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 Police Investigate Yet Another Murder, Bringing Weekly Shooting Body Count To Seven As Of Monday (CJS Perspectives – Part II)

The news has gotten even worse. Hours after law enforcement announced that a second person shot during this weekend’s shootings had died, there was yet another fatal shooting in Boston.

This shooting victim was a 30-year-old man who was shot on Geneva Avenue in Dorchester at approximately 8 p.m. He was pronounced dead at Boston Medical Center.

Police are investigating a possible gang or drug connection and looking for a black Cadillac Escalade seen leaving the scene shortly after the shooting. Ruiz did not name or describe any possible suspects, saying that the driver of the Cadillac was only wanted for questioning.

And so, with bodies piling up, law enforcement continues its investigation(s). There are a number of leads. Some will turn out helpful and lead to the factually guilty. Others will inevitably not be so helpful (in terms of Justice) and lead to the innocent.

Perhaps they will lead to you or somebody you care about.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said Sunday that the shooting at a store this weekend “does not appear to be a simple robbery. There are other factors there”; However, the shooting of the man who died yesterday from this weekend’s blood bath is believed to be gang-related, according to two officials with knowledge of the investigation. The theory is that the shooting was connected to the ongoing violence between two gangs in Jamaica Plain in recent months.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

As pressure mounts on law enforcement, the pressure mounts on you.

First of all, I would imagine that watching the news is less than enjoyable. Few people like to hear news of murders, rapes and robberies. But this news becomes even more troubling when one realizes what it means in terms of criminal investigations.

Police officers march to the drum beats of the “top brass”. This can include superior officers, the commissioners, prosecutors and other law enforcement politicians. These superiors do not like open investigations, particularly when they would suggest that there is a greater threat “out there” than usual.

You know the reason why. We don’t like it. The press does not like it. The media makes a living by often sensationalizing such things. Politicians get scared that they will be run from office (if not from town in some cases) and they try to get rid of the threat.

Quickly.

Sometimes too quickly.

Now, do not get me wrong. Police officers would like to catch “the bad guy” too. However, this desire must also be weighed against the other motivations. These include pressure from above and advancement of career. Yes, there is also the fear that those terrible, terrible criminal defense attorneys might attack their fine work with nasty words like “Constitutional” and “suppression”.

Further complicating the situation is what, and who, they find on the street. Gone are the Norman Rockwell days when people see police officers coming in their shiny blue suits, smile and simply say, “Good day to you, Mr. Policeman”.

Of course, there are reasons for this…but we will save those for later in this ongoing (although not necessarily daily) series.

In any event, many people eye law enforcement with suspicion. This did not happen in a vacuum, but it does happen. Daily. Hourly.

Knowing this, the officers now that there is almost an “us vs. them” attitude on many streets. This leads anger (“Don’t these idiots know I am doing what I do because I am trying to help them?” and, yes, even fear. After all, being a cop today is not the safest of careers…if it ever was.

And so, together with a desire to do “good”, the officers already feel on the verge of attack while investigating the crimes. When those crimes are high profile ones, that pressure and attack becomes worse because it is loudly echoed by the law enforcement politicians upstairs.

How do you think that effects the investigation? How would that impact you? Do you think those various pressures might effect your view of guilt and innocence?

“Maybe, Sam, but I am not a police officer. I was not trained to be one.”

Police officers are human beings with human limitations who were trained to be police officers. Despite all the training in the world, they did not leave their box of human flaws at the door of the academy. They, like we, carry them with them.

“Well, what am I supposed to do about that?”

Remember it. Keep it in mind. Realize that it is the reality that presents itself when dealing with law enforcement.

“So, what are we supposed to do…tip our hat and say, ‘Good day to you and yours, Mr. Policeman’ as in the days of old?”

We’ve discussed that before…and it is certainly enough to do so again.

We will examine that in the next installment of this series regarding the perspectives of those daily involved in the criminal justice system (“CJS”).

I expect that the next such installment will be this Friday.

If the ghosts and goblins out there do not get me first.

In the meantime, know at least this – the system, and its investigations – are flawed. Those flaws, or, perhaps the truth, could lead law enforcement to you. Your next move when that happens can effect the rest of your life. Yes, it’s that important.

The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Should you wish that attorney to be me, please feel free to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.

For the original story upon which today’s blog is based, please go to http://boston.com/?refresh=true

Contact Information