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

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

The judge’s comments were on the money and everyone should recognize it. Not knowing it could end your life one way or another.

The judge is Suffolk Superior Court Judge Mitchell H. Kaplan. He just presided over a murder trial. The case was the Commonwealth of Massachusetts vs. Peter Castillo (hereinafter, the “Defendant”).

The Defendant is the 28-year-old man who was charged with fatally shooting Stephen Perez, Jr. in order to settle an early morning insult-fest between the two strangers as they headed to their cars at closing time.

Perez had just returned from two terms of duty in the military. He was a sniper who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and was on a waiting list to enter the Revere police academy. His death came 10 days before his 23rd birthday. He lived in Revere.

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I have been bouncing back and forth between the Boston Police Union vs. Body Cams follies and the return to…that other Department…in terms of topics for the blog this week.

I think, as a prelude to both, I should bring you a case in which the Supreme Judicial Court has just agreed that Mr. Sean Ellis (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) should be granted a new trial.

According to the Boston Herald , the Defendant was charged with shooting and killing Police Officer John Mulligan at approximately 3:30a.m. on September 26, 1993. The Defendant was convicted after trial in 1995.

According to the Commonwealth, Officer Mulligan had been on a security detail at the time. Allegedly in his car, asleep.

For some reason, the case was tried several times before he was finally convicted in 1995 and sentenced to a life sentence.

As it turned out, however, there were issues which dwelled beneath the simplistic view of the shooting which the Commonwealth wished to share with either the jury…or the defense.

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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?”

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You have undoubtedly heard about the horrifyingly tragic and monstrous mass murder which took place at Pulse in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen, now deceased, committed the deed, leaving behind 49 people dead and 53 injured.

There seems to be no doubt as to either the despicable act or the identity of the shooter.

Mr. Mateen, however is dead and so beyond the government’s ability to punish him further.

And so eyes turn to his wife, 30-year-old Noor Zahi Salmon.
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We are going through a rather bumpy ride through this political season. Insults are being handed out like candy, including against the Commander-In-Chief. However, there are limits (at least, as to most presidential candidates) which folks are supposed to know they cannot breach.

Do you know what they are?

Alex Hernandez, 31 and hereinafter the “Defendant” may have missed that particular memo.

The Defendant, an inmate at Old Colony Correctional Center in Bridgewater, has been charged with threatening to kill President Barack Obama.

The charges were brought Monday with two counts of threatening to kill the President and inflict bodily harm upon him.

You may be wondering how in inmate in state prison got out to threaten the President.

Well, actually, he didn’t.

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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.

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Granted, it was longer ago than I had expected, but when we left off, we were discussing Cell Site Simulators – often referred to as “Stingrays”, one of the newer investigative tools of law enforcement. The Stingray is used to gather sensitive information about cell phone users by essentially tricking their phones into thinking they are communicating with cell phone company towers, when in fact they are communicating with law enforcement.

The Stingray not only gathers data about the intended target, but can also sweep up information from countless bystanders who end up monitored just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Since the days after September 11, 2001, law enforcement, on varying levels, has been given extra powers to eat away at our various rights, particularly those regarding privacy. The process, whether it is a murder case, a drug case or any other case has almost become predictable

Step One: “No, we could not spy on someone like that. It is not allowed”;

Step Two: “We cannot spy on folks like that in regular criminal cases. We only get o use those extra powers when dealing with terrorism”;

Step Three: Ok, we figure we ARE allowed to use those powers in normal criminal cases…but we don’t have the funding to do so; and, finally,

Step Four: Yes, of course we used it to fight regular crime. Doesn’t ALL criminal behavior endanger our way of life?

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At the end of last week, the United States Attorney’s office issued a press release. The posting of it, as we have discussed in the past, as recently as last week, is apparently deemed necessary in LawenforcementLand to let us know that they are doing their job and arresting people.

Whether those people turn out to be guilty, of course, is another issue. In the meantime, of course, they will be presumed innocent…and assumed guilty.

To be fair, though, the federal prosecutor’s office generally gets the convictions that they are after.

As I recall, this was released around the same time I was getting posts on my IPhone that they were trying to find some gang member who apparently had escaped from federal custody. Yes, that would be the same office.

But I digress.

According to the release, two gentlemen from Cambridge were among 56 alleged “MS-13” gang members, leaders and associates who were taken into custody by law enforcement Friday morning.
Erick Argueta Larios, aka “Lobo,” 31, and Herzzon Sandoval, aka “Casper,” 34, both of Cambridge, had been indicted on federal racketeering conspiracy charges.
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Michael P. McCarthy, 35 and hereinafter, the “Defendant” went to court today. He is the gent who stands accused of actually killing the toddler known for months as “Baby Doe”.

The court was Suffolk Superior Court in Boston. The charge is Murder in the First Degree.

This was not the first time the Defendant was in court on this matter. He has been in jail since September 18, 2015. At the time, he was held without bail and the matter was in District Court.

Now, the case has been indicted. He is in Superior Court where a conviction on the charge is possible (the charge cannot be prosecuted in District Court) and he faces the sentence of Life without the possibility of parole.

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