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.

A Boston Defense Attorney Reviews A Deadly Case Of Domestic Violence

This blog has discussed many stories about family disputes which get out of hand. Some have resulted in assaults which cause great injury. Others have been known to result in death…whether intentional or accidental.

This one, though, seems to have taken domestic violence to an unusual level.

Authorities say that they went to investigate a 911 call from a gentleman who claimed that his girlfriend had lunged at him with a knife and had tried to set his clothes on fire.

The officers arrived at the Somerville home at about 6:30pm yesterday. This was apparently not the first such response; police indicate that they had responded to the same home at about 3 a.m. after a neighbor reported shouting
When they arrived, 33-year-old Carol K. attacked them with a knife.

The officers drew their guns and fired at her.

She died.

The officers were treated for stab wounds to the hands, arms, shoulders and back and released from a hospital.

The city’s ,Mayor Joseph Curtatone, released a comment that the officers acted as they were trained.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

They may be some controversy about how the police handled this tragic occurrence.

The fact is, however, that the mayor is correct. Police officers handle various calls which have the potential for violence. They are trained in split-second thinking and the importance of keeping themselves and other’s at the scene safe.

In cases of domestic violence, anything can happen. A domestic violence situation which you already know involves a weapon and assault is particularly ominous.

Firing upon her might be seen as an over-reaction, but it is within police training. If, indeed, the woman was attacking them with a knife, then they are trained to shoot. When shooting, they are trained to shoot to kill.

Interestingly, this might not be the case if they were not police officers. In that type of case, whether the threat of a knife equaled that of gunfire would be an issue in the self-defense argument.

In the meantime, of course, if you wish to discuss a domestic violence, assault or homicide matter with me, please feel free to contact me at 617-492-3000.

In the meantime, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

To find the original storiy upon which this story is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2010/07/23/3_cops_injured_woman_dead_in_mass_family_dispute?mode=PF

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