Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Articles Posted in Cyber Crimes

Since the advent of social media, bullying and harassment are no longer limited to phone calls, emails, and face-to-face encounters. Now people can threaten and harass others from the comfort, and privacy, of their living room. We all know keyboard warriors who type cruel, vile things they would never say to someone’s face. But when do nasty remarks become illegal?

The Age of Cybercrime

Cybercrime, including cyberbullying and online threats, has taken center stage in recent years. In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled to reverse the conviction of a man who posted lyrics about his fantasy to kill his wife on social media. Possibly in response to this decision, several states have adopted legislation to protect people from cybercrime. According to the Supreme Court, the intent is what matters. Therefore, threatening words may only be words if there is no actual intent to harm another person. Even cruel speech may be protected under the first amendment. Whether or not a threat was intentional, however, is often a matter of opinion. For this reason, it is important to obtain legal counsel if you have been charged with a cybercrime. Contact a Boston criminal defense lawyer today.

In the state of Massachusetts, a restraining order is also known as a 209A order. If a restraining order has been issued against you and you violate any of its terms and conditions, you have committed a criminal offense. If convicted, you could face up to two-and-a-half years in jail and a fine of up to five thousand dollars. The best advice? Don’t violate a 209A order. But if you’ve made a mistake, or an angry ex has embellished the truth in order to punish you, it’s in your best interest to contact a skilled criminal defense attorney without delay.  The law offices of Altman and Altman have been representing individuals charged with violating restraining orders for over 50 years, our experienced criminal defense team is just a phone call away. Our phones are answered 24/7.

If convicted of violating a 209A order, you may be required to complete a “batterer’s program” in addition to jail time and fines. Judges take violations very seriously, and failure to abide by the terms of a 209A order can result in devastating consequences. Four elements must exist in order to convict someone of violating a restraining order.

So, what constitutes a violation? Let’s take a look:

Hello there. Attorney Sam Goldberg here with a question. What do the new motion picture “Patriots Day”, the issue of bullying and this blog have in common?

The answer is a certain hip hop artist I have mentioned from time to time by the name of Token. Token has a very small part in the movie…and a non-musical one at that. However, he has also recently released his latest music video, “Exception”, which can be found at various places.

Without going through the entire story line and it tragic ending, suffice to say that the video takes the march against bullying from a different perspective. Sure, the song is anti-bullying. But, then again, most people are.

This song, though, focuses it’s attention on the witnesses to events of bullying. In fact, as in various interviews, 18-year-old Token admits that he, himself, has been guilty of sitting back and simply watching such events in silence. He further explains that the reason for the title “Exception” refers to a line in the song indicating that the high school in the video is a typical suburban location where most people figure is an exception to the bullying issue…so nobody has to worry about it.

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A Stoughton gent, I think we will soon hear, had a wacky sense of humor Unfortunately, it was not shared by those around him. In fact, what he apparently found clever was something that most of us find rather disturbing.

As a result, Mr. Anthony Rae, 24 and hereinafter, the “Defendant”, is a current involuntary guest of the United States Government. He has been arrested for sending bizarre bomb threats to various locations. According to the United States Attorney’s office, these included various academic institutions.

The Defendant was not exactly the picture of stealth according to the prosecution. They say that he hacked into his mother’s email and sent some of them from there.

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Welcome to 2014. A new IPhone is supposed to come out and the technological landscape seems endless. With endless horizons, however, come unknown dangers. Adults may not yet completely understand this technology. Our kids do, though.

They understand it just enough to get themselves into trouble.

“Innocent girl on Instagram flipping the bird.

The internet is still a relatively new and growing phenomenon. Adults struggle to keep up with the rapid, almost daily, changes it brings to our lives. Somehow, though, kids seem to be at the forefront of the new technology. And that can be a problem. A criminal-justice-type problem.

This Boston criminal lawyer has seen more than his fair share of cases evolve from juveniles making “stupid mistakes” online. Kids making mistakes in judgment is not new. However, law enforcement is not as forgiving as it once was.

The new most popular playground is the internet. Like many playgrounds, there are unseen dangers here. Kids, being kids, find all kinds of ways to get into danger in various play areas…and the internet is no difference.

Last week, Friday brought some disturbing news to the students at Cambridge’s Harvard University. If you are a regular reader to this blog, you probably Saw this news as Inevitable. While not technically a college crime, it is close enough.

