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.

A MURDER IN YARMOUTH: TIME TO TARGET THE MASSACHUSETTS JUDGES? (Pt 1 of 3)

Last Friday, we ended the week with the tragic story of a slain police officer. He was murdered in the line of duty. His alleged killer was a man with a criminal record “as long as your arm”. Maybe longer.

The murder took place in Yarmouth. The officer was the late Yarmouth Police Officer Sean Gannon. The gent with the record is accused of killing Officer Gannon is Thomas Latanowich (hereinafter, the “Defendant”).

And now, not wasting a moment, the expected call for the quickie solution to a complicated problem has begun.

In short, “blame the judges!”

We have been here before, looking at this same situation. Only the details have changed alittle. This time, the victim was a very well thought of police officer and his police dog,

No gunfight here, folks, to open the door to accusing the officer of abuse of his authority. The K-9 officer was simply serving an arrest warrant,

The issue is clear here, folks. A man with a very long record of criminal conduct gunned down the police officer in cold blood. Even shot his dog.

Assuming guilt for the moment, it was a horrible, horrible crime which deserves maximum penalties and, if his record is anything like they say it is, the Defendant is a career criminal. A repeat offender.

And, clearly, he was free…on the street.

The Yarmouth Police Department, amongst others, is calling on judges to be held accountable for releasing violence offenders on bail.

“The judicial system in this state needs an overhaul,” the petition reads. “Our police officers are out putting their lives on the line daily for the safety of the people of the Commonwealth and their hard work is for not when career criminals are allowed to walk free from a courthouse.”

The online petition already has more than 20,000 signatures.

Attorney Sam’s Take On A “Feel-Good” Quickie Petition

You may have heard me discussing this matter on WBZ radio, 1030 am. I was called to discuss the story which they featured on the WBZ page.

The following is the petition, in full, which is purportedly getting a lot of support:

The judicial system in this state needs an overhaul. Our police officers are out putting their lives on the line daily for the safety of the people of the Commonwealth and their hard work is for not when career criminals are allowed to walk free from a courthouse. How many known violent criminals are walking freely in public awaiting their next court date instead of sitting in a cell where they belong? 1 is too many. Officer Sean Gannon is the perfect example of why. On April 12,2018, while serving a warrant with his K9 partner Nero, he was shot and killed by Tom Latanowich, 29, of Somerville.  A man with 111 prior convictions and current pending criminal charges and on probation.

He had a known violent history and yet he was allowed to freely walk the street. Had he been where he belonged, jail, Officer Gannon would be here today. Instead, a great, young police officer is gone needlessly and his young wife is a widow. His family has lost a key member, Nero has lost his best friend and his department has lost a brother.

The judges need to be held accountable for these decisions. We are prosecuting drug dealers in some cities and towns on manslaughter charges and sentencing them to jail, we send drunk drivers to jail after minimal numbers of offenses but we let a man with 111 convictions walk freely amongst us.

We the people of Massachusetts want our justice system fixed. it’s time we are allowed to feel safe and it is beyond the time for our police officers to have their hard work followed through on the final end—jail for offenders.

Hold judges accountable for the improper decisions they make when sentencing a career criminal. Save our police officers, DO YOUR JOBS!

So…what do you think?

I see this as yet another “feel good” action which will help distract folks from more realistic methods of trying to fix our very problematic criminal justice system.

“Sam, are you serious?”

Very serious.

The problem is real.  The petition is a simple tantrum.  It is nonsense.

Let’s continue this topic tomorrow.

 

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