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.

OHIO DEPUTY SHERIFF FIRED FOR HOSING “DANCING WITH THE INMATES” (Part Three-A)

He is not from Boston, but I am willing to bet that when Dominic Marrtucci (hereinafter, the “Deputy”) left home to go to work at Ohio’s Summit County Sheriff’s Office on April 10 or 11th, he did not go with the intent to do something stupid.

Or actionable, for that matter.

However, that is what he is alleged to have done. And as a result, he has lost his job.

According to pending allegations, the Deputy ordered five jail inmates to dance to a song by Usher in exchange for privileges such as using a phone or microwave, according to the sheriff’s office.

The inmates were apparently locked up in a disciplinary area. Every show needs an audience, of course, and so the Deputy is said to have invited colleagues to watch.

After the resulting internal investigation, the 35-year-old Deputy was fired this week as the show violated department policies by mistreating inmates, acting inappropriately and having a cellphone in the jail, apparently used to play the music.

According to reviews, one inmate did “the worm” as the Deputy played Usher’s “Yeah!” while another did the robot so that he could use a phone to contact relatives after a family member’s death. The internal report also claims that inmates were asked by the Deputy to do a “bump and grind” routine if they wanted a recently removed microwave returned to their unit.

You see, according to the Deputy, he had unplugged the inmates’ unit microwave after some ignored his orders to return to their cell for lockup. He said he returned later to tell the inmates they would have to dance for him if they wanted to get out of lockup and get their microwave back.

And what else does the Deputy have to say about all of this? Well, he admits making a mistake but explains that he was only trying to ease tension in the jail.

Other than this, no blemishes appear in the Deputy’s disciplinary file. Of course, those are expunged every 12 months due to a collective bargaining agreement, so take from that what you will.

Attorney Sam’s Take On How To Understand The Justice System

As you know, I have battled in the criminal justice trenches since 1984. I have operated on both sides of the asile. I have experienced and witnessed many things therein.

To be sure, there are some folks, on both sides, who either do not care about humanity and still others who are basically sadistic when it comes to their fellow beings. But neither of these are the majority. On either side, nor on the bench.

Despite many disappointing experiences, I have to tell you that I believe that most of us are trying to do the best we can under circumstances that never seem perfect. But, we are, as I have repeated, only human.

If you read the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog with any frequency, you have read my complaints about how discovery is handled in the federal criminal justice system. Bascially, most of the critical discovery (Grand Jury and witness statement-type things) is not given until just before trial. I remember when I first discovered this. I could not understand how this could be considered Constitutional. After all, how can the defense be expected to catch up to speed and investigate so late in the game?

Then, I was reminded of something by an old friend who had been a defense attorney while I was a prosecutor in Brooklyn.

As a prosecutor, I had done the same thing!

That’s right, the rules involving discovery of Grand Jury minutes were that the Minutes did not have to be given to the defense until just before the witness testified. Funny thing…nothing seemed wrong about that back then.

“Well, you were a prosecutor and you wanted to win, right?”

Yes, to an extent. I was never the type of prosecutor who figured that everybody is guilty and any way to win was a good way. At least, I thought I wasn’t. I was indoctrinated and my thought process was that the only thing the defense was going to do once they go my witness’s statements was to figure out how to pervert and discredit those statements in an unfair way. Besides, as I learned from supervisors, the defense has the best source of what happened in the world…the defendant! After all, if the defendant was honest with his counsel, then he could tell them the government’s testimony and more!

Well, in the light of day, both conclusions make sense…if we can pre-suppose that the defendant is, in fact, guilty. If the defendant is not guilty, then it is not simply a threat of manipulating the witness statements. If the defendant is innocent, as our Consistution tells us he is presumed to be, then he is no source of invormation about the government’s case against him.

How do you discredit a lie a year later and given only a few minutes after you learn of that lie?

So…was I unethical? Are federal prosecutors? Are defense attorneys? Which one of us is wrong or right?

The fact is it is a matter of perspective.

And when you change the perspective, what is right or wrong changes as well.

We will continue this in my next blog…posted later today.

To read the original new story upon which today’s blog is based, please go to http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/ohio-deputy-orders-inmates-dance-fired-16268103#.T6P0wpisSS0

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