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 Drug-Trafficker Is Arrested On Outstanding Warrants And New Weapons + Forgery Charges

Some folks in Boston will go to great lengths to avoid contacting a criminal defense attorney!

Take the case of 36-year-old Francis V. (hereinafter the “Defendant”) for example. He wanted to avoid court so much he chose self-mutilation over consulting an experienced defense attorney.

The Defendant had a pending drug trafficking case for trafficking in which he had already defaulted. No, the Defendant did not simply have one warrant pending for his arrest…he had 13 such warrants pending.

In an attempt to keep those warrants pending, in other words not falling down upon him like a law enforcement net, he mutilated his fingers in order to conceal his prints.

But, as I have told you, those warrants do not stay airborne forever. Friday night, he was pulled over for speeding in Brockton by the State Police. When asked to present his license and registration, he apparently produced a fake-looking license. So, he was arrested for giving the police a false name and using fraudulent documents.

That might have been bad enough. However, he was also arrested for carrying a dangerous weapon after the troopers found a large folding knife hidden in the car.

And so it was that the Defendant was brought to the Brockton police station to be processed after his arrest. It was then that officers saw that the pads of the Defendant’s fingers were covered in scar tissue. They took fingerprints anyway and sent them to the FBI. Federal officials were able to put together some of the ridges taken from the prints and figure out his true identity.

Of course, thinking he had cleverly out-witted law enforcement, the Defendant is said to have told State Police over the weekend that he had paid someone $400 to cut his fingers vertically, from the fingertip to the knuckle joint, so his prints would be unreadable.

A statement that I am sure he will enjoy encountering again down the road in court.
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The Defendant was held on $25,000 bail on the drug charges and $500 on the forgery and weapon charges after he pleaded not guilty in both cases yesterday at Brockton District Court.

Police say that they are now investigating who cut the Defendant’s fingers. That person would not be prosecuted for assault (the cutting was consensual), but for being part of the conspiracy to help the Defendant stay on the loose.

The Defendant’s approach was not so novel. According to law enforcement, wanted criminals have tried to destroy their prints before. In some cases, for example, they have used acid to burn off the ridges. However, federal and state police have still managed to identify most such suspects using fingerprint analysis.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

The Defendant should not expect to be going anywhere other than Commonwealth housing in the near future. Even if he is able to access the bail money set for the new charges, he still has 13 default warrants to clear up. Further, when one is arrested while out on bail, one can be held for 60 days with no bail at all.

All that aside, he has also shown how dedicated he is to the art of eluding the court system because of his handiwork on his fingers.

You may be interested to know that, while showing some consciousness of guilt, the finger-cutting is probably not admissible at any of the Defendant’s upcoming trials. While certainly relevant at bail hearings, the fact that the Defendant defaulted during his case is not admissible, unless he is being charged for the actual “bail jumping”. It would be considered unduly prejudicial.

Of course, as with most things in the Justice System, there could be exceptions. What if police now testified that such cutting was often found in cases of drug traffickers? Then, it could be admissible for the purpose of showing why the police believed he was a drug dealer.

Still, it seems to be a bit of an extreme method of handling a warrant.

Might I re-suggest another method? Take care of the warrant. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to ease your way back and minimize damage…to your cases and…to your body.

In the meantime, should you find yourself in the position of dealing with an outstanding warrant, or if you have a criminal matter to discuss, please feel free to call me at (617) 206-1942.

For the full article upon which today’s blog has been based, go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2009/12/suspect_nabbed_1.html

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