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.

Brockton Man Held Without Bail For Accidently Shooting And Killing Innocent Churchgoer

It is the fifth Brockton homicide this year so far.

19-year-old Brockton resident Frank J. Webb (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is learning that “accidents happen” is not a defense in murder cases.

Particularly when said alleged accident takes place while one is breaking the law anyway. When Massachusetts weapons are involved, the Commonwealth is particularly unforgiving.

The Defendant is said to have gotten into a fight with another individual in Brockton this weekend. During said altercation, he is believed to have fired a handgun wildly in the middle of Main Street. The Commonwealth says that, while doing so, he fatally wounded a 51-year-old woman who was walking home from church.

He has been charged with the charges of murder and Massachusetts’ assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Police allegedly recovered a .45-caliber handgun at the scene.

During the Brockton bail hearing, the Defendant’s attorney argued that his client had been living with his parents, working for a cutlery business, and studying at Massasoit Community College to get his GED. He also represented that his client had no convictions on his record. The prosecutor, however, pointed out that the Defendant had two open drug cases in the district court.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Murder And Bail Conditions

“Sam, yesterday you wrote about how bad it is for a lawyer to seem fake and that his/her credibility is important. I guess this lawyer has already blown his, right?”

“Actually, no. There was no contradiction between what the defense attorney said and what the prosecutor said.

When one talks about someone “having a record” in court, one generally refers to whether or not the defendant has prior convictions. There is nothing here to indicate that the Defendant has any. The fact that the Defendant has open cases means solely that he is accused of crimes…no findings has yet been made.

In a Massachusetts bail hearing, both statuses are relevant. The reason prior convictions are relevant is fairly obvious. The pending cases are important for other reasons. Under Massachusetts law, a defendant who is charged with a new crime while out on bail (or released on his own recognizance) may be held without bail for up to 60 days, prior bail being revoked.

Of course, in most murder cases, a defendant is generally held without bail anyway because it is the most serious of crimes, therefore inspiring the defendant a large incentive to not return to court.

“But, Sam, even the Commonwealth admits that the deceased was killed by accident, that she was at the wrong place, wrong time”.

Yes, but this does not matter. If I try to shoot person A, and I miss A but shoot person B, I am still charged with murder. That’s right…even first degree murder. There are various legal theories for this, but the primary one is called “transferred intent”. I meant to shoot, if not kill, someone. The fact that I killed the wrong one does not make my crime any less serious.
And, of course, in the eyes of the Commonwealth (and the public) it makes it worse.

Either way, the Defendant is in a lot of trouble. If he does not have an experienced criminal defense attorney, change that to a real lot of trouble!

To read the original story upon which today’s blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/Boston/metrodesk/2011/06/brockton-victim-wrong-place-the-wrong-time/Nm8gpWPBfvGGDFp9CQatUL/index.html

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