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 Armed Assaults With Guns And Knives Leave One Dead And Others Wounded In Lynn And Lowell- Attorney Sam’s Take

Well, if this past New Years Eve in Lowell and Lynn are any indication, we are in for another angry and violent year. Both Massachusetts towns were scenes of armed assaults, one of them fatal.

Yesterday, Jameson Phoun, 20 , and Sothy Voeun, 19, both of Lowell, (hereinafter, the “Defendants”) were arraigned n Lowell District Court on charges of, among other things, first-degree murder. They were held without bail, as istypical in such cases.

The Defendants are charged with having burst into a party where they had been asked to leave and shooting up a room filled with 25 party-goers. Thus far, one homicide has resulted.

According to the prosecution, said shooting was meant to “scare” the celebrants.

“I don’t characterize this as a gang issue so much as a violence issue amongst young people who are willing to carry weapons and utilize them to resolve conflict,” Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone Jr. said, standing outside the courtroom moments after the arraignment. “I would certainly refer to it as brazen. I would certainly refer to it as lawless. I would refer to it as tragic and troubling, as well.”

One 20-year-old woman died in the Lowell assault. Seven others were wounded, including two who were shot in the head. The condition other shooting victims is said to be “day to day”. “Everyone is in various stages of stable condition, and we’re hopeful that they’ll continue to get better as the days go on.”

It was a bloody New Year’s Eve in Lynn as well. There, a 55-year-old woman was hit in the chest by a stray bullet fired from a gun outside her home.

Apparently, a disturbance erupted outside her home. From that altercation, a bullet was fired which pierced a window of her home, police said. She was in stable condition yesterday at Massachusetts General Hospital, said Lynn Police Lieutenant Peter Holey.

According to Holey, the woman was not the intended target.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Lynn, an 18-year-old man was in serious condition yesterday at a local hospital, Holey said, after being stabbed in the chest during a dispute with friends .
Givanni Jenkins, 19, of Lynn, has been arrested as one of said “friends” and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a knife, and assault and battery with intent to murder.

From The Trenches:

As a Boston criminal defense attorney for over twenty years, not to mention my previous life as a prosecutor, I have handled countless assault cases wherein weapons such as knives or guns were used.

Of course, every case is different. However, although these three violent crimes took place around the same time, each already present certain issues which could make the prosecution’s job a bit difficult.

First of all, it would appear clear that the scene of the Lowell shooting was bedlam. We do not know what the lighting was like at the party, but we do know that it was rather crowded and, at the time of the shooting, clearly chaos reigned. Did anyone get a clear view of the shooter or shooters? Further, one would imagine that the alleged shooters will be prosecuted as acting together. Did one know what the other was about to do? Further, what if they were not the ones who did the shooting, but had come back for a less-armed confrontation and someone else started shooting? What if everybody simply assumed that the two trouble-makers from earlier were the shooters?

“But, Sam, it sounds like they made a statement to police.”

Perhaps. But what if that statement were suppressed?

The other two armed assaults also present their problems. For example, we may believe that there was an altercation outside of the Lynn shooting case, but what was it? If there are no witnesses thus far, can the police really say that the shooting victim was not the target? Finally, the knifing case is really up for grabs. Who started the assault? Is the complainant truly the victim or merely the person in the fight who got the “worse of it”? Finally, what if the friendship gets mended and the complainant decides he has a Fifth Amendment issue which might prohibit him from testifying?

Looking at the three cases like a defense attorney, of course, is different than doing so as a normal citizen. As a human being, I am appalled by how cheap we have allowed our lives to be. While people often blame it on “the young”, one must wonder where they learned it from.

How did it become so acceptable?

Well, I have my ideas, but that is not what this blog is about. The question is what do the stories have to do with you?

If you or a loved one are facing criminal allegations, you want to have an attorney who has the somewhat schitzoid reaction as described above. A truly experienced criminal defense attorney who really cares simply cannot help it.

Get one of those.

If you would like to discuss a criminal case with me, please feel to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.

To view the original story in which parts of this blog were based, please go to : http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/01/04/lowell_party_shooting_brazen_da_says/ and http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/01/02/woman_killed_9_others_injured_by_holiday_violence_in_lowell_lynn/

Note To Reader: In case you are interested, I was interviewed early this morning by Carl Stevens of WBZ Radio, 1030 AM about issues facing Parole Boards after the recent tragedy as discussed last week. That blog can be found here. It should be played during the morning.

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