!

For the original article of this story, go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/05/28/dracut_football_star_faces_assault_charge?mode=PF

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