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 Students Face Charges Of Assault, Attempted Murder And Alcohol Distribution

Gee, it is hard to imagine that after our protectors and law-makers have made the world safe for kids by passing the Anti-bullying bill discussed last week and prosecuted “the bad kids” as discussed ad nauseum, that kids could still be getting in trouble and even hurt! In connection, since the governor has not signed the Ant bullying Bill into law in Boston yet, how will prosecuting attorneys ever be able to prosecute the youthful wrong-doers?

Guess what? It would appear that the laws already on the books actually suffice!

For example, let’s take four Merrimack College students who have gotten into a tad of trouble at yet another underage drinking party. The partying seems to have ended when a high school student ended up with a serious head injury.

The 17-year-old girl from southeastern Massachusetts, now in the hospital, fell down stairs early Sunday morning at the party, according to a statement issued by North Andover police and Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office.

North Andover police responded to emergency calls requesting medical assistance at around 12:20 a.m. and found the girl unresponsive and “in a pool of blood on the walkway” at the foot of the front exterior stairs, police said.

The four Merrimack College students have been charged with giving alcohol to a minor as well as being minors in possession of alcohol …not to mention also being charged with keeping a noisy and disorderly house. One of them was also charged with three counts of possessing a false or stolen Registry of Motor Vehicle documents after police allegedly found three fake IDs in his wallet.

Meanwhile, in another part of the Commonwealth, another young gentleman has been in the news for crimes which have been prosecuted without the amending of laws.

This young man is accused of driving his vehicle into a crowd of other kids who had congregated, according to the media, for a fight. The fight apparently never took place. Instead, the “mowing down” did.

The driver was arraigned yesterday for running down four teenagers on Monday. He now faces three counts of attempted murder and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for the incident.

Unfortunately, he could not be charged with something bullying-related, despite the fact that he had apparently used his superior strength by way of a minivan.

It was revealed in court yesterday that the driver has a history of mental disorders and has been hospitalized three times in the past after he committed violent acts. In fact, during the determination of what, if any, bail conditions would be allowed, a court mental health expert who evaluated him told the court that about the hospitalizations. The court was also told that he also hears voices.

However, these voices were apparently not present at the time that the young man allegedly drove the minivan into the group of girls gathered in the parking lot.

The court ruled that the defendant is currently competent and ordered him held without bail.

Attorney Sam’s Take

All sarcastic barbs at the bullying issues aside, there are various issues in these two stories that deserve exploration.

First of all, in both cases, there were kids acting stupid (allegedly). Against the law type of stupid.

The kids in the first case should not have been drinking alcohol and should not have been getting a high school student drunk. In the second case, we may not know what was behind the driver’s violent attack via the minivan, but we do know that kids were apparently gathering to have a fight of some sort. Of course, whoever won or lost, assault and battery charges were among the myriad of charges that could have come out of that…if not bullying allegations.

This is not the first time we have read about such stories. Kids have been prosecuted for such actions before and it would appear that has not stopped them from following in their ill-behaved forbearers’ ways. Translation? Kids are going to do these things no matter if the charges which historically follow are misdemeanor or felonies. Re-editing the statutes so that they look good is not going to change that.

Of course, in both these situations, we have clearly illegal conduct involved. Therefore, please do not be shocked as I do not criticize the Commonwealth from prosecuting them. I would hope that the likely effect on the kids’ records is taken into consideration, but it is indisputable that laws were broken in both cases. Further, these are not victimless crimes, particularly in the second case.

The issue of whether the defendant driver is going to be successful in terms of a diminished capacity defense is one we will have to wait to observe. Just last week, that type of defense was shot down big-time in the Odgren matter.

Meanwhile, in both cases, parents’ nightmares have come true. This is true for the victims as well as the defendants. At times, it comes out of nowhere. Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.
When it does…particularly when the finger of blame is pointed at your child, what do you do?

Well, one thing you should do is engage experienced counsel to advise and represent you. But then, as aregular reader of this blog…you already knew that, didn’t you?

As always, If you wish to contact me to discuss such a matter, please feel free to call me at 617-492-3000.

For the original stories upon which today’s blogs is based, please turn to : http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/05/college_student_1.html
and http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/norwell/2010/05/norwell_teen_accused_of_runnin.html

Contact Information