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.

17-YEAR-OLD SOMERVILLE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT STANDS CHARGED WITH SERIOUS CRIMES IN BERKSHIRE COUNTY BUT IS NOT HELD ON MASSACHUSETTS DANGEROUSNESS HEARING (PART TWO)

Yesterday, we began discussing the case of Somerville High School student Galileo Mondol (hereinafter, the “Defendant”). He, along with two juvenile co-defendants, is facing charges in Pittsfield for an alleged attack upon a freshman during a team-building camp. The charges are serious and are likely to be indicted. They include, but are not limited, to rape, intimidation of a witness and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

As the blog was posted, the smoke was clearing after a Dangerousness Hearing took place for the Defendant. As you may recall, such a hearing is conducted at the request of the Commonwealth, who believes the particular defendant is a threat to society and so must be held without any right to bail. Usually, when the Commonwealth makes such a suggestion, courts oblige and the defendant can look forward to being held without bail for (at least) the next few months.

Not this time, though.

Judge Fredric D. Rutberg, after reading a 40-page State Police affidavit and hearing the arguments of the Commonwealth, ruled from the bench that Berkshire County prosecutors did not provide “clear and convincing” evidence that the Defendant was so dangerous that he needed to be jailed for the next 90 days. Instead, the judge ruled that bail remain at $100,000 cash. The money was paid and the Defendant was freed by late afternoon from the Berkshire jail where he was being held.

Rutberg also imposed an 11 p.m. curfew, barred the Defendant from having contact with victims or witnesses in the case, and ordered him to surrender his passport. He was not ordered to wear GPS monitoring equipment.

The Defendant is one of three Somerville High students charged with sexually assaulting three high school freshman during the weekend of August 24-25 at Camp Lenox in Otis, where some 165 Somerville students, along with 20 adult supervisors, were participating in the preseason sports program.

There are two other defendants, both 16; their cases are being prosecuted at Berkshire Juvenile Court. The Defendant, having reached the ripe old age of 17 is in regular court and facing such bail arguments. The Defendant has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

On Friday, during the Dangerousness Hearing, the prosecutor summarized the accounts of six complainants and witnesses of the alleged assault, all freshman soccer players, acknowledging that they vary slightly in their details.

“Of the six people who had the best view of what occurred on this particular day, it is more than fair to say that every story doesn’t match up exactly…That would be typical of any situation where you have multiple witnesses and something as traumatic and as disturbing and as hurtful as the one that is alleged to have occurred here.”

Yes…it would also be the case when there are credibility issues (intentional or unintentional)…but why quibble?

Only one of the six freshman – identified only as “Victim 2,” who was assaulted but not raped – told investigators that the Defendant physically helped another defendant rape a freshman soccer player with a broomstick. Other witnesses claim that he was present and encouraged the abuse. Yet, the alleged rape victim himself- identified only as “Victim 1” – told investigators the Defendant was not physically involved in the assault at all. In fact, another version was that the Defendant had tried to stop the attack.

Nevertheless, the Commonwealth argued that the Defendant should be held in jail without bail because of his “cruel conduct” and the fact that the victims were juveniles.

“This is an act that was in no way deserved, in no way solicited, in no way provoked…The purpose of this camp was to help the soccer team become like a family. … What happened instead is this defendant took it upon himself with his two codefendants to enter the freshman cabin and do harm – not only physical harm, but a good deal of emotional harm.”

Perhaps unbeknownst to the Commonwealth…this is not the basis to hold someone in jail without the right to bail. At least, not according to the law, which the judge is sworn to rule by. On the other hand, it is not that bad an argument if what you are really doing is playing to the media and other outsiders.

Defense Attorney William Korman, had, of course, argued against the hearing from the first. “The victim himself says the defendant had nothing to do with it,” Attorney Korman told the judge. “This boy was telling the others to stop, to not do it.” After the hearing, Attorney Korman said, “The notion that the Commonwealth would even hold a dangerousness hearing on a case like this, with evidence this thin, is patently absurd…We’re grateful and thankful the judge saw through that.”

Korman, who insists that the Defendant will be completely exonerated, lamented that the Defendant had been the subject of media scrutiny while the two juvenile defendants in the case go unnamed.

“I think it’s unfair that … [the Defendant’s] name is put out there, and his face is on television while the juvenile codefendants, especially the ones who are far more culpable than him, get to hide behind that cloak of anonymity,” he said. “Unfortunately, that’s the way the law is written.”

Attorney Sam’s Take On Horrific Allegations And Bail

This longtime Boston criminal lawyer has had the pleasure of knowing Attorney Korman over the years…ever since he was a prosecutor himself. He has been around for awhile and is correct about the unfairness’s built into the system.

He is also right about the Dangerousness Hearing.

The fact that the Defendant is so young and without a prior record is something that the court must take into account. Even aside from that, however, the argument “Judge, we are bringing some nasty allegations forward” is not a proper basis to deny any defendant the right to bail. In fact, while it is more appropriate in a bail argument than a Dangerousness Hearing, it is actually not so relevant to a Massachusetts bail hearing!

On Monday, let’s step back and review what we already know about the criminal justice system and apply it to this story. We will primarily touch upon the issues of bail, Dangerousness Hearings, sexual crimes and Joint Enterprise
Until then, please continue to (or actually start to) have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!

For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to http://mobile.boston.com/art/30/metrodesk/2013/09/06/somerville-athlete-accused-using-broomstick-assault-teammate-has-bail-set/Evrxoikq7hyWnSjeQ7pSLM/story

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