This week is a big one for Danvers’s own Nathaniel Hudon, the 31 year-old- man who is now referred to as “the Defendant”. He began the week in custody and remains there awaiting a “Dangerousness Hearing” scheduled for tomorrow. Reports have it that he was under the influence of cocaine and alcohol and may have believed he was going to heaven to meet God, when he abducted his ex-girlfriend early Saturday. He is then said to have led police on a 20-mile chase on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
It is unknown as to whether the chase was due to his rush for the Devine appointment.
In any event, the Defendant has been held without bail and is facing several charges, including kidnapping and assault and battery.
The alleged victim in these charges is Pamela Bello, 42, also of Danvers. She is said to be the Defendant’s ex-girlfriend, and so is hereafter referred to as “the Ex”.
The Ex told police that the Defendant had been drinking and using cocaine for two days, when he called her outside of her residence around 4:45a.m. When the Defendant asked her to accompany him in his truck she says she refused, but he forced her into the vehicle anyway, where all the inside door handles were broken off. He then took off, with her in the vehicle and drugs and alcohol allegedly dancing through his system.
The Ex says she tried to call 911, but the Defendant threw her phone out of the window and continued driving. He is said to have then replaced the cell phone with a white metal crucifix in her hand, telling her to hold onto it.
At some point, the Defendant left the Ex alone, stopping for gas at the Westborough Service Plaza. The Ex then broke a car window and phoned police from the plaza, according to police.
A clerk at the service plaza who saw the Defendant told authorities that he was incoherent and rambling, searching for a map from “Cliff.” According to the clerk, the Defendant believed the map would lead him to heaven.
Not finding the map to heaven, and returning to the vehicle to find the Ex gone, the Defendant drove off again, this time with state troopers following, and so began a chase that ended after the Defendant’s truck hit a fencepost and he allegedly tried to flee on foot.
Police believe that the Defendant was “extremely high” during the incident,” according to the police report.
The Defendant, somehow capable of knowingly waiving his Miranda Rights, according to the police, told the troopers that Thursday night he was at a bar in downtown Boston where he received “several bags of cocaine.” He “used all the cocaine on Thursday night,” the report said. “On Friday [the Defendant] purchased six small bags of cocaine by Fenway Park for $200, and proceeded to use all of that Friday, while having approximately 10 glasses of vodka.”
The Defendant had been charged with Operating Under the Influence once before before, which case ended in a Continuance Without A Finding.
Drug, kidnapping, OUI and assault charges all rolled into one case do not seem to be the exception to the rule anymore. Over the past quarter century of criminal practice, I have seen many cases which come close to reflecting the entire Penal Law in one very bad day (or night).Let’s start with the kidnapping charges. The general definition of the crime has changed a bit over the past several years. It need no longer be grabbing someone, sticking a gun to their head and replacing him or her with a ransom note.
In fact, if you are having a dispute with someone, and you lock him in a closet or in a room, preventing his leaving, you can be found guilty of kidnapping. Think of it as a “false imprisonment”.
The scenario about the Defendant is something we have heard many times before. It is not uncommon that a domestic violence incident ends up including kidnapping or worse. Of course, often it seems like a spontaneous act of passion. Here, with doorknobs being removed, it seems a bit more planned out. Assuming, that is, that the Defendant was in any condition to plan anything out.
Tomorrow, there’s a Dangerousness Hearing set up for the Defendant. This is a procedure, replacing the typical bail hearing, in which the Commonwealth tries to convince the court that a defendant is so dangerous that it is too much a risk to have him out, regardless of bail. In such instances, it seeks to have the defendant held without bail.
At this hearing, the issue is no longer whether the defendant will return to court.
The prosecution generally has to put on live witnesses to testify as to why the defendant is such a threat. One would imagine that it would be difficult and that the standard that the prosecution much must meet is high.
One, however, would be wrong.
After all, this is where we once again encounter our old friend, the quote, “what if he goes out and kills somebody?” If the judge lets him out, the prosecution can always say, “Hey, we tried to keep him in and protect the planet, but that soft-on-crime-judge let him out”.
As we have discussed in the past, individual liberty pales in the face of bad publicity.
It would appear that the primary basis for the Commonwealth’s claim will be the facts of which he is currently being accused.
“But Sam, isn’t the Defendant presumed innocent at this point?”
Sure. Your point?
“Well, how can they hold him on the basis of a matter in which he is presumed to be innocent?”
In the words of Alice Cooper, “welcome to my nightmare”.
What nobody else tells you, and what I have told you many times is that while a criminal defendant may be “presumed innocent”, he or she is often “assumed guilty”. No, that is not in the law. It is merely in reality.
This is why, if you are in the shoes of the Defendant, you need to have an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side. One who merely knows the written law and what he or she learned in law school is not going to be enough in most cases. That knowledge is important, of course. However, the reality of the criminal justice system is much more important. That’s where experience comes in.
Experience, and the talent to make use of that experience.
I like to think that I have that experience and talent. If you have a criminal matter, why don’t you come and discuss it with me and make your own determination. You can reach me by calling 617-492-3000 and setting up a free initial consultation.
To view the original story, please go to: http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2011/02/man_held_withou_1.html?p1=Local_Links