Many people do not understand how easy it is to be considered tampering with intimidating a witness or such similar Massachusetts crimes. Particularly during a murder trial.
Take, for example, Methuen’s Cesar Jimenez, 33 (hereinafter, the “Defendant”). He is a gentleman who has now been accused of threatening a witness in a murder. The basis is that the Defendant was apparently overheard by police officers muttering, in spanish, the words “snitch” or “whistleblower” near a witness.
It turns out that the son of the Defendant’s girlfriend, 24-year-old Daniel Lee Lopez, is one of two men on trial for the murder of a Chinese food deliveryman in 2009. Lopez and 20-year-old Ronny Ramos allegedly lured the man with a fake order, then assaulted him and robbed him as he lay dying, according to reports.
The Defendant was arrested and ordered to stay away from Salem Superior Court until an ongoing trial’s conclusion.
He was also held on $10,000 bail.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Intimidation Of Witnesses
Like the crime of Disorderly Conduct, Intimidation Of A Witness is a criminal charge which can mean many things. Those things can include allegations which you would never expect to have any potential intimidation effect to any witness.
This case, however, is different.
If the allegations are true, then the matter is easily prosecutable as being statements meant to intimidate a witness…but it can also have been something else.
I do not know whether the complainant in this matter had already testified or not. If he/she had already testified, then such words are more likely to be expressions of opinion about said testimony, not an attempt to intimidate the witness and influence testimony.
Some might say that such words are covered by the United States Constitution.
But, then, that’s the way such broadly worded criminal statutes work.
“Sam, can’t the defendants on trial be held responsible for the Defendant’s actions?”
No, not unless there is some evidence that they had something to do with having him utter the words. By the way, notice that the words were not “I’m gonna kill you if you testify” or “We’re gonna get you because you are a rat!”. The words were descriptive. What if the words were, “You are fat and have a lousy tie on!”?
In reality, however, the words allegedly spoken are somewhere in the middle of those extreme examples. The fact is that the justice system and the Commonwealth take any interference with witnesses very seriously.
Do not for a moment think that they are fooling around with such charges.
They are not.
For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2012/10/06/methuen-man-charged-with-intimidating-murder-trial-witness/ytWTX6TzKLhzKxQQIOhQuL/story.html