By now, you have undoubtedly heard about the Dean College assault and battery fiasco.
I know it is not technically Massachusetts bullying or hazing, but it does involved some allegedly illegal conduct.
Even if the authorities seem not to have figured out how yet.
In fact, it involves the possibilities of several criminal acts.
Several of the students have already been expelled form the school and Franklin police who are conducting the criminal investigation say that the “mob” who cheered on the attack are likely to face charges…as is the alleged attacker himself.
Well, I guess that’s a start…
Attorney Sam’s Take On Omni-Directional Assault Cases
This case could actually be subtitled “can you spot all the potential Massachusetts crimes.”
I find it interesting, first of all, that the school took action in this case only after the assault video went “viral”. We began this week in the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog speaking about the recent case of hazing. I compared it to our reaction in the recent bullying matters.
Both cases brought to light questions as to how schools handle such situations. That being the case, one wonders why this school did not take action until the matter was undeniable. Particularly since they pride themselves with having a “no tolerance” policy in such matters. Could it be they have taken some of my previous blogs to heart and simply did not want to ruin the lives of those involved ?
That would be sort of hard to believe. Besides, this is a totally different type of matter than our usual instances of bullying and hazing.
Therefore, when thinking of criminal investigations, it would seem that this is right up the alley of Atty. Gen. Martha Coakley. She loves these types of issues. She likes to be leading the parade of criminal prosecution regardless of minor considerations like people’s futures.
Well, while we are waiting for law enforcement to decide whether to make a move, let’s see if we cannot identify the potential criminal liability this matter has to offer.
First off, of course, are the immediately apparent alleged criminal acts.
I’m sure that it will not shock my readership if I fI suggest that there is at least one potential charge of assault and battery possible. Actually, there are several.
First of all, there is the potential issue of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The dangerous weapon in this case is the sneaker that the assailant is said to have beaten the assault complainant with. As noted on one of the videos on our assault page, a sneaker is a tricky thing. If I kick you with a sneaker on, it is simple battery. However if I take the sneaker and beat you over the head with it, then it is a dangerous weapon.
This, of course, matters. It is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony charge.
But wait ! We have more assault and battery type charges potentially involved here.
The Commonwealth often likes to bring charges of assault and battery with intent to murder. Surely, this poor assault complainant was beaten within in inch of his life. I’m not sure what yardstick they are using in this investigation, but certainly such an assault charge could come here.
Believe me, they have brought such a charge for less.
Naturally, there will be more than one potential counts to consider. There is punching, pushing, hitting with the sneaker, and kicking. All these are often used as different counts. As a result, the assault defendant alone could be looking at a page long of assault charges. Given the publicity, it could even be indicted.
Assault and battery is not the only type of crime this defendant might find himself facing. Whether or not these turn out to be his sneakers that were allegedly stolen, he forcibly took them from his target. Therefore, he could be facing charges of unarmed robbery.
By the way, the law does not allow you to forcibly take what belongs to you…even if it was stolen. Self-help, as we have discussed many times, is not a recognized remedy in the judicial system.
Needless to say, if “slugger” doesn’t have an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney on his side yet, I would strongly advise that he get one. Yes, even before the criminal charges even come.
Then we have the alleged cheering section. Of course, in a sweeping dramatic gesture, the school has already expelled several of these folks. However, why stop there? There are young lives with potential futures that can be ruined here! And, of course, the Attorney General is eyeing the situation.
So..let’s go for it!
Well, it’s difficult to say how this Commonwealth prosecution of the audience members will play out. However, in similar matters, criminal charges of conspiracy are brought against such enthusiasts.
So, have we identified all the potential defendants in this case?
We’ve got a few more, as well as more analysis of the potential prosecution coming up in my next blog.
In the meantime, have a great, safe, and law-abiding weekend!
To read one of the original stories upon which this blog is based, please go to http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2011_1207criminal_counts_weighed_in_dean_campus_beating/ . If you wish to see the video, it can be found on YouTube.com