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.

SPRINGFIELD MAN AND GIRLFRIEND LIKELY TO FACE CHARGES FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT AND DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BECAUSE OF “BLACK FRIDAY” NEGLECT OF TODDLER

Yesterday, we began discussing the plight of Springfield’s Anthony Perry (hereinafter, the “Careless Provider”, his girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend, depending on who you ask) and her young child.

To put it into the proverbial nutshell, the Careless Provider was watching his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son.

It was “Black Friday”…a day for significant deals at stores throughout the Commonwealth.

As revealed yesterday, Carless Provider has made many admissions (seemingly to whoever would listen) about the event. He has explained how those convincing commercials just made it impossible to pass these deals up. Further, employees of the store apparently did not have the TV that he really wanted, so they convinced him to stay a bit longer to get another one.

Meanwhile, the 2-year-old had been left alone in the car.

The girlfriend, apparently more interested in her son than the TV set, says she has broken off with him. He may face criminal charges. Law enforcement has not decided yet apparently.

Meanwhile, more statements from Careless Provider seem to be coming in.

A new spin on the event was that the child had not even been left in the car alone. According to WWLP reports, the police found Careless Giver at home with his TV and he denied the allegations. He claimed at the time that he had taken the boy into the store, but the boy got lost.

Well, the versions could be reconciled. Maybe the 2-year-old got lost in the store, went to the car and locked himself back in.

Anybody still wonder why attorneys suggest targets of investigations keep their mouths closed?

Attorney Sam’s Take on Child Neglect

As happens with Massachusetts domestic violence cases, if a child is anywhere around allegations of neglect, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) come a-calling.

DCF is charged with guarding the protection and welfare of children. Their actions come in various shapes and sizes. But make no mistake….these are the folks who, if they deem it necessary, can remove your children. Yes, they will have to get court approval at some point, but their opinion carries a great deal of weight.

“Sam, what can they do in this case?”

Their actions here would appear, on their face, to be unnecessary in this case. After all, Careless Giver is no longer dating the mother…so she says. At least temporarily. If he is no longer living with the family, then you might think that problem is solved, right? After all, they cannot go after Careless Provider. He is an issue for the police to handle.

But what appears at the surface for you and I may not be the issue for DCF.

After all, Careless Provider was a part of the family for quite a while. One would imagine he had some kind of connection with the child. He was also part of that child’s financial support. What does it say about the mother that this was not only the man with whom she chose to share her family, but to whom she entrusted her toddler?

“Sam, isn’t that kind of unfair?”

Maybe to you or me. Not necessarily to them.

What if the mother decides to forgive Careless Provider? What if he moves back in? She might trust him with the child again. Clearly, DCF is not likely to be in support of that.

You have to understand how slanted this can get. I have handled cases wherein a father/husband was accused of committing a crime. The crime did not involve the family at all. However, the couple did have a child living at home.

The wife believed in her husband’s innocence. There was ample reason to do so, by the way, even ignoring any presumption of innocence. By all accounts, she was a great mother.

However, she did believe in her husband’s innocence. That factor alone was enough to make DCF spring into action, insist that the husband be kicked out of the house and not have contact with his child…thereby, punishing everybody…including the child.

By the way, in one case, even after we went to trial (the husband/father was arrested and charged with the crime) and won the criminal trial, DCF insisted for awhile that the acquittal was of little import. They believed him guilty.

Finally, they relented.

“Finally” as in years had passed between their initial involvement and their letting the husband/father back into the home.

Further, they pressured the wife to divorce him during the pendency of the case. I have handled more than one case where the non-accused spouse, who believed in her spouse’s innocence was pressured to nonetheless divorce the spouse or DCF would take the children away.

The DCF system of “justice” and “protecting” children makes other aspects of our legal system look completely unbiased, logical and fair.

DCF’s involvement is the little piece of Hell that is likely to insinuate in the mother’s life in this case because of the actions of Careless Provider.

“If DCF is getting involved with my family, should I get an attorney?”

Well, as in the cases of clerk magistrate’s hearings, authorities will tell you that you do not need one. And, at least for a while, you may not. There will not be a requirement.
At some point, if the matter goes to court, however, you will need one.

But, as usual, by then much damage has been done.

My suggestion is therefore the same as in cases of clerk magistrate’s hearings and criminal investigations. Get experienced counsel immediately.

Often criminal charges and DCF accusations go hand in hand. Sometimes they do not. Treat them as one and the same.

For the original articles upon which this blog were based, please go to http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/23/anthony-perry-black-friday_n_2177204.html and http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?&articleid=1061176915&format=&page=1&listingType=Loc#articleFull

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