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.

DORCHESTER ASSAULT WITH INTENT TO KILL COMPLAINANT DISAGREES WITH THE BOSTON POLICE

“You always hurt the one you love”is an old saying. These days, perhaps the words “or kill” should be added.

Earlier last week, we were alerted to the fact that Angeleek Barros, 21, (hereinafter the “Victim”) who was pushing a baby stroller down the street was repeatedly stabbed several times in Dorchester. As days went on, we heard that the Victim’s ex- boyfreind’s new girlfriend was the attacker. And so, Samia Jones , 17, and hereinafter, the “Girlfriend”, was arrested for the Massachusetts armed assault with intent to murder. The week went on and another arrest took place. It was the arrest of 19-year-old Daquan Sparks (hereinafter,the “Boyfreind”) was arrested for his alleged part in the assault.

The Boston Police charged that Boyfriend lured the mother of one of his children to Savin Hill Monday and held her while Girfriend stabbed her multiple times in a brazen daytime attack.

Law enforcement alleges that Boyfreind had children with both Girlfreind and Victim. They say that he called the Victim and asked her to meet him in Savin Hill so he could give her shoes for their baby.. When Victim pushed her baby in a stroller down a street, police say that Boyfriend grabbed and restrained her, while Girlfriend stabbed her.

Seems simple, if macabre, enough, right?

Well, not so fast.

Now, Victim has released a statement of her own. She is now saying that she never told police detectives that Boyfriend restrained her while Girlfreind stabbed her repeatedly with a butcher’s knife.

Uh-oh.

Prosecutors had already released the news that she DID tell them that. However, Suffolk County Assistant District Attorney Jennifer O’keefe announced in court during Friday’s arraignment that Victim now denies that Boyfriend held her during the stabbing. Instead, Victim apparently is saying that he was present, but did not restrain her.

The difference between law enforcement and Victim is that the Commonwealth is saying that she has changed her statement. She says she never told them that Boyfreind restrained her.

“I will say I spoke with detectives Doogan and Schroeder, who were very clear on what (Victim) originally reported to them, that the defendant held her down while she was stabbed,” OKeeffe said.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The “Holyness” Of Police Reports

As usual, there are a number of points which this case brings up. As usual, we can only tackle a few.

First of all, you may be wondering if the difference between whether Boyfriend simply stood and watched or actually held Victim down matters. The answer is yes and no.

The Commonwealth will allege that Boyfriend and Girlfriend acted together as a joint venture. As with other conspiracy-related cases we have discussed, each one would therefore be liable for what the other did.

That being said, the basic credibility of the Commonwealth’s case has been struck a blow if the defense attorneys involved know what they are doing.

The Commonwealth’s chief witnesses in this case are going to be the Victim and the police. Now, thanks to the Victim, those two entities are somewhat at odds. Basically, law enforcement is saying that Victim is now not truthful and Victim is saying that the police screwed up on their reporting on the case. That is something that can be exploited in the case.

The controversy also brings up another issue of which you should be aware if you either have any business in the criminal justice system…or happen to care about the system. Perhaps since he is trying to distance himself from law enforcement, the Suffolk County District Attorney turned Candidate could pledge to do something about it should he win the mayoral race.

The cases in which those involved claim that police reports are not accurate are legion. Even in cases where the mistakes do not involve important facts, this takes place. Sometimes it is the complainant, sometimes the accused and sometimes a mere witness. It really is not something that is deniable if you want to keep a straight face.

Unfortunately, although police officers are human beings and human being make mistakes, prosecutors (and often judges) insist on treating the police report as if it is the gospel. Naturally, most police officers do as well so as to save face. In fact, this often helps us criminal defense lawyers in our cross-examinations of officers where we get them to underscore how important and sacrosanct their police reports are…only to lower the boom.

While it often can be helpful to the defense, it is really bad for criminal justice. In short, it presents another area where the word of the police witness is considered beyond reproach and is relied upon. As such, the alternate reality of the police report ends up being the “reality” upon which the court relies.

Of course, in order to use it to YOUR benefit…you want to have an experienced criminal defense attorney. Otherwise, you may find yourself crushed between your reality and that which appears on paper.

By the people who want to deprive you of your liberty

For the original stories upon which today’s blog was based, please go to http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/04/04/police-arrest-year-old-savin-hill-stabbing-mother-with-baby-stroller/MgdtyLfyk32hIogHux5RhP/story.html?s_campaign=8315
and http://bostonglobe.com/metro/2013/04/05/year-old-denies-lured-old-girlfriend-savin-hill-she-could-stabbed-new-girlfriend/WJdKfc2mZ56syh5wysaqHO/story.html

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