Okay, Sam, you have told us that there is a lot of pressure on the Police Department and other authorities to solve the problem of the multiple shootings from the other night. What what opportunities are you talking about? does that have to do with me?
Well, let’s start with what I have referred to as “good” opportunities.
We have many times discussed the fact that, often, when law-enforcement is trying to build a case, it accepts the word of those who, just the day before, it probably would have preferred see behind bars for the rest of his or her natural life.
Sometimes to a ridiculous extent. But I digress.
Too often, an unsolved high profile case, especially when it underscores an area where there might be public outcry can become a ticket to new negotiations for certain folks in trouble with the law. You might be surprised at how many with matters pending, or presently serving time, suddenly discover they have important “information” that might help “solve” such a matter. Sometimes the information is accurate. Sometimes it is not.
“How does the Commonwealth decide if it is accurate?”
Usually if it supports their view of the case it is considered “accurate”. It often depends on who gets to law enforcement first and how far along they are in the information.
You will note that the Commonwealth apparently believes that the two gents killed in Roxbury might be related to each other and be gang-related. That often means that pending defendants who have gang affiliations may well have information that might help. More importantly, they will be seen as potentially credible to the prosecution with “information”.
“Sam, surely law enforcement would be looking for information that is, indeed, accurate?”
Sure. But law enforcement is made up by human beings. Human beings make mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes favor information that they would prefer to be true for various reasons. Remember, we are talking about cases in which there is public and internal pressure to solve the matter quickly. Obviously, information seems to support a theory already forming, investigators would hope said
Information is correct.
People tend to see and believe what they want to see and believe.
Just because peoples’ lives and liberty may hang in the balance does not change that truth. Especially when the decisions are made by folks who are so used to dealing with such issues that they have become a bit jaded. Especially in a system where folks are routinely stripped of individual human characteristics and simply become “the defendant”.
So, that is how such matters unfortunagely provide an opportunity for some folks.
And so we come to how these facts can effect you or anyone else negatively.
I hope I do not shock anybody when I suggest that those who would lie about someone else’ involvement in a criminal act is unlikely to care very much about the person they implicate.
Sometimes it is a former friend.
Sometimes it can be a total stranger.
Sometimes it might even be YOU or somebody you love.
Perhaps you are someone who has a criminal record or a bad reputation. Maybe you even have some friends in a gang but are not involved yourself. Maybe you are squeaky clean but once “dissed” this informant. There are a variety of reasons why you might be seen as a ticket either out of the criminal justice system or even a new life elsewhere.
Many have been defendants who were convicted on such evidence in cases as serious as homicide and later shown to be innocent through DNA or other means.
“Well, thanks for the warning, I guess. Now, what am I supposed to do with it?”
Be aware and take nothing for granted. Understand that assumptions such as “Oh, I know him. He would never testify against me or lie on the stand” can get you incarcerated. There is a reason that I, as a longtime criminal defense attorney, handle cases like a paranoid
You’ve heard of “Murphey’s Law”?
I’ve got a feeling that Murphey was a trial lawyer.
In other words…when you are staring down the gun barrel of the criminal justice system…find yourself a Murphey. An experienced Murphey!
In the meantime, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!