You may Recognize the allegations in this story from our discussion of it back in August 2012. It was then that Harvard announced that a cheating scandal had taken place at the University.

According to Harvard, the cheating scandal took place in the spring, 2012, class, “Government 1310: Introduction to Congress.”

This was not a scandal which involved merely a couple of students. It was a rather widespread problem. Over 100 students type of widespread problem.

Now, the announcement has come from a top university official that more than half of the students investigated by a college board have been ordered to withdraw from the school.
In an e-mail to the Harvard community, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Michael D. Smith wrote that more than half of the students who were brought before the university’s Administration Board this fall were required to withdraw from school for a period of time.

Of the remaining cases, approximately half the students received disciplinary probation, while the rest of the cases were dismissed.

Smith added that the first set of cases were decided in late September, and the remainder were resolved in December.
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The occasions in which I find myself looking up at the sky and shouting, “Really? Again? Is anybody ever going to start learning?”

But, then I remember that they are kids and, as long as they suffer from that affliction…probably not.

A 16-year-old Mashpee High School student has been charged with a felony and two misdemeanors, including threatening to commit a crime and disturbing a school assembly.

You’ve got it…another threatening Twitter story.

The young brain-trust apparently threatened that he or she was going to shoot everyone up at the school. Less than one month after the Newtown Connecticut shooting.

And so, quite rightly, Mashpee Police Chief Rodney Collins explains that “When someone says in a tweet that they’re going to shoot everyone up, we’re going to get involved.”

It was on Monday that the school officials received the printed copy of a Twitter communication between the student-at-issue and a Rockland teen which contained the threat. Just to make sure that nobody missed it, I guess, the Rockland High School Principal Alan H. Cron wrote a letter about it and posted it on the school’s website.
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Today’s Attorney Sam’s Take introduces a concept that law enforcement officials and I regularly discussed back when I was a prosecutor in Brooklyn, NY, hundreds of years ago.

The concept is that of enacting a new statute proclaiming certain activities punishable as “felony stupidity”. It is, however a story which reflects where we are as a society at the moment.

Especially when it comes to new cyber-crimes.

Worcester police are investiginvest what is being called a “hit list” with the names of 200 city high school students on it. Of course, as this is being investigated, there are cyber breadcrumbs to be found along the way.

Take what happenned at South High Shool last week for example. They took a 15-year-old young lady into custody. She has been charged with two counts of being an accessory before the fact. The police admit, however, that there is no “imminent threat” at the school.

Well, except for the young lady, that is, who now has markings on her CORI.

Apparently, one of the complaints that sparked the investigation was parents alerating law enforcement about a series of social media messages. One of these thretening messages, which led to the above-mentioned arrest, was that the teen asked in a tweet if someone would “please” spray her high school with bullets.
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Massachusetts schools are really not the same place they were when I was a kid.

Let’s take a look toward Marshfield High School. A 17-year-old student (hereinafter, “Young Gentleman”) was arrested yesterday for threatening to kill his fellow student.

According to law enforcement, police were called Tuesday night to investigate a report that Young Gentleman threatened a schoolmate while at school that day. In addition, says police, he is said to have made threats via social media to the school as a whole. In response, the police applied for and received an arrest warrant. Despite the alleged threats, no weapons were found when Young Gentleman was arrested.

Most schools these days do not take such threats lightly. However, THIS school was a school at which, in 2004, two students were charged and convicted of plotting a columbine-style massacre at the school.

They were taking no chances. Young Gentleman was charged with promotion of anarchy and two counts of threats to commit a crime. According to prosecutors, should he make bail, Young Gentleman has bail conditions to help keep the peace.

“Conditions of his release include GPS monitoring, a stay away and no contact order with the victim, weekly reports to probation, remain alcohol and drug free and obey all school rules,” prosecutors said in a statement.

While the court has not entered an order that prevents Young Gentleman from returning to school, the school district itself has apparently not made its decision yet.

In the meantime, Marshfield Superintendent Scott Borstel said that school officials were working with police to “ensure the care, welfare, safety” of students.

Meanwhile, Weston Middle-School has had its own recent issues when it comes to student conduct. Two students at the school have now been disciplined after pouring liquid used to clean whiteboards into their teacher’s water bottle according to school officials.
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