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’s Logan Airport Is Scene Of Mystery Passenger And Pending Warrant

Has anyone else noticed that air travel has become a bit more tense in recent years? Gee, you go to Boston’s Logan International Airport and you would think it had been involved in a terrorist act sometime over the past ten years or something! In fact, sometimes you feel you should bring a lawyer along just in case..

Some people find that they need a lawyer as they leave the airport.

Today’s case in point is Paul P., 50 of Sanford, Maine (hereinafter, the “Defendant”). Last week, he ended Saint Patrick’s Day (Evacuation Day in Suffolk County) detained by the Massachusetts State Police at Logan.

The Defendant’s troubles began when he “accidently” lit a match on a flight bound for Logan that fateful night. This apparently occurred when he removed a book of them from his pocket during the flight.

As you might imagine, this caused quite a stir and brought him to the attention of the authorities. As you may recall, there is no smoking allowed on flights anymore.

When the plane landed, investigating tate troopers met him for questioning. You might think that this is what landed him as a guest of the Commonwealth.

You would be wrong.

It turns out that he was not charged in connection with the matches incident. You see, according to the authorities, they do not know which airline the Defendant was flying on or where his trip originated.

With all the security hubbub, this should make us all feel rather safe…!

Anyway, you may be wondering why the Defendant ended up being held.

Well, it turns out that when the troopers came to question the Defendant, they found that he had an outstanding arrest warrant for identity fraud in Georgia.

And so our suspiciously accident-prone Defendant, whose mystery flight was simply detained on the warrant, pending a hearing on said warrant and his status as a potential fugitive from Georgia.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

Just think…if this were a more politically, or security, minded blog…what a field day I would be having! For example, I would probably be wondering how, when police are alerted to question an individual for doing something suspicious (which, in other cases, have landed people in prison) which has pierces the cloud of potential terrorism, they end up with absolutely no idea what flight the target came from! I would be asking nasty questions such as “wasn’t there some kind of paper trail, such as tickets and booking information?” or “what happened to the flight officials who alerted law enforcement in the first place?” or even “What would have happened if it turn out it actually had been a terrorist attempt?”

However, this is a criminal law blog, so I won’t even mention such things. I won’t even ask whether it would have been good to have this information just to put on file in case it became important later..such as in answering questions like how the matches found their way to the plane in the first place.

Instead, I will point out the obvious lesson to you, my readers.

Warrants do not go away. You cannot out-live or out-fly them. At some point, matches or no matches, they will come back to haunt.

When one is taken into custody on a warrant, at least in Massachusetts, one is held without bail until one sees a judge. This means if it takes place on the Friday of a holiday weekend, one will enjoy (or not enjoy, as the case may be) Commonwealth housing until Monday.

If the warrant is from out of state, then one will be held until that state decides whether it will come get one ….after an actual extradition hearing to determine that one is actually the one that the other state was seeking.

Much simpler to just take care of showing up in court in the first place.

Not that it seems to matter to anyone, but offenses committed mid-flight are usually considered serious and investigated by federal officials who have jurisdiction. That’s because such things are often considered important.

That is…if it was important enough to investigate in the first place….

Usually, given their wealth of resources and professional investigators like the FBI, DEA, ATF and Homeland Security types….they can find the answers to mind-numbing questions like, “Where he come from?”

Anyway, if you are dealing with an outstanding warrant or a federal incident which actually seems to matter to someone…feel free to give me a call at (617) 206-1942.

For the full story upon which today’s blog is based, please see http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2010/03/18/maine_man_taken_into_custody_after_flight/

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