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 Domestic Violence

Now, I know we are in the middle of a three part posting and I owe you the third part. I will post that third part tomorrow. Today, however, something that should be more urgently on your mind.

It could be a drunk driving charge. It could be an allegation of domestic abuse. It could even be an unexpected accusation of rape.

People generally do not venture out expecting to be making an involuntary stop at the local police department before they return home.

But it happens. Especially on holiday weekends.

So, you’d best think about it. When the criminal justice wheels start turning with you inside them, you just might find it harder to think clearly and come up with a plan.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Holiday Police Encounters

Over the holiday weekend of course, court is not open. Therefore, should you end up in police custody, you may have to stay there until Tuesday comes along.

“Isn’t there something I can do about that? I don’t want to spend the weekend in jail.”

 

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In my last blog, I laid out the facts for a case, which was recently dismissed because we were able to uncover exculpatory evidence from the Department of Children and Families. Our client was charged with Assault and Battery on a minor (his 7 year old step-son). The child made the initial disclosure of the abuse 2 years after the abuse was alleged to have occurred at a time when the Department of Children and Families were already involved. We motioned the court, pursuant to Massachusetts Criminal Procedure Rule 17; to issue a summons to DCF for their records regarding the child at the time abuse was alleged to have occurred.
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There are some cases where it is best for defense counsel to offer no comments before he receives specifics of allegations against his clients.

These include matters where there are many moving parts and competing interests.

Cases like when one’s liberty is caught between law enforcement and the caught-in-the-public’s-headlights, the Department of Children and Families.

The case of Alexandrea Delyla Chadwick, 22 years of age and hereinafter, the “Defendant” for example.

The Defendant was just in Worcester Superior Court to plead not guilty to charges that she was, at least in part, responsible for the abuse of her boyfriend’s 7-year-old son (hereinafter, the “Son”). Authorities say that the Son was starved and burned.
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As I Mentioned in my last post, I will be discussing an attempted murder case where we recently obtained a not guilty. In today’s blog, I will be discussing our client’s arrest, arraignment and the subsequent dangerousness hearing that was held prior to his release. For a recap of the facts please see my last blog. As a reminder, any and all identifying information (names, dates, locations, etc.) will be altered to protect the identity of our clients.

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Sam and I just wrapped up an attempted murder trial with a Not Guilty on all counts. Over the next couple blog posts I will be discussing various issues that came up throughout the litigation and the strategies that we used in order to put ourselves in the best position at trial. As always, any and all identifying information (names, dates, locations, etc.) will be altered to protect the identity of our clients.
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Perhaps because of our frustration with not solving actual criminal justice problems, we have convinced ourselves that the more we can define and characterize criminal behavior the more we are actually accomplishing something.

 

I have to admit that I think instead of accomplishing something, we are actually wasting time and deluding ourselves.

 

Long ago, we did not treat domestic violence cases seriously enough. Now, anyone associated with the criminal justice system can tell you that the pendulum has swung very far in the opposite direction.

 

An assault and battery case is, simply, an assault and battery case. The factors surrounding the alleged assault and battery come into consideration by a jury, prosecutor and judge. Certainly, a judge is going to treat a man convicted of beating his wife more seriously than a barroom brawl that simply got out of hand. Further, we would assume that the prosecutor would as well.

 

But that is not good enough now. Now, domestic violence matters get a great deal of public attention and the criminal justice system, which merely put into affect laws that are passed by our political legislators.   The primary concern that I have witnessed, now handling criminal cases in two states and from both sides for 20+ years is the overwhelming drive to avoid negative publicity.

 

Seeming proactive or “harsh” on crime gets one good publicity. Anything that would suggest the contrary gets bad publicity. It is really that simple.

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When I was first approached by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly to comment on the ruling in Commonwealth v. Dossantos, I did not understand why this case was considered noteworthy.

Upon further reflection, though,I realized that it could have been quite noteworthy.

You see, back in 2014, there were changes made to the Massachusetts domestic violence laws. A part of this was General laws chapter 276, section 56(a). This mandated that when a criminal defendant is arrested and charged with a crime against a person or property, the court must inquire of the prosecutor as to whether the Commonwealth alleges that the matter was a domestic violence incident. Should the prosecutor answer in the affirmative, the statute necessitates that the judge “make a written ruling” that the Commonwealth so alleges. In such an event, the defendant’s name is added to a domestic violence registry, “DVRS”.

Let me present that another way. The Charges are read. The judge asks the prosecutor whether it is alleged that the matter involves domestic violence. The prosecutor answers the question (as he or she is also required to do in writing). The issue addressed in this case involves exactly how the court is to react before it reacts…affirming what the prosecutor has just said both orally and in writing.

Now, let’s review what this statute is not. It is not a change in the crime charged, which, at the time this event happens, has already been decided. While this “hearing”,
must take place before bail is addressed, there is no indication that the answer to the question will affect the question of bail. Other than the act of adding the defendants name to the DVRS, there is nothing new for the judge to do upon making the finding in a case where, for example, the defendant is charged with striking his spouse over the Head with a baseball bat. Simply echo that the defendant is charged with a crime of domestic violence.

Well, kinda-sorta. Keep reading.

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Well, how was your weekend?

If one reads the Boston Herald about the news this past weekend, one might walk away with a bit of a sickened feeling…and a desire to avoid parties and other places where kids might be.

Let’s first turn to Springfield.

The Herald tells us about two men stabbed at a house party early Saturday. Police Lt. Richard LaBelle said that one of the men had serious stab wounds and had been rushed to Bay state Medical Center. He was in “stable condition” at the time of the story. The second man stabbed had non-life threatening injuries.

The incicdent apparently took place on Manhattan Street at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday. The men were found outside by police. One was in a car, and the second was lying on the ground.
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I wish I could say “you don’t see this everyday…” but that would probably not be true.

We have always had people engaging in sexual crimes. However, the norms of what used to be acceptable (kind of) have changed. The bottom line is that one cannot force another person to have sex with them.

It does not matter if it is a husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend or even prostitute and client.

And even if the soon-to-be complainant is not inclined to make a criminal case out of it, she might not have a choice. Once it is reported, it is the state or federal government’s case and they are going to run with it. Further, the crime of rape is not merely a sex crime anymore if it happens among those in a romantic or family relationship…it is also considered domestic violence.
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Jaime Fuentes ,48, is/was a prison guard at the infamous maximum security state prison,Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley. As of Wednesday, he is the “Defendant”. He was living in Worcester. Now he in custody, held without bail.

Of course, if what the Commonwealth says about him is true, he now has more to talk about with his former prisoners.

Monday he is scheduled to have his very own Dangerous Hearing.

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