Message from a Boston criminal defense attorney to Ms. Kimberly J., 38 (hereinafter, the :Defendant”) – it is not as bad as you think.
It is actually worse.
The Defendant had been wanted by Massachusetts law enforcement in the alleged kidnapping Thursday of her half-sister’s one-year-old daughter. She has been apprehended in Altona, Pennsilvania and immediately arrested by investigating officers. The Defendant had been staying at a women’s shelter where she is said to have been using an alias and a stolen I.D.
Lest you think she is inconsistent, though, she was also allegedly driving a stolen vehicle .
The one that was apparently used in the abduction.
When the police found the Defendant Monday night in the shelter, she confessed what she had done. The 1-year-old baby was apparently found unharmed…crawling around a parking lot about 100 miles away.
“It appears she was trying to reconcile with an old boyfriend, and in an attempt to reconcile was telling that person they had a baby in common,” Swansea Police Chief George Arruda said of the kidnapping motive . Arruda could not immediately offer an explanation on what prompted the suspect to leave the baby in an industrial park lot with her car seat, diaper bag and supplies nearby.
Maybe the former boyfriend (I’m betting the word “former” still applies) did not like “their” baby.
While one might look at the Defendant’s predicament, one might think that she is in really big trouble when the Commonwealth gets her back here. After all, kidnapping is a rather serious felony.
One would be right…but the trouble is even worse.
She is also looking at charges from Pennsylvania, and investigation by the Department of Children and Families (formerly, “Department of Social Services”) and the good old USA.
In PA, she can be charged with the possession of the stolen vehicle and theft of ID (use of which was a white collar crime). Kidnapping, particularly when it concerns crossing state lines, becomes a federal offense, and so is punishable by federal prosecutors. Of course, the actual taking of the child is said to have taken place in Massachusetts, so the kidnapping and larceny of the car and assorted items can be prosecuted in state court.
“But, Sam….they can’t all do it, right? I mean, that is double jeopardy!”
Well, it would not be double jeopardy. Under the law, “jeopardy “does not attach until, in the time of trial. The time waiting for that trial does not really count. Further, the basic premise of the question is also not correct.
First of all, a DCF investigation would most likely be targeted at the mother for leaving her daughter alone with her sister who she has claimed has…issues. This is not a swipe by me…to me, it is blaming the victim. However, such a consideration, in my experience, does not tend to stop DCF from adding its little horror into an already pending nightmare.
All the entities can prosecute for the laws that are broken in their jurisdiction. Now, it is unlikely that both Massachusetts federal and state court will prosecute for the same kidnapping, but they could. After all, there are also additional elements that make the United States District Court a place where charges can be brought.
Are they likely to go that far? Probably not. It seems to be a family issue and it ended up ok. However, there have been more than one such kidnappings of the sort in the past few years, so this case could become a political target of which all entities want a piece.
We will have to wait and see.
In the meantime, you can see how complicated it can be. So, the advice is the same as always. If you or your loved ones are facing such a nightmare, you want to get a criminal defense attorney with experience on board as soon as possible to help guide you.
In the meantime, of course, if you wish to discuss such a matter with me, please feel free to contact me at 617-492-3000.
To find the original stories upon which this story is based, please go to http://www.myfoxboston.com/dpp/news/local/woman-wanted-in-massachusetts-baby-kidnapping-found and http://www.tauntongazette.com/topstories/x692841144/Woman-sought-for-Swansea-kidnapping-held-in-Pennsylvania