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.

MASSACHUSETTS LAW ENFORCEMENT GIVE UP MANHUNT FOR DRUG SELLING SUSPECT IN LEXINGTON

Sometimes, Massachusetts criminal investigations go underground or are put off for another day.

Here is a case about an alleged drug trafficker and his apparent slip through law enforcement’s fingers.

Maybe.

Please keep in mind that we are constantly told that drug dealers are dangerous folks and a threat to our kids, communities and selves. This is why they often face very high bail. It is also why there are extremely steep mandatory prison sentences for them. We lock them away because their crimes allegedly rise to the level of armed assault, rape and other violent conduct.

Well, law enforcement has now suspended the search in Lexington for (allegedly) such a gentleman who is said to have successfully fled from a drug bust in Waltham a couple of days ago. They say that they suspended the search because the gent is known to Waltham police.

Waltham Police Sergeant John Brooks has announced that said gent was observed selling drugs to an undercover officer.

The escape was not treated very lightly when it allegedly happened, mind you. The police say that the suspect fled from police in a white car with New Hampshire plates, before abandoning the car in Lexington in a neighborhood area just off Route 4/225 near the intersection with Route 128.

Trooper Kenneth Gaetz says that K-9 units as well as a helicopter assisted in the search until it was suspended a couple of hours later.

But, again, not to worry. After the failed manhunt (that seems to have been important at the time), Sergeant Brooks says that police don’t need a manhunt. They know who the man is. They can find him later.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Escaped Suspects

“Hey, Sam, you always tell us not to try to out-run, out-fight or out-talk police officers when they approach us. It looks like this guy did so successfully.”

I would add the word “temporarily” there. However, it is undeniable that, although his flight has the potential to bring him additional criminal charges, it also might have opened the door to some other defenses in his case. At the end of the day? It will depend on how good the lawyer is who is presenting the defense.

If the suspect had stayed at the scene, his defense would surely have to explain what he was doing there, if nothing else. Of course, I am not involved in this case and so do not know what evidence the Commonwealth has in it other than the fact that an undercover police officer alleges that the suspect made a hand-to-hand drug sale. However, there are a number of defenses which any decent criminal defense attorney knows in such cases. For example, here are some of the questions said counsel will want to raise:

Is there an audio or video recording of the sale? If not, why not?

How many people were there at the scene of the sale?

Is the government claiming that everybody present were guilty of drug
distribution?

Is there an allegation that this was a conspiracy? If so, how was this determined and who were the alleged conspirators?

How good is the undercover officer’s identification?

Now, that last point may have been affected by the escape in a positive way from the suspect’s escape. Now the identification may be made weaker because of the separation of time between the bust and the recovery of whoever ends up being the defendant.

“What do you mean? The suspect will be the defendant!”

Well, that is what the prosecution will claim, of course. But, then, it will be for a jury to decide. That will depend on how well they can link the defendant to the scene of the alleged crime.

On the other hand, should he indeed end up being the one apprehended, he has just given the government evidence of “Consciousness of guilt” which they will surely try to use against him. Like most prosecutorial theories, this claim can be attacked. As usual, though, this assumes an experienced criminal defense attorney.

There is another point which this story brings to our attention.

And we will deal with that in my next blog.

For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/03/26/manhunt-lexington-for-suspect-who-fled-drug-bust-waltham/zVzoRI5a9cyHLxKPPzmOaM/story.html

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