An East Boston High student may be wondering whether honesty is truly the best policy.
The Roxbury resident is a 17-year-old young man whom we will refer to hereinafter as the “Defendant”. He came into contact with law enforcement last Thursday when he entered his school at about 12:30 p.m. through an “unauthorized” door. As he did so, the officers say they “detected the odor of marijuana”.
The officers patted him down. According to the Commonwealth, however, they needn’t have bothered. The lad is said to have confided in the officers that, “I just have a little gun”.
Well, it was cute when then First Lady Nancy Reagan said it so long ago…!
The officers say that the cooperative Defendant also told them where to find the little gun (in his bag) and to be careful because “there’s one in the pipe”. The palm-sized Saturday Night Special was found and indeed had six bullets in the magazine and one in the chamber. They also found more marijuana on the Defendant.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Massachusetts Search And Seizure And Boston Campus Crimes
There are many ways we could examine this story. First of all, there is the search and seizure issue. For example, ordinarily, the officers need more reason to search a student and it is awfully interesting that a Boston teen who walks around with pot and a gun just volunteers that he has a gun in his bag (which would ordinarily would not be searchable simply because he reeked of marihuana or came through an unauthorized door). It is worth noting, though, that the rules can be different at schools. In fact, there are many cases which discuss the special circumstances of expectations of privacy that do and do not exist in schools. Given the previous years of campus violence, this is no surprise.
We could also discuss the issue of the Defendant’s alleged openness with the officers and whether that was wise…assuming that it actually happened that way. Of course, then we would also have to discuss the officers’ relationship with truth.
Instead, however, let’s look at the issue that is probably more important to you. Especially as the school year wanes and various school proms and parties appear.
You may think that, since nobody was hurt, marijuana possession is no longer a crime and the Defendant was young and honest, he will likely get through this situation unscathed.
You would be wrong.
First of all, the Defendant was held on $25,000 bail after his Boston bail hearing.
That is a sign of how seriously such a situation is treated.
The fact is that the Defendant’s life may well be greatly scarred and limited by this occurrence.
There tends to be a “no tolerance” position the state, and most schools, take when things like guns and drugs are brought to school. And, yes, marijuana is still considered one of those Massachusetts drugs for these purposes.
However this case is resolved, the matter will certainly end up on the Defendant’s record.
This means that any future schools or jobs to which he might apply will be aware of it. Further, schools often expel students for bringing things like Massachusetts firearms (no matter how small) to school. Once expelled from the school system, a student cannot simply go to another school in the system. The option becomes private school…which families may not be able to afford.
Given that this student is almost 18, school days may now be history for him.
So, if you know a kid who either has made such a mistake, understand that the very arrest in such an event can be life-altering. And this is before we even begin to speak about consequences like mandatory minimums of incarceration for things like gun possession.
So, this is no little matter. Not for the Commonwealth. Not for the Defendant. The Commonwealth, however, has its professional team of detectives. prosecutors and school officials on its side. You may wonder…who is on the Defendant’s side?
I don’t know…who is his attorney?
Sure hope so…because that is all the help the Defendant gets.
If you would like to discuss a criminal matter with me, please feel free to call me at 617-492-3000 to arrange a free initial consultation..
To view the article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view.bg?articleid=1341164