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.

Nine Boston Youths Are Charged With Assault And Battery In Bullying Attack Of Disabled Teen

In the Boston area, nine young men, ages ranging from 15 to 21 are now in need of criminal defense attorneys. They are accused of horribly assaulting a 19 year old developmentally disabled teenager in Dorchester.

They left him bloodied and screaming for help, the prosecutor said.

Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley issued the statement that ”A crime like this just shocks the conscience…It’s obscene.”

The scene of yesterday’s arraignments was a familiar one. The court read the charges, the prosecutor filled in the blanks, adding the detail and commentary about the allegations and the defense attorneys denied all guilt for their clients who were basically “good kids”.

As is often the case in such matters, there are differing views of what happened. While the defendant is not required to give his this early, or, actually, at all, there are claims that some of the nine defendants were actually trying to help the victim, not attack him.

The attack came to the attention of law enforcement when police were called by a man who apparently witnessed it shortly before 5:00 PM on Monday. His attention was drawn to it when he was working in his back yard and heard a “God-awful scream”.

”They were kicking and punching him”, the witness described. “It was terrible”. He added that he watched as at least seven cars passed by the violence. “Not one of them even blew the horn,” he said. “It’s really sad. It’s like they didn’t want to get involved, but I understand. People get hurt for getting involved in this neighborhood.”

The defendants are each charged with assault and battery and assault and battery on a retarded person; at present, two of them are being prosecuted in juvenile court. Apparently, none of the youths have prior criminal records.

Emmet Folgert, executive director of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative, said he knows most of the accused and questioned whether they were capable of such a crime. He said that one of the kids, who has worked for him as a basketball coach for more than a year, has been suspended.

“What I can say about [one of the accused, who I am not naming] is that he’s very reliable, an excellent employee, and there hasn’t been any complaints about him,” Folgert said. “I think what will come out soon is that the facts are going to change.”

Folgert said he had heard there was a fight between the younger boys — and the victim — and that some of the older defendants had sought to break it up.

Prosecutors said they could not explain how the brawl began.

At the arraignment, Judge Robert Baylor set bail at $500 cash for each of the adult defendants, half of what prosecutors had sought. Baylor also ordered them to stay away from one another and from the park where the alleged attack took place.

The 16-year-old juvenile also was held on $500 cash bail. The other juvenile was released to his mother, prosecutors said.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

There are a few things worth noting about this matter.

First of all, you may be somewhat surprised at the relatively low bail set by the judge. You need to realize that this matter was, to some extent, a melee. Melees are often full of confusion. And so, there is ample reason to believe that there may be more to the story. Further, none of the kids have a criminal history, or anything that would indicate that they are flight risks. So, no warrants are expected.

True, the prosecutor could have moved for a “dangerousness hearing”, but they chose not to do so. I would suggest this was a good decision, given the age and lack of criminal history of the accused who remain, by the way, innocent unless and until proven guilty.

While there may be confusion in the facts, I think it is safe to say that one will find that the facts were not that the victim (a word I seldom use in these postings) attacked the group of kids. As we have often discussed, this crime carries with it associated elements because of the nature of the victim.

What really fired my gut about this horrible crime (that, let’s face it…someone committed) is that it proves my point about our ongoing bullying controversy.

Wasn’t this an act of classic bullying?

Did this happen in school?

Was this prevented by the pending legislation or the threat of indictment?

Allow me: Yes. No. No.

While the results of the bullying in South Hadley had more tragic results, are these facts not even more violent and dangerous? Couldn’t the victim here have been seriously physically injured or killed? Any indictments planned in this matter? It actually tempts me to tell you some day about some of the bullying cases I have handled and am handling…some where the facts are even more outrageous…and, perhaps because of the media’s unawareness…no crusading district attorney, police or school officials (let alone congressfolks) even pay attention…even though they know of the actual events!!

That’s right…bullying does not only happen in school and on the internet. It is in camp. It is on the streets. It is wherever a group of kids might be.

“So, what are you saying, Sam? The problem is that not enough people are being indicted?”

No. I am saying what I have been saying. Bullying is an age old problem that has been with us since we discovered the art of procreation. It is not something that a quick fix statute naming a day “No Name Calling Day” or giving special life-long-lasting special treatment to a certain group of kids is going to solve.

In fact, it is the opposite. What our legal leaders have done is try to instill a false sense of security (placed, by the way, on the select few) so that we can all sit back, pat ourselves on the back and consider the problem solved.

It is not solved. But then, it is only our children (victims and accused) who suffer…!

But, as Rome burns, if you or yours are facing allegations of assault, bullying or the myriad of issues accompanying these matters, and wish to discuss them with me to see how I can help, please feel free to contact me at (617) 206-1942.

To view the original story upon which today’s blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/05/nine_charged_in.html

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