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.

NEWTON LARCENY CASE UNDERSCORES THE NEED FOR AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER

A Massachusetts Administrative Judge, Cheryl Jacques (hereinafter, thru “Defendant”), should be a bit relieved today. West Newton District Court Judge Dyanne J. Klein has allowed a motion made by the prosecution to dismiss the criminal charges against her. In fact,

The Defendant’s attorney announced, “I know that Judge Jacques is gratified that this is behind her…The Pack ‘N Play case as a criminal matter is over. It never should have been in criminal courts to begin with. It’s too ridiculous for words.”

You may be wondering what this case was all about. The criminal charge of larceny (theft) by false pretense had been brought against the Defendant. The complainant, Tracey Christopher, a 39-year-old woman from Sudbury, sought the criminal charge, claiming that the Defendant deceived her when selling her a used all-purpose baby playpen on Craigslist for $75.

The crux of the criminal action was that Ms. Christopher complained that she did not receive all that was due her in the purchase. A vibrating device designed to calm babies was apparently missing.

In court, the defense arrived with the missing piece, a small plastic tool said to cost a whopping $12.99. The defense further explained that, “We went out and bought it so that the Pack N Play is now complete.”

Unfortunately, Ms. Christopher was not in court at the time. Having gotten the complaint issued, she would not have to show up in court until it was time for her to testify. The Defendant, had the matter continued, would have to be there every month lest an arrest warrant be issued in her name.

Worry not for Ms. Christopher, however. The defense has indicated that the missing piece will be mailed to her so that her expected baby will be “to vibrate appropriately.”

Attorney Sam’s Take On Absurd Criminal Allegations

And so ends Pack’nPlaygate.

What is most eye-opening in this story is that the case went as far as it did!

Is there any indication that the Defendant was running some kind of a scam and that this was simply one victim? No.

It would almost seem that the criminal justice system which allowed the matter to proceed through a clerk magistrate’s hearing had never heard of civil litigation. In fact, this is a matter that would be disposed of in small claims court if brought civilly.

What makes the lunacy of any prosecution in this case is that the Defendant was someone of stature. Somebody one would imagine was not risking her position as a judge in order to purposely bilk the poor expectant mother out of her…vibration object.

But there it was. Before tje court. Ready to proceed.

I do not know whether this court hearing was the actual arraignment nor if it was, whether the charges were dismissed after or before the actual arraignment. The difference between the two is whether the criminal charge was, and is, listed the Defendant’s criminal record.

You will notice that law enforcement in this case seems to have seen the matter for what it was. The police did not go out to arrest the Defendant. Let’s assume that this was indeed the arraignment and the prosecutor, looking at the file, realized how absurd it was that this matter was pending in criminal court.

On the other hand, we do not know whether it was the providing of the vibration device that convinced the Commonwealth to dismiss the case. Perhaps it would have otherwise fought “the good fight” right through to trial. PacknPlaygate could have been an ongoing judicial scandal about which we could all be debating until judgement day.

The point is that, ludicrous cases do get prosecuted . However, simply sitting back and laughing at it is not a great course of action. It can give you a criminal record. It could also get you jail time.

The same is true upon learning about an investigation into your activities. You can sit back, shrug your shoulders and tell yourself, “Ahh, it is nonsense. I will ignore it”. Or you can hire counsel to start dealing with it immediately.

The sad fact is that once the complainant levels allegations, most everyone involved in the system is likely to jump to support those allegations. Common sense is often left at the courthouse door.

So, you need someone who knows the system and how it works so that you have the best chance of the matter not snowballing.

It may be that the Defendant did not hire an attorney for the clerk’s hearing. Maybe the Defendant did not even show up. There is no obligation on the part of the Defendant to do either. However, it is the best way to make sure the criminal complaint is ordered by the clerk magistrate.

As ridiculous as some criminal charges may seem at first, there is no such thing as a criminal allegation that you can afford to simply ignore.

Save the righteous indignation and cynics of the system for after you are out of danger. If there are criminal charges, it is worth spending the few extra bucks to retain an experienced criminal defense attorney who can show absurdity for what it is and be ready for whatever may happen.

Because I can tell you one thing…anything can happen!

For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/20220821da_to_drop_craigslist_crib_case_against_judge/

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