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.

MICHAEL JORDAN IS ARRESTED FOR SHOOTING MURDER IN COPELY SQUARE

There is an abundance of high profile criminal cases pending in various courts. A number of these cases feature sports figures in the role of “The Defendant”. However, no, this is not that Michael Jordan.

This Michael Jordan is a 27-year-old Boston gent (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) who has been charged with gunning down another man in the shadow of one of Boston’s most famous houses of worship, Trinity Church in the Copley Square area.

He has been ordered held without bail..

He was arraigned and has pleaded “not guilty” to first-degree murder and other charges. The allegations date back to August 2013 when he is alleged to have shot and killed 22-year-old Ahmir Lee.

The Commonwealth contends that witnesses told the police that the shooter wore a blue shirt and fled in a cream-colored vehicle. Prosecutors also say that the Defendant drove a “similar” car and was seen via surveillance His cellphone records also allegedly indicate that he was in the Copley square area at the time.

No allegations as to motive yet.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Identification And Circumstantial Evidence

Most often, I wear a white shirt when I am going to be in court. Sometimes, though, I take a chance and wear a blue one. I am glad I was not wearing a blue one on that day around the Copley area.

Likewise, I do not know too much about the car the Defendant is said to have been driving, but I am sure that my car looks “similar” to many cars out there. Maybe even folks with blue shirts!

Fortunately, my car is not what I perceive to be “cream” colored. Particularly given this winter weather, it can best be described as…”dirty” colored.

At any rate, if the Defendant was indeed driving around that area, that might be evidence that he was not the shooter (at least if the shooter was on foot). What would he have done with his car? Just…park it? Really? There?

In other words, if these “descriptions” are close to all the Commonwealth has, I would anticipate a rapidly approaching acquittal in this case.

Living in the land of Criminal Justice Reality, though, I would expect that the Commonwealth has more evidence against the defendant. Otherwise, they probably would not take the step of arresting him yet. They normally wait until they have enough and then make the arrest. Particularly in a murder case given the potential publicity (bad or good) and the fact that time pressures of a Statute of Limitations do not exist in a murder case.

The Statute of Limitations is the law which provides a time limit after which charges cannot be brought. The crime of murder does not have one of those which is why, from time to time, you will hear of an arrest in a decades-old killing.

We can tell a couple of things given the scant information about this case that we have. First of all, it seems clear to me that identification is going to be an important issue in this case. This is why the description of the shooter is so important and why any decent criminal defense attorney would be concentrating on how strong or weak the description is.

It also seems likely that the Commonwealth’s case is going to rely on circumstantial, rather than direct, evidence.

Many people think that circumstantial evidence cannot be used in a court of law. They are incorrect. Circumstantial evidence is used all the time. Sometimes a case can be nothing but circumstantial evidence.

This may be one of them.

It would be foolhardy for the Defendant to simply assume that the charges against him are “bogus” and weak and so he destined to be cleared. That is true whether he did the shooting or not.

Cases sometimes do improve with age.

And even of the strongest cases can be lost when the attorney does not have the experience or talent that is necessary.

To review the story upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2015/02/boston_man_pleads_not_guilty_to_copley_square_shooting

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