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.

Convicted Of Drug Charges, Boston-Area Woman Escapes Jail

A Boston-area woman has now made her situation worse and her attorney’s job a lot more difficult.

Laura D., 23, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) of Everett was being held in The Women in Transition program, a prerelease facility that provides help to 24 women who have committed nonviolent offenses and have drug and alcohol addictions. Unfortunately, she did not stay there. Instead, she escaped by jumping out the window.

Apparently, though, her freedom was short-lived.

According to Essex County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Paul Fleming, “At about 11:20 [October 16th] morning it was noticed that she was missing from Women In Transition,” Fleming said. “She was re-apprehended at about noontime in a cab heading south on Interstate 95, not far from the Route 1 exit. She was sent back to MCI-Framingham. She’s violated the opportunity to rehabilitate herself through the Women In Transition program.”

The Defendant had arrived at the program just days earlier from MCI-Framingham, where she had been serving a six-month sentence for possession of class B and class E substances. Had she not attempted to escape, her parole eligibility date would have been December 3rd, Fleming said. If she served her out her full six-month sentence, she would have been released on March 22nd.

And now?

Fleming said, that normally in cases such as this, the individual is charged with escape. “Any addition to her sentence would be at the judge’s discretion, which can fluctuate from six months to two years,” he explained.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

Perhaps I have been unclear.

Membership to the “Hey, I’ll Bet I Can Make This Situation Worse Club” does close upon arrest and arraignment. Nor does my continued advice not to try to out-talk, out-fight or out-run law enforcement.

In this case, the Defendant made her attempt to escape after having served some time, taking advantage of lower security in a program that was provided to her to help her address her drug habit instead of simply housing her in the department of corrections.

You may be wondering how this escape attempt could bring her a heavier sentence when she had already been serving her sentence. Very likely, there was a probationary status imposed as part of her sentence. When one is sentenced, each count facing the individual is either dismissed or otherwise disposed of. Often, a second count is given a probationary term to supplement the imposed incarceration. It can be “on and after” probation, or probation that begins during the incarceration and lasts for awhile longer. It may be that the Defendant was on probation while incarcerated. If so, you may be sure that the escape attempt was a breach of probation conditions.

Of course, as is described by Mr. Fleming, the escape, in itself, is an additional crime. Most likely, the sentence for that new offense will be consecutive to the sentence she is serving right now.

We have discussed the various effects trying to escape law enforcement during the time of investigation and arrest. As we have covered, evidence of escape attempts can be used against one in a number of ways other than simply additional punishment. First of all, it signals the court the propensity to flee and so is often a reason for higher bail amounts to be ordered by the court. Secondly, it can also be presented as evidence of “consciousness of guilt” at trial.

Of course, in this case, neither of those considerations are very realistic. In terms of bail…the Defendant is already going to be serving a sentence. The very charge of any new case is the escape itself, so “consciousness of guilt” evidence to show the Defendant knew she was guilty of being incarcerated and so attempted to flee does not make very much sense.

The new charge relating to the escape sounds like it would be a bit difficult to defend at trial. Perhaps her new counsel will be creative. Maybe she accidently fell out the window, hit her head, forgot she was supposed to stay and then started to go her merry way.

Hey, it could happen…!

In any event, any criminal charge is a serious matter. People make mistakes and sometimes the defense attorney’s job is to simply communicate that effectively to the court and/or jury. It goes with the territory. Should you find yourself or someone you care about to be facing such a situation and wish to discuss the matter with me, please feel free to call me at (617) 206-1942.

For the full article upon which today’s blog is based, go to http://www.newburyportnews.com/punews/local_story_289212856.html

NOTE TO READERS: Apologies for the lack of posting yesterday. Internet issues prevented such posing.

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