Did you know that Massachusetts law enforcement are allowed to arrest you for things they were not even looking for, but accidentally found while executing a search warrant?
The fact is, if the warrant allows them to be in a certain place, and they see something without violating the parameters of the warrant, it is fair game. Let’s say police officers rang your doorbell, told you they were looking for little Johnny and showed you the proper paperwork to search your home for him.
You, a regular reader of this blog, of course, let the officers in and do not challenge the warrant. Instead, you quietly call an experienced criminal defense attorney to ask for advice. While you are doing that, the officers a looking around.
As they approach the living room, they happen to notice that the living room table has a scale on it, several small baggies and a mound of what appears to be marijuana. They have the right now to seize and inquire as to the weed.
They are also likely to arrest you for possession with intent to distribute that weed.
Even if they never find Johnny.
Just ask Nathan M. Caron, 22, Sheryl S. Savage, 63, and Kristine Jane Lynch, 30 (collectively, the “Defendants”). The authorities were investigating a rash of break-ins and thefts from various north shore communities. Their investigation led them to the home of the Defendants.
Armed with a search warrant.
Police say they found “rooms full of stolen property” believed to have been amassed from break-ins and thefts as well as an unspecified quantity of heroin while executing that search warrant.
The Defendants were arraigned at Haverhill District Court to answer to charges ranging from heroin possession to receiving stolen property.
Their home on Dummer Avenue was searched Friday, but Georgetown police said it took two days to inventory everything investigators removed from the property.
The goods include jewelry, power tools, electronics and tool cases bearing the names of contractors or residents believed to be victims of recent thefts or break-ins.
“Heroin is a problem in every community. It destroys lives and families and can have a devastating effect on neighborhoods. In Georgetown, we refuse to turn a blind eye to the problem, and we will continue to aggressively pursue those who allegedly attempt to manufacture and sell these poisons,” Police Chief Donald C. Cudmore said. “In this investigation, we see an unfortunate mixture of the sad results of the drug trade.”
Attorney Sam’s Take On What To Do When The Police Show Up At The Right Place And Right Time
Well, from our previous discussions, I am going to hope you know what not to do. For example, throwing yourself over the living room table and screaming, “Don’t look!” or shoving the officers in the other direction would be pretty bad ideas.
No, you are pretty much caught. However, you do not have to contribute to your own prosecution. For examples, if the officers turn to you and ask, “Hey, is this yours?”, you can rely on those handy Miranda Rights and explain you would rather have a lawyer present before you answer any questions.
“Isn’t there anything I can do when I see the inevitable happen?”
Yes! As soon as possible, contact your lawyer and ask for advice.
“But why bother? I mean, it’s a done deal, isn’t it? I’m caught! I am heading off to jail, aren’t I?”
Not necessarily. There are many issues involved here which you will need a lawyer’s help with. For example, what if the officers went beyond what was allowed in the warrant? What if the warrant itself is no good?
“That can happen?”
That can happen.
Every case is different and I cannot anticipate what the details will be when and if you are ever sharing a boat with the Defendants. However, I do know what to look for.
That’s what I do. It’s part of my job.
“What if the officer tells me that I don’t need an attorney?”
He or she may well tell you that.
It is often not terribly wise to take legal advice from the officer who is in the middle of slapping the Commonwealth Bracelets Of Shame on you and carting you away.
For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to