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 MEN ARE HELD ON HIGH BAIL IN CASE OF DRUGS, GUNS AND UNRULY SUPPORTERS

Take family dynamics, guns, drugs and a bail hearing and you never know what you will come out with.

Well, actually, folks at Dorchester municipal court last Monday found out.

Pedro Valdez, 33, and Lasonia Gathers, 27, (collectively the “Defendants”) were arrested over last weekend on felony drug and weapons charges after a search of a Dorchester home uncovered measuring scales, multiple plastic bags containing heroin and cocaine, and a loaded semi-automatic handgun inside a child’s bassinet, according to police.

For those who may not know, there are strict rules for safely keeping firearms. A child’s bassinet does not qualify as a safe place.

For an number of obvious reasons, many of which are probably self evident.

If you are thinking that keeping such contraband in a bassinet is bad judgement, you are not likely to be impressed by what happened in court.

At the arraignment, the court set high cash bail for the Defendants.

There are potential appeals to which defendants and their friends/families avail themselv s under such circumstances. They do not include the avenue the Defendants’ family and friends decided to take.

According to the Boston Globe,
a frantic, emotional scene broke out in the court as family and friends of the Defendanrs protested the judge’s bail decision. The clash continued outside the courtroom.

A relative of Gathers shouted expletives at court officers and Judge Serge Georges Jr., while another man charged at media photographers. Eventually, court officers had to clear the courtroom.

The crowd’s emotions were bubbling over even before the case was called. People wept in the gallery when the Defendants arrived in handcuffs for their hearing, some jeered at prosecutors.

After the hearing, emotions continued to run high and police had to break up a verbal and physical argument that broke out among family members across the street from the courthouse.

The Defendants, who are both from Dorchester, face a host of felony drug and weapons charges. Valdez was ordered held on $125,00 cash bail and if released must forfeit his passport, wear a GPS monitor, and remain on house arrest. Gathers was held on $75,000 cash bail with the same conditions.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Guns, Drugs And Unruly Bail Hearings

I was not at this particular event, but I understand from the paper that Valdes’s attorney explained that he does have a five month old daughter.

I do hope that defense counsel in this case did not argue, “the judge, my client supports his five month old daughter” as a reason for the judge not to demand hi bail. That would be like the old story of the child defendant, on trial for murdering his parents, having his lawyer argue that the court should be lenient because his client is an orphan.

A case of this nature is usually treated very seriously by the courts

As we have discussed, the combination of guns and drugs is a red flag and not something that the public likes to see treated casually. Add to that the shock value of firearms being kept in the bassinet and you have A case in which neither police, prosecutor or judge wants to be seen as being terribly lenient.

The reactive audience at the bail hearing did not help matters either.

I have handled cases in which friends and family in the audience start becoming unruly or exchanging hand gestures with the defendant. While there are some who may believe that this shows that the defendant has community support, it works the other way.

The crowd is demonstrating that it has very little respect for the court and that it has a tendency to be unruly. This gets held against the defendant because the assumption is that he or she is probably the same way.

This is not helpful. Particularly in the case that is likely to raise eyebrows already.

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