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

A horrific tragedy earlier this month reminds us that a vehicle can quickly become deadly on a hot day. Last week, the body of three-year-old Myles Hill was discovered in a parked van at the Little Miracles Academy day care center in Orlando. The little boy, along with several other children, had been transported from one of Little Miracles’ locations to another. When the child was found, authorities believe he had been in the van for nearly 12 hours.

According to police reports, Myles’ grandmother called the center when he didn’t get dropped off in the afternoon. Employees reported that the child had never been seen at the center that day, prompting an immediate investigation into his whereabouts. At about 8:30 that evening, Myles was found on the floor of the van, which had been parked at the center since 9:00 a.m. Outside temperatures had reached 93 degrees that day.

No Head Count

Hello, folks! You may remember be. This is Sam Goldberg (AKA “Attorney Sam”). I used to be your friendly blogger on this site on a daily basis. When last we spoke, I told you that I would be back and also doing more regular blogs elsewhere. While I have not begun the latter, I thought I would revisit the Bostoncriminallawyerblog.com to make a few postings.

If nothing else, to remind you that I am still here.

The first thing I thought I would discuss is the recent verdict of “Guilty” in the Michelle Carter matter.

As you probably know, the case involved a suicidal young man, Conrad Roy III (hereinafter, the “Deceased”) who was a friend of Michelle Carter(hereinafter, the “Defendant”). Summed up, the Deceased was communicating with the Defendant via text while he as filling his truck full of lethal fumes in a suicide attempt.  Through it, the Defendant was encouraging him to follow through with the suicide. Even to the point of ordering that he get back into the truck at a moment when he was having second thoughts.

He obeyed…and died.

The Defendant was charged with of involuntary manslaughter. In a surprise move, the Defendant’s lawyer waived a jury trial and opted for a bench trial. In other words, a judge would decide the verdict, not a jury.

The gamble did not pay off.

Continue reading

In 2014, then-17-year-old Michelle Carter allegedly encouraged her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy IIII to commit suicide. She did it through text. Earlier this week, Carter’s manslaughter trial commenced, with prosecutors arguing that the now-20-year-old Plainville woman’s texts urged Roy to take his own life.

Both Carter and Roy had a history of mental illness. In fact, Roy had attempted suicide in 2012. But what could have possibly motivated Carter to send such damning texts to her boyfriend? Prosecutors claim that she was lonely and did it to improve her social life. According to testimony at the trial on Tuesday, Carter sent the following text to a friend, Samantha Boardman:

“Yeah I have school friends that all say they love me . . . [but] no one ever asks to hang out with me. No one ever calls me or texts me. It’s always me who has to do it.’’

To another friend, Carter texted: “Stop telling me how wonderful and beautiful I am. Beautiful girls get invited to parties and their friends call and wanna hang out . . . I have like no friends. I am alone all the time.”

Is it possible that Carter believed she’d finally get the attention she craved in the wake of her boyfriend’s tragic suicide? In yet another text to an acquaintance who claims not to know the defendant well, Carter wrote, “I was on the phone talking to him when he killed himself.” A MA defense lawyer can help you protect your rights if you have been charged with manslaughter or any other crime.

What is Carter’s Defense for Her Actions?

Carter has been struggling with mental health issues for years. As such, she was taking the prescription drug Celexa for depression when she encouraged Roy to commit suicide via text. Studies have shown that Celexa, the brand name for citalopram, is known to cause “impulse control issues,” which may have contributed to Carter’s “lashing out,” and other abnormal behaviors. If this is true, the young woman’s actions may have been out of her control. Carter and Roy had actually bonded over mental health struggles. In fact, according to Carter’s defense attorney, she had previously attempted to convince Roy to seek psychiatric treatment.

Although the Celexa may have contributed to Carter’s behavior that day, her behaviors following Roy’s suicide have not helped her case at all. According to text records, she texted Lynn Roy, her deceased boyfriend’s mother, multiple times in the days following his death. In these texts, she expressed sympathy and a desire to help, but she conveniently left out any knowledge of Roy’s plans or information about their conversations leading up to his death. Despite several text messages urging Roy to kill himself, Carter texted the following message to Roy’s mother after his death:

“You tried your hardest, I tried my hardest, everyone tried their hardest to save him. But he had his mind set on taking his life.” A Boston defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you are facing criminal charges. Continue reading

In 2014, then-17-year-old Michelle Carter allegedly encouraged her 18-year-old boyfriend Conrad Roy IIII to commit suicide. She did it through text. Earlier this week, Carter’s manslaughter trial commenced, with prosecutors arguing that the now-20-year-old Plainville woman’s texts urged Roy to take his own life.

Both Carter and Roy had a history of mental illness. In fact, Roy had attempted suicide in 2012. But what could have possibly motivated Carter to send such damning texts to her boyfriend? Prosecutors claim that she was lonely and did it to improve her social life. According to testimony at the trial on Tuesday, Carter sent the following text to a friend, Samantha Boardman:

“Yeah I have school friends that all say they love me . . . [but] no one ever asks to hang out with me. No one ever calls me or texts me. It’s always me who has to do it.’’

To another friend, Carter texted: “Stop telling me how wonderful and beautiful I am. Beautiful girls get invited to parties and their friends call and wanna hang out . . . I have like no friends. I am alone all the time.”

Is it possible that Carter believed she’d finally get the attention she craved in the wake of her boyfriend’s tragic suicide? In yet another text to an acquaintance who claims not to know the defendant well, Carter wrote, “I was on the phone talking to him when he killed himself.” A MA defense lawyer can help you protect your rights if you have been charged with manslaughter or any other crime.

What is Carter’s Defense for Her Actions?

Carter has been struggling with mental health issues for years. As such, she was taking the prescription drug Celexa for depression when she encouraged Roy to commit suicide via text. Studies have shown that Celexa, the brand name for citalopram, is known to cause “impulse control issues,” which may have contributed to Carter’s “lashing out,” and other abnormal behaviors. If this is true, the young woman’s actions may have been out of her control. Carter and Roy had actually bonded over mental health struggles. In fact, according to Carter’s defense attorney, she had previously attempted to convince Roy to seek psychiatric treatment.

Although the Celexa may have contributed to Carter’s behavior that day, her behaviors following Roy’s suicide have not helped her case at all. According to text records, she texted Lynn Roy, her deceased boyfriend’s mother, multiple times in the days following his death. In these texts, she expressed sympathy and a desire to help, but she conveniently left out any knowledge of Roy’s plans or information about their conversations leading up to his death. Despite several text messages urging Roy to kill himself, Carter texted the following message to Roy’s mother after his death:

“You tried your hardest, I tried my hardest, everyone tried their hardest to save him. But he had his mind set on taking his life.” A Boston defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you are facing criminal charges. Continue reading

In most cases, if a landlord’s negligence leads to an unsafe condition on their property, the landlord generally won’t be held criminally liable for resulting injuries or death. However, an exception may occur if the landlord’s actions were especially egregious.

Last December, a fire killed 36 people at the Ghost Ship artist collective in Oakland, California. The space, which had been rented to artists as a living and working space, was also used for parties, similar to the dance party that was underway when the tragedy occurred.

The art collective’s manager, Derick Alamena and his assistant, Max Harris, were arrested earlier this week in connection with the deadly blaze. They are each being charged with 36 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Although it is not believed that either Alamena or Harris had anything to do with starting the fire, their egregious disregard for the safety of tenants and party-goers has elevated their actions to criminal status. A MA criminal defense lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with involuntary 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

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