Soon, I have to think that just mentioning a drug case to Boston’s law enforcement community is soon going to produce nervous ticks on their faces. The higher up the ladder you go, the worse the twitch.

Today, Attorney Sam’s Take discuss a police investigation into special treatment of a Boston Fire Department lieutenant in a bust earlier this month.

To put it bluntly, the other two people accused of possessing drugs for sale were arrested. However, BFD Lt. Paul Souza, 53, of Braintree (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) who seemed as culpable as the others was not. He simply received a summons to present himself in court on his own.

“An initial review of the facts and circumstances indicates the sergeant in charge of the operation, who made the decision not to arrest one of the suspects, may have made an error in judgment,” police spokeswoman Cheryl Fiandaca said in a statement.

“The incident is now under review.”

Perhaps, like ex-chemist Annie Dookhan, they will start calling the sergeant a “rogue officer”.

You may be thinking that the Defendant was simply in possession of a few drugs for his own personal use, so what is the big deal? Well, your assumption would be wrong. The Defendant is facing charges of possession with intent to distribute a class B substance and possession with intent to distribute within 300 feet of a school zone. As part of the bust, the police say that they found 100 Percocet pills in the Defendant’s vehicle in Dorchester.

By the way, you might think that the Defendant, having been around criminal justice for awhile, might understand the rules of the game. For example, there is common knowledge about not making statements…particularly when you are going to be inconsistent.

Apparently, he first claimed that the pills that had been seized were planted on him. Later, he explained that he had paid $1,100 for them.

Perhaps he should read this daily blog.

In the meantime, the Defendant is now on paid administrative leave.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Bail Hearings And Unequal Justice (Again)

In Baseball, you get three strikes and then you are out. Law enforcement in the city of Boston, unfortunately, does not follow that rule. Not that we would like the authorities to be “out”, necessarily. Being held accountable and perhaps given its fair share of doubt might be nice, though.

“What’s the big deal, Sam? After all, charges were brought against the Defendant, weren’t they?”

Yes they were. And, as we have often discussed, the reason for bail is to ensure that a defendant will return to court and answer the charges. So, the fact that the Defendant was simply summonsed is really not that big a deal to me.

The unequal treatment, especially in light of the other scandals, is a problem to me.

You see, being able to show up on one’s own to one’s arraignment actually does put one in a better position than simply being arrested and dragged before the court in cuffs when it comes to bail hearings. It will come as no surprise to my regular daily readers that showing up “voluntarily” is, in itself, a strong argument that a given defendant will return to court and so little to no bail is often demanded. However, those who are brought in involuntarily because they were arrested, especially when facing felony drug charges are likely to be held on higher bail.

Perhaps they all should have been summonsed in. Perhaps none of them. But only one of them…the fireman?

The problem is what I consider the bigger problem underlying scandals like Detective Johnson and ex-chemist Dookhan . People screw up sometimes. I accept that. There are good and bad “eggs” in every profession. This is true too.

However, this is why it is dangerous when we give a wink and a nod to common sense and pretend that certain professions, like those involved in law enforcement, are infallible and beyond reproach in a court of law. The same is true when it comes to criminal investigations, such as allowing a seasoned detective off the hook simply by taking his word for what he did it and whether or not anyone helped him and then running with that “truth”, combating vehemently any attempt to examine said “truth”.

For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to

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