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.

Massachusetts Murder – By – Drugs Trial Continues

And so the trial of assumption and innuendo (at least, so far) continues in Brockton, Massachusetts. Attorneys battle it out as jurors hear different observations of the home of Carolyn R. (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) and the various family members. As you may recall, the Defendant and her husband are being charged, yet tried separately for the first-degree murder of their 4-year-old daughter (hereinafter, the “Deceased”). According to yesterday’s Globe, Tuesday’s testimony had to do mostly with…the husband (hereinafter, “Co-Defendant Dad”) .

That’s right…first degree murder. The one with premeditation.

Correct again…Co-Defendant Dad. The one not on trial yet.

It was a stellar day for the prosecution.

One witness was a Weymouth Housing Authority manager who told the jury that Co-Defendant Dad had been banned from spending overnights in the family’s home because there were allegations that included providing pornography to a minor. A former houseguest testified that the Deceased and her two siblings seemed “more timid” when Co-Defendant Dad was around. A social worker also said that he once beat his son in 2006 which started an investigation (no word of any formal charges).

“What of the Defendant”, you ask? Well, while still allegedly being devoted to Co-Defendant Dad, she is the one who sought the restraining order to protect the son.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kayoko Kifuji of Tufts Medical Center, the psychiatrist for all three of the Riley children, testified and portrayed the father as a positive influence. At the request of Carolyn Riley, the doctor wrote the Weymouth Housing Authority in early 2006, requesting that Michael Riley be allowed to move back in. The doctor said the mother had told her that the children’s behavioral problems may be related to his absence.

Dr. Kifuji is the psychiatrist who had prescribed the drugs which the Defendant and Co-Defendant Dad are accused of killing their daughter with.

Prosecutors questioned how often she informally sanctioned or tolerated the occasions when the Defendant gave extra drugs to her children without the doctor’s explicit approval. Each child was on several potent drugs for bipolar and hyperactivity disorder. During her two days of testimony, the Doctor reiterated that she was aware that the Defendant had introduced the Deceased’s older sister to clonidine for the first time after taking some pills from the prescription bottle of her oldest oldest child, a boy. However, although she warned against the practice, the doctor then wrote up a prescription of clonidine for the sister, indicating that she had listened to the Defendant’s explanation for why she gave the medication, concluding, “It made sense.”

Questioned by the defense attorney, Kifuji said that in February 2004 she had told the Defendant that she could give a half-tablet of clonidine, a sedating drug, to the older sister as needed during the day “for agitation.” On another occasion, she agreed that a half-tablet of clonidine could be given for help with sleep problems, but the doctor was not sure which Riley child she authorized the extra dosage for. Apparently, it was either the Deceased or her older sister. The Dr., testifying only after the government granted her immunity from prosecution, could not recall which.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

I think I should remind you that the prosecution’s theory, as outlined in the opening statement of the trial, was that the Defendant and Co-Defendant Dad murder their daughter. It was all part of a pre-meditated plot in which the evil geniuses got the daughter diagnosed so that she could be drugged and, because of having the benefit of now three kids who needed such attention, make the family more money because of disability funding.

The brilliant Defendant, in order to accomplish this was able to fool any doctor, including Dr. Kifuji or investigator involved in order to perform this feat. According to the prosecution, this twisted plot was working…until the Deceased died.

This would seem to me to ruin the plot altogether, but then, I am not criminal mastermind.

Anyway, the prosecution insists that the Defendant killed the daughter with pre-meditation and was, at the very least, “indifferent” to the Deceased’s death.

In the coming days, there will be medical testimony which should prove interesting as there is a debate over what actually killed the Deceased.

So far, the evidence against the Defendant has ranged from a school nurse claiming the Defendant did not act as the nurse, apparently a scholar on the subject of human emotion which puts to shame all other physicians with doctorates who claim that people in such situations act differently, would expect to testimony on whether or not Co-Defendant Dad made his kids timid.

Oh yes…and the doctor’s two day testimony. This established that she ended up more or less agreeing to how the Defendant gave the medication ( aka murder implement) to the kids…or one of the kids…or two of the kids….or something like that. Whoever it was.

Hm. Maybe she was not so hard to trick after all.

As I mentioned on Friday, this is your criminal justice system at work. Of course, I am not witnessing the show. I just read the reviews like you do. But remember one thing. However strong or weak the Commonwealth’s case is…it could be you sitting there. You who had to get an attorney. You who loses your family.

You who faces life imprisonment without hope for parole.

If you ever find yourself facing such a situation, you want an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner. One who cares.

Should you have a case which concerns you or a loved one, and you want to discuss it with me, please feel free to contact me at 617-492-3000.

To find the original story upon which this story is based, please go http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/01/27/jurors_in_riley_trial_hear_more_about_father/

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