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 Assault In “College Town” Area Is Murder

Today’s Boston Globe tells us the tale of Corey P., 23of Dorchester (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) who now needs a good criminal defense attorney fast. He is charged in connection with a homicide in which a 24-year-old man was stabbed to death yesterday in Brighton, according to police.

This was an area where many students dwell. An officer patrolling near Brighton and Harvard avenues found the stabbing victim about 2:16 a.m. in front of a store on Brighton Avenue, according to police. The officer called for help and began to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the unconscious man. The victim was then taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he apparently died.

23 minutes after the stabbing, Boston police officers arrested the Defendant. You might think that he was arrested for actually performing the violent knife-weilding which resulted in the death.

You would be wrong
The Defendant was arrested on charges of accessory after a murder and several counts of assault and battery, among other charges, a police spokesman said.

As for the actual stabber, police are continuing to investigate and ask anyone with information to contact the homicide unit.

According to reports from a reluctant witness who witnessed the stabbing and requested anonymity because he feared retribution, a large crowd had gathered around a fight among three or four men.

“All of Allston saw the fight,” he said with perhaps just a little exaggeration, noting that the area was bustling with people flowing out of bars. During the fight, he explained, one of the men pulled a knife and the soon-to-be stabbing victim repeatedly told him to put it down. The knife was “put down” into said victim, who then fell to the ground.
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The death marks the 43d homicide this year in Boston, compared with 53 at the same time last year, police said. The good news of the reduction of crime is unlikely to be so well received by the victim’s loved ones.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

What is an “accessory” to a crime?

Well, the definition can be a somewhat broad one. Basically, if you aid someone in the commission, or the escape of the crime, you are an accessory.

For example, let’s say that Bobby Badnews shows up at your doorstep late at night, blood all over his clothing, particularly his hands and explains that he needs a place to stay for awhile. You ask him why and he tells you he had “a little problem” tonight and he thinks that police might be disturbing his neighborhood later this evening looking for him.

If you let him stay, you are an accessory after the fact. You are helping him to hide and you have reason to believe he is hiding from the police for committing a crime.

“But, Sam, he never said what happened or why the police may be after him.”

True. But it is somewhat obvious. Even if it were not so obvious, there is a criminal law doctrine called “Willful Blindness” that can be employed. Basically, it is what it sounds like. Purposely not asking what happened, although it is obvious that something untoward did, can be interpreted as willful blindness.

Close kinsmen of accessory allegations, of course, are theories of “joint ventures” and “conspiracies”. These are even more trouble for the accused. In these cases, the accused is actually held accountable for what anyone else in the venture or conspiracy does in the furtherance of the alleged plot. In many cases, those activities can be happening in other states.

In cases I have seen, the limitation can be the extent of the prosecutor’s imagination.

True, if farfetched, the prosecutor might lose at trial. A year or so down the road. After you have employed counsel, perhaps lost your job and maybe even your freedom.

And so the lesson is brought home once again. Be aware of what is happening around you. If you have reason to believe you could be dragged into a scenario which reeks of criminality that is being investigated, contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Whether or not you think you did anything wrong, do not wait. Get an experienced criminal defense attorney involved to try to find out what is going on and how to best prepare for it. If you wish to discuss the matter 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.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/11/09/man_24_fatally_stabbed_in_brighton/

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