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 Murder

Brittany Smith (hereinafter, the “Defendant”), 29 years of age of Athol, was found guilty yesterday in a Home Invasion turned deadly case in Franklin Superior Court. The crime took place in Orange in October, 2016. As a result of the violent Home Invasion, two people died according to the Commonwealth. The victims were a 95-year-old man and his 77-year-old wife, Thomas Harty and Joanna Fisher. Mr. Harty died at the scene while Ms. Fisher, who used a wheelchair, died several weeks later.

The Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder.

The Defendant is the second person convicted in the case. Her boyfriend, 25-year-old Joshua Hart, was convicted last month.

Both face sentencing on May 10th.

According to Boston.com,Authorities say the pair wanted to steal a car and money so they could leave Massachusetts to avoid charges in unrelated cases.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Two Defendants Meaning Two Trials

You may be wondering why there had to be two trials in this matter, where the defendants were charged with the same crime.

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In the Cape Cod Times, the call that the criminal justice system’s “softness and weak” is to blame for the murder of the Yarmouth police office Sean Gannon. In the words of Rodney Collins, Mashpee town manager:

The tragedy of Officer Gannon is another indictment of the Massachusetts criminal justice system, which is overly soft and weak. Gov. Baker and state legislators can express sympathy and sorrow for this shocking loss; however, what they really need to do is act on criminal justice reform that will keep violent offenders from preying upon a civilized society. Call it the “Gannon bill” and make a real difference!

We had been discussing this topic on my postings of April 13, April 19  and April 20th. Feel free to review them.

Now, lets tie this issue up.

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We have been talking about the tragic murder of Police Officer Sean Gannon and his reputed assassin, Thomas Latanowich (hereinafter, the “Defendant”).

Yesterday I shared with you a petition which is online to answer the latest call to penalize judges for the actions certain defendants take.

I think I made my position on that issue relatively clear. Now, let me explain why.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Judges, Powers And Criminal Sentences

First of all, let’s demystify how criminal cases end. There are three options. Either there is an agreement made between the parties, there is a trial or the case gets dismissed for a legal reason…such as there is no evidence that can be presented.

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Last Friday, we ended the week with the tragic story of a slain police officer. He was murdered in the line of duty. His alleged killer was a man with a criminal record “as long as your arm”. Maybe longer.

The murder took place in Yarmouth. The officer was the late Yarmouth Police Officer Sean Gannon. The gent with the record is accused of killing Officer Gannon is Thomas Latanowich (hereinafter, the “Defendant”).

And now, not wasting a moment, the expected call for the quickie solution to a complicated problem has begun.

In short, “blame the judges!”

We have been here before, looking at this same situation. Only the details have changed alittle. This time, the victim was a very well thought of police officer and his police dog,

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The reports are still coming in from Yarmouth. The Boston Herald tells us about the Yarmouth K-9 police officer who was fatally shot and dog wounded. The shots allegedly came from a suspect who was hiding in the attic of a Marstons Mills home as officers searched the house yesterday afternoon, police said.

K-9 officer Sean Gannon, 32, later died at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis.

The suspect, later identified as Thomas Latanowich, 29, and hereinafter, the “Defendant”, remained barricaded in the house for several hours in the Barnstable village as SWAT teams ringed the house. The Defendant was later taken into custody and was  arraigned on a murder charge today in Barnstable District Court.

The Defendant pleaded not guilty to murder and was held without bail. His next hearing will be June 26.

The court room was filled during the arraignment with police officers from Yarmouth and Barnstable Police Departments.

The Defendant entered the court with his head down. He made no

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Fans of the hit podcast Serial will be interested to learn that Adnan Syed, the man whose murder conviction is the focus of the show, has been granted a new trial. Last week, Maryland’s second-highest court upheld a lower-court’s ruling that—due to deficient counsel in his original trial—Syed deserves a new trial.

The appeals court’s three-judge panel said on Thursday that his legal counsel’s “deficient performance prejudiced Syed’s defense.” They went on to say that if the defense team had managed to contact even one witness with an alibi that could “have raised a reasonable doubt in the mind of at least one juror,” the outcome may have been different. A Boston criminal defense attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been charged with a crime.

Multiple Inconsistencies

The first season of Serial followed the investigation into the murder conviction of Adnan Syed. About 18 years ago, Syed was convicted of murdering his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. But the show’s host, Sarah Koenig, uncovered multiple inconsistencies in the case against Syed. For example, a woman by the name of Asia McLean should have been contacted as an alibi witness; she reported having seen Syed at the same time Lee’s murder was alleged to have occurred. However, not only was McLean not contacted by the defense team, her testimony never appeared in court.

Although Thursday’s ruling upholds a previous decision to retry Syed’s case in Maryland’s circuit court, there is a good possibility that prosecutors will appeal.

In addition to failing to contact McLean, Syed’s defense team neglected to question evidence used to trace Syed to the crime scene, including the reliability of a cell phone tower that placed him at the site where Lee’s body was found in a shallow grave.

