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.

East Boston Reacts To Federal Indictments And Bail Hearing In Drug Case

A Boston federal drug case is keeping lawyers and politicians on their feet.

Yesterday, there was a detention hearing for Lawrence T., 51, of wakefield (hereinafter, “Defendant 1”). He stands accused of illegal sale of OxyContin. Defendant 1 has a co-defendant, John F., 31 (hereinafter, “Defendant 2”). Defendant 2 just happens to be a key City Hall operative who faces an indictment charging him with the drug crimes.

Well, Defendant 2’s status as an “operative” is a bit more specific than that…he is Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s neighborhood liaison to East Boston. His indictment came down on Thursday for possession with intent to distribute OxyContin and possession with intent to distribute marijuana.

East Boston residents are speaking out about the matter, pointing out that drugs have been a plague on the neighborhood for years. But, now, there is even more evidence of how “high up” the problem reaches –namely, the arrest of one of the area’s rising political stars.

Defendant 2 was a well-known figure before this latest publicity. He was a former star pitcher for Dom Savio High School, football player at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and the father of two. He was being groomed for a career in politics. He was at Menino’s side whenever he was in East Boston, according to residents and political observers.

Now, he was ordered held in custody for the weekend witout bail and placed on unpaid leave after his arrest.

As Defendant 2’s reputation slides downhill, so, too, does the city’s reputation according to various East Boston residents. One man who has lived and worked in the area for many years indicates that he is a neighbor of Defendant 2’s, that he has lived in East Boston his entire life and is watching it get worse. He said that while he did not know Defendant 2, he is not surprised that drugs are at the root of another neighborhood problem.

Law enforcement indicates that these indictments are simply a part of a bigger probe into the drug’s distribution in East Boston.

It is beginning to become clearer just how serious that “bigger probe” is and what other potential crimes it might uncover as the federal detention hearing gets underway.

We will discuss that more tomorrow.

Attorney Sam’s Take

“Tomorrow?!?! Well, what was the point of today’s blog? What if I do not live in East Boston? How does this relate to me?”

While the news that is coming out of the detention hearing will be dealt with in more detail tomorrow, today’s message has a great deal of importance to you.

As I have pointed out in the past, federal investigations are generally long-standing and painstakingly detailed. Further, often, the target, or targets, have no idea that they are being implicated in such an investigation until the federal agents show up at their door. By the point, it is often time for the United States’ bracelets of shame. Those are similar to the Commonwealth’s bracelets of shame we have discussed…only much tighter.

Federal investigations can range from white collar cases to drug cases to even murder cases depending on how the alleged crime took place. Finally, the old saying of your mom’s, that people judge you by the company you keep, tends to be somewhat truer in terms of federal criminal justice.

In federal investigations, conspiracies are believed to be everywhere and if you know the wrong person, you just might be implicated.

“How can I be implicated by just knowing someone?”

Federal law enforcement is often quick to assume that if you are close with someone, you probably know what criminal activities they are engaged in. I have had many clients who were charged in such conspiracies because of their close associations in hopes that, as the pressure gets tighter, they will “flip” on their friends.

“What if they don’t ‘flip’? What if they do not give any information because the officials are wrong…they don’t know anything?”

Often, they end up facing the time, expense, pressure and, often, loss of liberty involved in going to trial in federal court.

You may be sure that someone like Defendant 2, who had been spending his adult life being “groomed” for political office did not expect to be implicated in an investigation.

So, what is the point? The point is quite simple. If you suspect you may be swept up in an ongoing investigation, do not wait for the government to show up at your door with an invitation to court. If they already have shown up at your door with said confirmation, do not try to engage them yourself. Politely go if you must go, of course, but the advise is the same as it always is…only perhaps more so.

Get an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you as soon as possible. Make sure that attorney has experience in dealing with such cases.

Should you desire to discuss such a case with me, please feel free to call me at (617) 206-1942.

For the original stories upon which this blog was based, please go to http://bostonherald.com/news/politics/view/20091221dea_mayors_liaison_linked_to_alleged_arson_plot/srvc=home&position=0 and http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1220058&format=text

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