Well, Gerald M. Hill, 48, (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) got good news and bad news yesterday at Boston’s Suffolk Superior Court. The good news? The robbery charges against him have been dropped. The bad news? He’s going back to jail, perhaps for life, anyway.
You see, the Defendant was on parole when he was accused of robbing a taxi company at gunpoint in 2009. His prior case, on which he was out on parole, involved the participation in two 1977 killings. I don’t know much about that case, but can tell you that he had not been found guilty of Murder in the First Degree because, if he had been, he would not have been eligible for parole.
The new charges were dismissed yesterday because the evidence against him were suppressed by the court because the court found that critical evidence against him had to be suppressed because of the police’ failure to follow “the rules” of search and seizure. Because the evidence was suppressed, prosecutors said, they no longer had enough of a case to prosecute the Defendant.
Because the evidence could not be used, in other words, there would be no trial against the Defendant. Therefore, the Defendant, heretofore presumed innocent under the law, could never be found guilty. Therefore, he remains presumed innocent and goes home free….right?
After all, the Defendant did get arrested.
As we have discussed in the past, merely getting arrested is a violation of either probation or parole.
I have been handling matters involving homicides, robberies, probation and parole as a Boston-criminal defense attorney of many years, as you have probably gathered over the years, there are certain issues that really light a fire in my gut.
This is one of them.
It is very easy to get arrested in this day and age, as I have often described to you. You could be at the wrong place and wrong time. You could have angered someone who has the ever-increasing knowledge of how to “work the system” and is trying to get revenge on you. You might also be stuck facing an accusation that everyone knows is extremely unlikely, but, out of fear of tomorrow’s newspapers, are afraid not to take action because of the fear that you might “go out and kill somebody”.
We know, of course, that sometimes innocent people are sent to jail. Many will say that simply cannot be helped. But what about here, when someone has been out on parole (or it could be probation) and they will never have their “day in court” because of how the Commonwealth handled the investigation? Is it right that the accused be sent back to prison anyway because there was, after all, an accusation and the person did, after all get accused in the first place?
The arrest,we all know, is simply an accusation. The suspect is still allegedly presumed innocent.
But, because they were accused in the first place, that presumed innocent person goes back behind bars to either wait to have a day in court or, here, where said day will never come, simply be locked back up by the Commonwealth. Yes, that would be the same Commonwealth who screwed up the investigation in the first place.
Makes you feel real confident that we give much credence to that old document they call the Constitution, doesn’t it?
Of course, many of you will disagree with me. You will argue, “Well, it’s more complicated than that!”
It shouldn’t be.
“We all knowthe guy is a bad guy…!”
In that case, why was he even brought to court? Why have a trial, much less evidentiary hearings?
In short, let’s cut the hypocrisy. Is he an already established “bad buy” so that we do not have to waste court’s time with him and we can just lock him away or shoot him because he was, after all, arrested…..or do we really care about a presumption of innocence?
Well, you decide what you want. I will wager this, though. If it were you or a loved one who were accused, you would likely care about that presumption of innocence stuff.
Why don’t you give me a call when that happens…particularly if you want a free initial consultation. I can be reached at t 617-492-3000.
In the meantime, be careful of the snow and have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!
(if not, you might get arrested.)
To view the original story, and charming photograph about which parts of this blog were based, please go to : http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/01/21/convicted_killer_gets_2009_taxi_robbery_charges_dropped/?p1=Local_Links