Failure to Present an Alibi Witness

Syed’s lawyers argued that his former counsel provided ineffective assistance, primarily based on the fact that Asia McLean—who said Syed was at the library at the time of the murder—was never presented as an alibi witness. Had the jury been given this information, it is possible that a reasonable doubt may have been raised in the mind of at least one juror. Judge Martin Welch agreed, saying that Syed’s previous counsel “fell below the standard of reasonable professional judgment.”

Prosecutors have 30 days within which to appeal this decision or proceed with the new trial. Whether Syed is granted bail while awaiting his new trial has not yet been determined. A MA defense attorney can help you protect your rights if you’ve been charged with murder or any other crime. Continue reading

I heard a story this weekend that I just had to pass on to you. It illustrates something we have been talking about in an unusual way.

The police were called to an apartment. The report was that there had been a murder. Sure enough, when the police got to the apartment, there was a dead body.

In the kitchen.

Also in the kitchen was a gentleman (hereinafter, “Cookie”) who was cooking macaroni and cheese apparently nonplussed by the dead body on the floor.

The officers asked Cookie who had called the police. Cookie said that he had.

“Well, who is the guy on the floor?”

“Don’t know.”

“You don’t know the dead body lying in your kitchen is?”

Nope. Never seen him before.”

About a minute or so went by as the officers wondered what to do next. Meanwhile, Cookie continued to cook.

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About 14000 years ago, I was a prosecutor in Brooklyn, New York. The last bureau in which I worked was the Homicide Bureau.

The first case that I brought to trial was a drug-deal-gone-sour matter in which the defendant was alleged to have stabbed the deceased. While there was no physical evidence or eye witnesses that pointed to him,  and he had no prior record, there was but one particular piece of evidence against him.

He made a statement.

To him, it must have seemed a good idea at the time. He thought he was exonerating himself, or at least, making the killing accidental. You see, he had used a very small knife during the incident. Who could know that such a little thing could actually kill a man?

Well, I suppose we all do….now.

The defense brought a motion to suppress the statement. The motion failed.

The jury trial ended with a relatively quick conviction.

Attorney Sam’s Take On The Reality Of Statements

As I mentioned yesterday, the issue of making statements is an interesting one. Many people still do not understand it. I often have clients who tell me that the police did not inform them of their Miranda Rights, and so the case must be “thrown out”.

Sorry, it is not that simple.

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As we discussed yesterday, Thirty-two-year-old Xavier Broughton(hereinafter, the “Defendant”) was arrested Tuesday in connection to the discovery of a dead body (hereinafter, the “Deceased”).

The Deceased had been missing and police were looking into the disappearance. On Monday night, law enforcement located the Deceased’s body in Worcester.

Apparently, the Defendant was approached and questioned. He decided to answer the questions and found himself arrested and charged disinterment of a human body and misleading a police investigation.

According to CBS , the prosecutors called his statement a “confession” at his arraignment. Said confession was allegedly that the Deceased was at the Defendant’s house for a party on January 7th and had overdosed on heroin. The Defendant apparently admitted that he had panicked and hid the Deceased’s body in an enclosed back porch, covered in boxes.

The Commonwealth also revealed that there is video surveillance showing the Defendant dragging the body of the Deceased. According to the prosecutor, the Defendant also said that the Defendant told police that the deceased stopped breathing while they were “partying together” on January 7th.

Unfortunately, according to the prosecution, the Defendant changed his story somewhat during questioning. Initially, he told police the Deceased had been at his house for the party but left the next morning. That was when police visited the Valley Hill Drive home after the Deceased’s family had reported him missing on January 9th.

According to officials, a tip brought them back to Broughton’s house.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Statements, Evidence And Damage Control

Well, some of the mystery about which we spoke yesterday are cleared up. Most notably is the basis f the charge regarding misleading the police.

“So, you no longer think that this could turn into a homicide investigation?”

 

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Sometimes,people get themselves in trouble because they were trying not to get in trouble in the first place.

For those of my older readers, I remind you of the case of the late ex-President Richard Nixon. For you younger readers, I bring you a tale from today’s news.

According to the Boston Herald , Xavier Broughton of Worcester, hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is now facing criminal charges. In fact, he is also facing being held without any bail options.

The 32-year-old Defendant is charged with hiding the body of a man who apparently died in the Defendant’s home. Today’s Dangerousness Hearing will determine whether he is a “threat to the community” . At stake is his liberty. If the court finds he is a threat, he will be held without bail.

The criminal charge facing the Defendant is disinterment of a human body and misleading a police investigation.

Police say that they found said body Monday under cardboard boxes and paper bags on an enclosed porch. The Commonwealth believes that the body is that of Justin Ramos, who was last seen at a party at the Defendant’s home on January 7th.

The Defendant allegedly told investigators that Ramos died of a heroin overdose and he tried to revive him.

An autopsy is underway.

The Defendant’s attorney says that today’s Dangerousness Hearing is not necessary based on the charges

The Commonwealth clearly disagrees.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Making Statements And Resulting Suspicions

This type of situation has many layers to discuss in it.

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