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.

CRIMINAL DEFENDANT’S ANSWERING OF POLICE QUESTIONS RESULT IN DANGEROUSNESS HEARING (“Part 2 of 2)

As we discussed yesterday, Thirty-two-year-old Xavier Broughton(hereinafter, the “Defendant”) was arrested Tuesday in connection to the discovery of a dead body (hereinafter, the “Deceased”).

The Deceased had been missing and police were looking into the disappearance. On Monday night, law enforcement located the Deceased’s body in Worcester.

Apparently, the Defendant was approached and questioned. He decided to answer the questions and found himself arrested and charged disinterment of a human body and misleading a police investigation.

According to CBS , the prosecutors called his statement a “confession” at his arraignment. Said confession was allegedly that the Deceased was at the Defendant’s house for a party on January 7th and had overdosed on heroin. The Defendant apparently admitted that he had panicked and hid the Deceased’s body in an enclosed back porch, covered in boxes.

The Commonwealth also revealed that there is video surveillance showing the Defendant dragging the body of the Deceased. According to the prosecutor, the Defendant also said that the Defendant told police that the deceased stopped breathing while they were “partying together” on January 7th.

Unfortunately, according to the prosecution, the Defendant changed his story somewhat during questioning. Initially, he told police the Deceased had been at his house for the party but left the next morning. That was when police visited the Valley Hill Drive home after the Deceased’s family had reported him missing on January 9th.

According to officials, a tip brought them back to Broughton’s house.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Statements, Evidence And Damage Control

Well, some of the mystery about which we spoke yesterday are cleared up. Most notably is the basis f the charge regarding misleading the police.

“So, you no longer think that this could turn into a homicide investigation?”

 

I would not go that far. I could see it either way. After all, I do not know what the evidence the Commonwealth presented at the Dangerousness Hearing.

It is worth noting that there are various scenarios which can be considered homicide by the Commonwealth. Most people think in terms of murder…an intentional or perhaps depraved indifferent type of killing. However, it does not have to be that. There are different degrees of both murder and manslaughter.

These days, such as in the case of vehicular homicide, mere negligence is enough to bring the criminal complaint for homicide. This is what I was referring to when I mentioned the potential link between the drug use at the Defendant’s location and the death.

Clearly, should there be any prosecution for any type of homicide, the evidence, both the video and the Defendant’s statements would be introduced as “consciousness of guilt” evidence.

Again, I feel I must stress that we are talking about what might be going on behind the prosecutorial scenes here given the Dangerousness Hearing. There has, to the best of my knowledge, any allegations made of the Defendant having anything to do with any homicide. The purpose of this blog is to reveal the system and to give you an “insiders view” about how these things work.

There is one thing, though, that this case does illustrate clearly.

“What is that?”

In such a situation, the Defendant would have been much better off not making a statement. By relying on his Constitutional Rights, the Defendant could have gotten the aid of an experienced criminal defense attorney to advise him.

“But, Sam, they have a video!”

They say they have a video. We do not know how good or clear the video is or what it really shows assuming it exists. I’m not saying the Defendant should have lied….he tried that gamble and lost to some degree. He simply should have remained silent until he got legal help. He could always choose to make a statement after that.

Incidentally, not making a statement is an example of damage control…with or without the video, Freaking out and hiding the body, while an attempt at damage control, is not a particularly good idea. Aside from its being illegal, it is unwise. Those pesky bodies have a way of turning up at some point!

That’s it for me this week. Have a great, safe and law abiding weekend!

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