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 Manslaughter

On Monday, four men who were initially charged with murder pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of voluntary manslaughter for the 2013 hazing death of would-be fraternity brother, Chun Hsien Deng. The 18-year-old student died at a weekend retreat for potential Baruch College members of the Pi Delta Psi, an Asian-American fraternity.

In December 2013, Deng traveled to a rental house in the Poconos for a hazing ritual that – according to a statement by Baruch College – would never have been allowed on campus. In the early morning hours, Deng was forced to strap a heavily-weighted backpack to his back, put on a blindfold, and follow other pledges through the so-called “glass ceiling,” a symbol of the Asian-American plight. According to a grand jury report, Deng became defiant, speaking out of turn and kicking one of the fraternity members. In response, the fraternity members became physically aggressive with their pledge, knocking him to the ground and, eventually, rendering him unconscious.

When the fraternity members realized Deng had lost consciousness, they carried him inside, laid him in front of a fireplace, and attempted to revive him. When his breathing became labored, instead of calling for medical help, they started googling phrases such as “concussion can’t wake up,” and even called a national fraternity official, who advised them to hide anything bearing the fraternity’s symbol.

A recent report issued by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety titled “Unlicensed to Kill” focuses on unlicensed drivers on America’s roadways. According to the report, approximately one out of every five fatal vehicle crashes involves an unlicensed driver, or a driver whose license is in question by law enforcement. The report goes on to say that about 8,500 fatal car accidents are caused by unlicensed drivers annually. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving an unlicensed driver.

The Link Between Fatal Crashes and Unlicensed Drivers

Research has revealed that individuals with license suspensions and cancellations are more likely to use excessive speed, drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and to be distracted while driving. Of the fatal accidents caused by unlicensed drivers, about 30 percent are caused by drivers who have had at least three license suspensions or cancellations in the previous three years. “It’s like a revolving door. These people are being suspended and suspended and suspended again, and still, they’re driving,” said Lindsay I. Griffin, researcher at the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.Young adults, between the ages of 21 and 34, are the most likely to have a revoked or suspended license. Most disturbing, in nearly 50 percent of the fatal accidents involving an unlicensed driver, the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

No License, No Insurance

Drivers without valid licenses are not eligible for motor vehicle insurance, which means that recovering damages in an accident involving an unlicensed driver is more difficult. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can be added to your existing insurance policy to protect you against extreme losses. This type of coverage will cover full or partial damages if you’re in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have liability insurance, or whose liability limit is too low to cover your expenses. If you don’t already carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, it is in your best interest to add this coverage to your existing policy today. The cost is generally quite small, but it could make a world of difference if you’re involved in an accident with an this type of driver.

How to Avoid an Accident Involving an Unlicensed Driver

It’s impossible to identify unlicensed drivers while you’re driving, so how do you avoid a collision with one of these unlawful drivers? The best way to avoid an accident with any negligent motorist is to always remain alert when driving. Stay focused on the road and avoid distractions, such as texting or talking on the phone, adjusting the stereo or navigation system, and eating or applying makeup. Defensive driving is the single best protection against car crashes. Maintain plenty of distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, drive at or under the speed limit, and avoid vehicles that appear to be speeding or driving erratically. Continue reading

More than two years have passed since a MA teen allegedly encouraged her boyfriend, via text, to commit suicide. In July, 2014, Conrad Roy III took his own life by locking himself inside his truck as it filled with carbon monoxide. According to prosecutors, Roy was on the phone with his girlfriend Michelle Carter throughout the process. As evidenced through the pair’s text message exchange, Roy began to have second thoughts, but Carter urged him to carry out the act.

“It’s Now or Never”

Prosecutors have sifted through hundreds of text messages between Roy and Carter, leading up to the incident. Carter allegedly wrote: “You need to stop thinking about this and just do it,” and, “There is no way you can fail. Tonight is the night. it’s now or never.” Roy had been undergoing mental health treatment since 2011, and had previously attempted suicide in 2013. If you are facing criminal charges, contact a MA criminal defense lawyer today.

Teen’s Text Message Was a “Direct Causal Link to {Boyfriend’s} Death”

On February 6, 2016, Carter was indicted as a youthful offender, charged with involuntary manslaughter. Now 19, Carter has been banned from using social media since 2015. Her defense attorney argued that Carter’s conduct did not cause the young man to kill himself, but the Supreme Judicial Court in MA did not agree. The Court recently ruled that Carter’s actions constituted a “systematic campaign of coercion”, and that her statement “get back in” was a “direct causal link to his death.”

At one point during the final moments of Roy’s life, the teen exited the car and told Carter he was reconsidering his decision to take his own life. His girlfriend urged him to get back in his car.

