In yesterday’s Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog, I discussed a bank manager and his buddy who have found themselves in the sites of the Massachusetts criminal justice system. The charge was assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, to wit a hammer and a football.
Today, it is a Massachusetts state trooper who has caught our attention. Same crime, although with the addition of drunk driving. This time, though, it the weapon is a gun…and, yes, shots are fired.
Timothy W., 41, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is a Massachusetts state trooper who is a decorated war hero. Yesterday, he was released on personal recognizance after being arraigned on charges that he allegedly drove drunk, crashed his car on a Dorchester street, pointed his gun at a Boston police officer, and later fired his gun into the ceiling of his home.
About a dozen family members, friends, and co-workers, including at least five men in military uniforms, attended the hearing in Dorchester District Court.
Clearly, this is not the tale of a bully dressed in blue, getting caught abusing power and demonstrating an abundance of attitude. It would appear that it is the tragic story of a man in real need to be helped.
The Defendant is lucky enough to have a talented and experienced defense attorney who is well-known in the trenches, Lisa Medeiros. She told the court that the Defendant’s alleged acts were “a complete aberration” for a man who is a good citizen. the Defendant, wearing a light-blue dress shirt, was behind a glass partition and looked down during the entire arraignment .
The Honorable Judge Robert Tochka ordered the Defendant to give up any firearms in his possession, surrender his firearms identification card, stay away from establishments that serve alcohol, and undergo a mental health evaluation within a week.
“The Department of State Police condemns the actions alleged,” spokesman David Procopio said in a statement. He said the department would monitor the criminal case and hold a hearing this week to determine Walsh’s status as a trooper.
“We are grateful beyond words that no one — not the Boston police officers, not an innocent bystander, and not Trooper [Defendant] — was injured — or worse — by gunfire. We thank the Boston police for the professionalism and restraint with which they handled this incident,” he said.
Attorney Sam’s Take:
I am happy to see that the Defendant is not being treated like a prize prosecutorial media-worthy sacrifice. It would appear that Judge Tochka also recognizes that there is apparently a need underlying the Defendant’s acts.
No, this does not mean that suddenly all is right in Justice Town. Were this more of a political blog, perhaps I would inquire whether this is another case wherein we sent one of our citizen into battle without caring for the parts of him that remained intact after the experience…such as his mind. Did it leave him an alcoholic? Unbalanced?
Well, this is not a political blog, so I will not address such considerations here. I will, however, observe that, as much as I approve of the compassion the system offers the Defendant, I cannot help but wonder if today’s blog-worthy subject were not a police officer.
For example, our system tends to treat the first time OUI offender as if he/she is automatically an alcoholic. Will this be the case here?
If you or I were the ones struggling with officers after a crash and then pointed the gun at the officers, ran into our homes and fired…would we be released on our own recognizance? What are the chances that we would have committed “suicide by cop”?
Well, I don’t know about you, but I am a criminal defense attorney. Seems to me that such actions would make me the resemble something suggesting target practice for some police officers.
In any event, don’t take the chance. Do not struggle with police officers, drunk or otherwise. It usually ends up much worse than it thankfully did in this story. Instead, survive to give yourself the time to retain experienced defense counsel.
Should you wish to discuss a criminal case with me, please feel free to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.
For the original story upon which today’s blog is based, please go to http://mobile.boston.com/art/35/news/local/breaking_news/2010/09/trooper_to_be_a