Murder, rape and robbery. Perpetrators, heroes and victims. Sometimes there is a clear deliniation between them.

Sometimes there isn’t.

Today, September 11th, Attorney Sam’s Take will take you to a story similar to the horror of that day in 2001 in that the crimes are horrible and the words “victim” and “hero” are interchangeable. In fact, the term “perpetrator” is also blurred.

The case comes from New Jersey. There, a 6-year-old boy whose throat was slashed by an intruder high on PCP-laced marijuana was killed trying to save his sister. He was coming to her aid as she was being assaulted on the floor,according to law enforcement.

Thirty-one-year-old Osvaldo Rivera (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) has been charged with the who is charged in the middle-of-the-night attack. He was held on $5 million bail.

During an interrogation, the Defendant is said to have asked, “How bad did I hurt them?”

Both children had been sleeping downstairs when the attack begain according to law enforcement. The girl, 12 years of age, says that she had also been raped by the Defendant. When her brother intervened, she ran out of the house for help. her windpipe had been slashed. Nevertheless, she was able to help lead the police to the Defendant.

He was found hiding between a mattress and bedroom wall. Police say they also found blood-stained sneakers that matched bloody footprints in the home where the children were assaulted.

 The Defendant has been charged with murder and attempted murder, but prosecutors said more charges will be filed. Authorities said he had a drug arrest in 2009 but no other convictions.

The Defendant is also said to have been under the influence of marijuana and PCP. The police suspect that there is somethng in this brand of PCP which creates users hallucinatory, incoherent and exhibiting violent outbursts. In fact, this matter is the second such incident reported. Less than two week prior, a Camden woman decapitated her 2-year-old son, called 911 to admit stabbing the child, then killed herself.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Victims

 Today is September 11th.  It is a day during which we pause to remember certain victims and heroes who emerged during the horror of the attacks on our country in 2001. 

 I thought it appropriate to focus on a couple of groups about which we seldom talk in this daily blog.  I am referring to the heroes and the victims in crime stories every day.

 I am a criminal defense attorney.  This blog is written from the perspective of what I do for a living.  However, rest assured, real crime does happen and there are often real victims and heroes.  While the above story comes to us from New Jersey, this truth is no less true here in the Commonwealth.

 There are all kinds of things from which people are victimized in this world.  Because people’s perspectives differ, one cannot stand up for all victims everywhere.  It becomes inconsistent and untenable.

 As a criminal defense attorney, I believe very much in what I do as I have told you before.  I have seen horrors in the criminal justice system which , to me, scream out for justice.  Justice which, in my opinion, often does not come or at least is dependant upon who the attorney is.  I am referring to victims of the criminal justice system.  Rest assured that these victims exist.  I fight for these victims because, quite often, they are unfairly treated and by fighting for their cause, I actually protect all of us. Because any of us can be accused.

But, that is a subject for another day.

 Today, I turn to the the victims of criminal acts. Those folks who are usually thought of when the term “victim” is used.  These victims also exist.

 Did you know that I also represent such victims at times?  Often, there are decisions for a person to make in such a situation.  Victims of crimes often do not know what there rights are…but the limits to those rights once the matter is handed over to the Commonwealth.  There is also  often a great deal not adequately conveyed to crime victims about their rights, including their rights to bring a civil lawsuit against a perpetrator.

Sometimes I act as an aid to such victims to guide them through the system and, sometimes, given my previous experience as a prosecutor, act as a go-between. A translator of sorts for the victim, or victim’s family, as they trudge through the muddy waters of the criminal justice system.

In any case, the system, like life itself, is filled with gray areas.

If I can help, please let me know.

For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to


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