An investigation of the text messages between Roy and Carter revealed multiple communications from Carter urging Roy to commit suicide. “Instead of attempting to assist him or notify his family or school officials, Ms. Carter is alleged to have strongly influenced his decision to take his own life, encouraged him to commit suicide and guided him in his engagement of activities which led to his death,” said Gregg Miliote, director of communications for the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. If you have been charged with any type of crime, contact a Boston criminal defense attorney today.

What is Involuntary Manslaughter?

In the state of Massachusetts, involuntary manslaughter occurs when an individual unintentionally causes the death of another while engaged in reckless conduct. The punishment for involuntary manslaughter is up to 20 years in prison and can include substantial fines. If convicted of involuntary manslaughter, you may also be required to pay victim restitution. In the above case, the defendant is charged as a youthful offender because she was under 18 at the time of the crime. Continue reading

Well, apparently, we are actually getting started.

The Boston Police Department’s body camera pilot program is now being launched with 100 officers selected by a department consultant after none volunteered.

Ruffled blue feathers? Maybe.  But progress has been made according to Boston University’s NPR station, WBUR,

The six-month trial starts today with two days of training. It goes live next month.

The 100 officers are  said to be racially and gender diverse.  According to the police department,  55 of them are white, 29 are black, 13 are Latino and 3 are Asian. Eighty-seven of the 100 are men.  You can figure out how many are not,

The officers are scheduled to patrol some of the city’s high-crime neighborhoods, college student enclaves and tourist hotspots.

Activists had called for this program for a while, since  the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, two years ago.

Controversy dogged the start of the program, however.  Some of that still exists as the  NAACP has questioned why a disproportionately high number of black officers are wearing the cameras, while others wondered why the largely Latino East Boston neighborhood is not included

And so it goes.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Perspective…Blue And Darker

“Sam, what’s the big deal here?  Why is this so important?”

Continue reading

Well, last week was supposed to house “the day”. Police Body Cam Day. Certain Boston Police Officers were to be dragged, apparently screaming and kicking, into the controversial body-cam pilot program.

As you may recall, this was going to be a voluntary selection. To sweeten the experience, the Department even offered a sizable financial bonus to said volunteers.

Not enough though.

Despite expectations that the blue-clad folks who claim to always act according to the great trust we place on them…no such volunteers showed up, according to the Boston Herald.

You might find this somewhat surprising. After all, the police and prosecutors often take the position that they cannot understand why folks would be afraid to be videotaped in the outside world…unless they are doing something wrong. Similarly, they cannot comprehend why one would not run to the police if they are the victim of a crime (as in the “first reporter is the victim” scenario we have discussed).

They regularly intimate to civilians that, if they feel they cannot simply be candid, and need unnecessary and evil creatures like defense attorneys present, then they must have something to hide.

After all, of course, as one attorney who regularly represents officers tells us, “Officers usually do the right thing, so they should get it on film.”

Sounds reasonable enough.

But.

Continue reading

This is a case in which, it would appear, there has been no arrest…yet. The criminal investigation is continuing. I would suggest that the question is what the charges will be as opposed to whether there will be any charges.

It is a story that brings an important reminder home to roost.

Again.

The incident took place in Dorchester this past Sunday at approximately 1:15 a.m.

According to the Boston Herald , a fight began. It really does not matter why.

Continue reading

An East Boston teen has died of injuries suffered after she was struck by a car crossing a Randolph street the night before, according to authorities. The Norfolk County District Attorney’s office has identified the deceased child as 15-year-old Laura Viera of East Boston.

The girl was transported to Milton Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries on Wednesday morning.

According to law-enforcement, she was struck on Tuesday night while crossing North Main Street in Randolph. The driver of the vehicle, which was a 2000 Chrysler, did not flee the scene but remained there to speak with police and cooperate with them.

Authorities are still investigating the accident and are considering whether or not the weather was a factor in the incident. It had begun snowing at the time of the crash.
Continue reading

Hello and happy new year! I wish I could be starting the year off with a happy story…but this is, after all, a criminal law blog.

Springfield authorities have announced their recent bust which took place on Saturday night. According to the Boston Herald . the police say that the heroin seized was marked with the infamous “Hollywood” stamp.

The “Hollywood’ stamp indicates that it is the “brand” of heroin that is running rampant through western Massachusetts.

Continue reading

You have seen the headlines. You have heard the newscasts.

Sometimes it almost seems like there is a war going on between regular civilians and local police departments. Sometimes, it is law enforcement who ends up the victim of a homicide. Other times, it is the civilian.

Is there a way to stem this tide? More importantly to this particular blog, is there any way to protect you from its result?

Continue reading

This case brings back memories that we have discussed with you not so long ago.

The case is pending in Attleboro. The criminal allegation? Vehicular Homicide.

26-year-old Arman Chaudhary (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) from Lynn is the driver in question.

The Boston Herald tells us that the Defendant is accused of driving more than 100 miles per hour, ending his trip by way of a tragic collision. A fatal collision.

Continue reading

Contact Information