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.

SOUTH BOSTON POLICE OFFICER IS THE REPORTED VICTM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

In the past, I have acknowledged that being a police officer is a hard and dangerous job. Of course, I was referring to their time while at work, not at home.

A Boston Police Officer, however, recently faced purported danger in his South Boston home. Mary Niland (hereinafter “Defendant Ex”) of South Boston is accused of attacking both him and a lady friend last week. More specifically, she has been charged with breaking into the officer’s home in the middle of the night and assaulting the two as they were in bed.

“[Defendant Ex], who is his former girlfriend broke into his home uninvited and crept into the bedroom where he was staying with another woman,” argued the prosecution at the arraignment. She went on to tell the court that the officer and Defendant Ex were no longer a couple, but that, at 2:30 a.m. Monday morning, she broke in and went on the attack. That would be the charges of, at least, Breaking And Entering and Assault and Battery.

She further argued that, “He indicated that she was belligerent and that she began punching both him and his female companion as they lay in bed…The homeowner reported to officers that he jumped out of bed and attempted to restrain [Defendant Ex] and in the struggle [Defendant Ex] fell down the stairs.”

You see, Defendant Ex came to court to face charges bruised and battered. In fact, her eye was swollen shut. Further, she had the colossal nerve to claim that she, not the police officer, was the actual victim.

In court, Defendant Ex’s attorney argued this position and that her client and the officer were still a couple. “This is not a case of her trying to attack these people…Looking at her injuries alone she was hit, she was punched in the face with a closed fist”, argued counsel.

Defense counsel further argued that, “She came home after a night out and she found a woman in bed with her boyfriend and at that point he took that out on her.”

Nonetheless, the officer has not been charged with any criminal activity. The Commonwealth indicates that he is considered the victim. As a result, they say, they are not releasing his name.

Interestingly, as you may recall, alleged victims’ names are often released in assault cases. Of course, they are not usually police officers.

In the meantime, Boston Police say that they have opened an internal investigation.

Defendant Ex was released on bail.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Victim, Victim, Who Gets To Play Victim

Isn’t it interesting how these cases work out?

Please understand that I have no inside information about this case. Nor do I know how this home is laid out. For example, where the stairs are as compared to Defendant Ex’ alleged attack.

I don’t know who was victimized here…or if both the officer and were victimized. It does seem, though, that there are allegations going both ways with, at least, one of the parties showing injuries.

…Of course, that party would be the accused. Not the professional police officer. One would imagine that a fair-minded Commonwealth would investigate and prosecute both claims and let the fact finder decide.

“But, Sam, what if the Commonwealth refuses to do that?”

In all likelihood, they will refuse to do that. After all, they have decided who the guilty party must have been. As we have discussed many times in the past, once the investigating officers make that almost instantaneous deduction, it becomes written in criminal justice stone. No point in revisiting and, perhaps, confusing , things I guess.

There is one thing that Defendant Ex can do. She can file a request for a criminal complaint at the local criminal clerk’s office. There would be a hearing as to whether there is probable cause to issue the complaint against the officer. As you will recall, probable cause is a very low burden. Basically, if Defendant Ex describes all the elements of the charge, the complaint will issue.

“Will the complaint issue?”

Maybe and maybe not. I have handled a great many of these matters. Too often the clerk will turn a “blind ear” to the evidence submitted at a hearing and assume that seeking the complaint is simply “pay back” for the pending criminal action.

However, should the complaint issue, it often will bring up another issue for the Commonwealth. Both the officer and Defendant Ex may raise their 5th Amendment rights not to testify about the event because doing so may incriminate them.

At least, that is the way it usually plays out.

In this case, though, it would appear that the officer has another witness who we can expect will testify against Defendant Ex and not the officer. That would be the new girlfriend. Therefore, the Commonwealth can decide to have neither Defendant Ex or the officer testify and simply go on her testimony.

My rendition of the facts in today’s blog may seem biased against the officer. You might wonder if I think it is impossible for an officer to be attacked.

Oh, it can happen. Stay tuned to my next blog.

For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to http://boston.cbslocal.com/2014/11/03/boston-woman-allegedly-breaks-into-police-officers-home-attacks-him-in-bed/

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