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.

MATTAPAN MURDER SUSPECT ON TRIAL FOR A SECOND TIME IS NOT CONFRONTED BY EYEWITNESS AS EXPECTED

One of the Massacuhusetts murder cases we have been tracking for the past couple of years is in the middle of its second trial. This is the so-called “Mattapan Massacre” trial in which, at the first trial, the jury acquitted one defendant and could not reach a unanimous verdict as to the other, Dwayne Moore (hereinafter, the “Defendant”).

The Defendant is on trial again as this is being written.

The attorneys are expected to give final arguments to the jury today.

The last time we discussed this case was when it came to light that the one eyewitness of the shootings, Marcus Hurd, had decided to change his testimony since the last trial.

Mr. Hurd, the sole survivor of the 2010 attack in Mattapan that killed four people, including a two-year-old child, gave a detailed account at the first trial. At that trial, though, he indicated that he could not identify the shooters. After that trial, howerver, Mr. Hurd delivered the bombshell that his memory had improved, he was no longer afraid and he now recognized the Defendant as the man who had shot him.

A hearing was held during which the Commonwealth requested it be allowed to bring this new testimony forward at the re-trial. They won that hearing. Mr. Hurd was allowed to testify as to his improved abilities.

But…he did not do so.

Nobody asked him.

And so, the hard-won testimony, which I would imagine the Commonwealth touted as critical and the “truth” never came in.

During his testimony at the retrial, nobody asked him. And so, he did not identify the Defendant as the shooter.

The reason why the defense lawyer would not ask the witness to identify his client as the murderer are evident.

When asked why the Commonwealth did not elicit the testimony, the prosecutor explained that he does not discuss trial strategy with the press.

Yeah. It’s a big mystery.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Game Of Criminal Justice

Last week, we discussed my assertion that the criminal justice battles, both on the streets and in the halls of Justice have become games.

It seems to me that the Commonwealth has proven my point once again.

You must remember that there are no other living witnesses who now say they can identify the shooters. The only other witness, upon whom the Commonwealth relied at both trials, was a gentleman who admitted setting up the drug deal which went sour and turned into multiple murder. Despite the fact that other independent evidence seemed to indicate to the contrary, he claims that he left the scene before the shooting started.

He got a deal which got him away from the murder charges.

Yes, I would imagine that this part of the Commonwealth’s strategy was the typical “making a deal with the devil” in order to catch a greater evil. As for the evidence which would reflect badly on the witness? Well, you simply close your eyes.

Remember, you as the Commonwealth are taking the position that this salt of the earth is worth believing.

Clearly, he did not do a great job at the first trial. No convictions came.

Suddenly, the sole survivor of the shootings had an epiphany which promised to give the prosecution critical evidence which would fill the void not formerly filled. Testimony from a sympathetic victim (in a wheelchair yet) to give the eyewitness testimony.

The Commonwealth brought the defense and the Superior Court through a battle to make sure they could use the evidence. Time, effort and money were spent by all to give the Commonwealth the green light.

I would imagine that part of the prosecution’s arguments, of course, was that the jury deserved to hear the truth, and this victim/witness was telling the “truth”.

They won the green light.

And then, apparently, decided that the trial strategy did not have room for that “truth”. They deliberately did not put that evidence before the jury.

“Sam, you seem upset by this. I thought you were a defense attorney!”

I am. I am also a citizen who is angered by my own words about “law, order and justice” being a game proven so often.

I have no preference who wins this particular trial. I am not involved. But it is very frustrating watching as we treat police officers and prosecutors as if they were saints when they, really, are just other players in the criminal justice game.

A game which ruins the lives of many people, guilty and innocent.

We really should start to do something about it, don’t you think? Or would you rather wait until you or one of your loved ones are caught in the cross-hairs?

For the original stories upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2012/12/03/key-witness-testifies-mattapan-quadruple-slaying-case/OpZ3eCDVeMuMXDQuwhp87L/story.html and http://bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1061179285

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