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.

SALEM CHILD ASSAULT AND BATTERY CASE PRESENTS A PLEA OF “NOT GUILTY” FOLLOWED BY AN ADMISSION OF GUILT

The Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog has long been telling you that the law does not really recognize “self-help” solutions to problems.

Particularly when said self-help is a crime.

Some folks seem to still believe that if a person has a good reason to commit a crime…such as revenge…then the court will look the other way. It doesn’t.

Let’s take a case that dominated the news on Friday. It hails from Salem. A woman was brought to court on charges that she boarded a school bus and hit a 5-year-old girl as apparent pay-back for hitting her son previously.

The woman, Dominique Hans (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) was arraigned Friday in Salem district court, charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct. She pleaded “not guilty” and was released after a bail hearing.

Bail was set in the amount of $1,000 and she was Ordered by the court to have no contact with the alleged victim or her family and to stay away from the bus stop.

The Defendant, a bit more vocal than most, then made statements to the press that she merely “confronted” the girl for hitting her 6-year-old son, but did not hit her. She does say, though, that she held the girl’s face to get her attention.

Apparently, the Defendant’s ire was worsened when, she says, the school officials ignored her complaints that the kindergartner had hit the little boy.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Massachusetts Assault And Battery

Well, there are a couple of points to discuss in this matter.

First, of course, is yet another reason why you want to get an experienced criminal defense attorney before you even walk into a courtroom if possible. Of course, doing so is a waste of effort and money if you intend to not listen to said attorney.

I do not know who was representing the Defendant, or if said attorney was even present during her public statements. However, if she had such an attorney there, I would like to think that attorney advised her strongly not to make public statements.

“Why shouldn’t she, Sam? She had a point of view to get across.”

I suppose she did. However, it might have been in her best interest to find some way of putting her views across without, in effect, pleading guilty to what she is charged with.

Huh? I thought she pleaded “not guilty”.

She did. However, afterwards, she made public statements…on camera of course… admitting that she got on that bus and confronted the 5-year-old by grabbing her face.

The verbal confrontation enough would have been enough to find her guilty of assault. After all, one does not touch in order to commit the assault. It is merely the putting the person in fear that they are about to be so touched.

This was a 5-year-old child. It is reasonable to assume that he was in fear.

But the episode, by the Defendant’s own statements did not end there.

Battery, under Massachusetts law, is an offensive or unpermitted touching. It does not have to be a punch. It does not have to be a kick. It does not have to be a hit.

Just a touch.

I am making the cerebral leap in assuming that, by holding his face, the Defendant was touching the kid. I am also going to go out on a limb and guess that she had not given her permission to do so.

“What about self-defense or defense of another?”

Well, those are certainly defenses to assault and battery. However, I have heard nothing about the 5-year-old girl attacking the Defendant. Also, it was too late to be protecting her child. It does not work when you go in the next day to do it. The danger to ehr son was over..

Revenge is not self-defense.

By the way…the Defendant is lucky she is not a student. Then she would fit under the new Massachusetts bullying statute too!

But, then, that is a rant for another day.

For now, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

For the original article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20120203salem_mom_denies_hitting_little_girl_on_school_bus/

Contact Information