North Attleboro, Massachusetts, had more than its fair share of attempted escapes from law enforcement last week. Two such cases graced the hallowed halls of Attleboro District Court last Friday.
One case involved some teenagers who led the police on a high-speed chase into the welcoming arms of Rhode Island. The teens, a 15-year-old girl and three lads of 17, all of Providence, (hereinafter, “Defendants 1”) ,allegedly broke into vehicles at an Attleboro movie theatre and then took off in a stolen car.
Defendants 1 then led the police on a chase on Interstate 295 at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Once they reached Rhode Island, the North Attleboro police broke off the chase.
Three of them were returned to Massachusetts (one is trying to fight extradition) to answer charges of breaking and entering, vandalism charges and possession of a stolen motor vehicle. The driver also faces traffic offenses.
You see, the North Attleboro police are not alone in the world. They have friends. Take Rhode Island law enforcement, for example. Rhode Island authorities picked up the chase, which ended on Route 7 in Smithfield, R.I., when the vehicle crashed into a brushy area off the highway.
So, other than the Massachusetts charges, they all now all face related charges in Rhode Island.
While two of the above-mentioned boys were arraigned in North Attleboro District Court last Friday, they had plenty of people to talk to. For example, there was Dennis W., 23, of North Attleboro (Hereinafter, “Defendant 2”). The police say that Defendant 2, an alleged drunk driver, struck a utility pole and drove off before calling a friend to drive his car.
Nope. Did not make it very far.
Police were called to the area of Mount Hope and Elm streets around 1 a.m. Thursday after a witness reported a car leaving the scene of an accident with the front bumper hanging off.
Police said a car with that description was stopped by Patrolman Joseph Turner on Toner Boulevard near Interstate 95 a short time later with three occupants inside the vehicle.
The driver of the car at that time was released after questioning and a 24-year-old passenger was placed into protective custody, according to police. Defendant 2, who was in the front passenger seat, was questioned and charged with driving the vehicle at the time of the crash.
In addition to drunken driving, Defendant 2 faces charges of driving to endanger, leaving the scene, resisting arrest and being disorderly.
North Attleboro is not alone in terms of what might be called a “you can run, but you cannot hide” trend in criminal justice. Let’s turn to New Bedford, where two teens (hereinafter, “Defendants 3”) were arrested last week in connection with a West End shooting and car chase and were arraigned Friday.
Both lads were detained pending dangerousness hearings this week in New Bedford District Court.
Accused of robbing at gunpoint a man in a blue BMW just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, Defendants 3 are charged with armed robbery with a firearm, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, carrying and possessing a firearm without a license and assault with a dangerous weapon.
The victim told police he did not know Defendants 3. He said they approached him in a red and white sport utility vehicle and stole his cash and other belongings, court records said. He then followed the suspects down several West End streets. He said they shot at him in the area of Maple and Ash streets
He was not struck. Defendants 3 were, though. Or, rather, their vehicle subsequently struck a parked car and flipped over near the intersection of Chestnut and Parker streets. Police officers found a .22-caliber Ruger handgun inside the vehicle, court records said.
Witnesses said they saw two young men wearing gray hooded sweatshirts exit the vehicle and run into a house at the corner of Cottage and Pope streets, according to police reports. Police went to the house and were allowed inside by a relative of one of the defendants, who was concerned Defendants 3 were hurt.
On the kitchen floor, Police Officer Evan Bielski found a blood-stained white tissue, court records said. Then the police noticed two bloody gray sweatshirts. Inside the closet, police found Defendants 3 hiding. Both had blood-stained hands, court records said.
While being booked at police headquarters, one of the lads reportedly pleaded TODDI (“The Other Dude Did It”). He admitted he was inside the suspect vehicle but said he was not the person who shot at the blue BMW, court records said. Later, he allegedly confessed to the robbery and said he drove the vehicle, according to police reports.
You may be surprised at the bravery (or foolhardiness) of the alleged robbery victim, but, hey, why should the police have all the fun of the chase? After all, let’s turn to Framingham. Last week, it was a “gutsy grandma” and two neighborhood kids chasing down a suspected burglar. Yep, they caught him, and handed him over to police.
The kids were 12 and 13 years old. Grandma was 59.
Bryan F, (hereinafter, “Defendant 4”) is said to have walked in the front door of Grandma’s home last Monday afternoon, shocking her and her nine-year-old grandson
“I heard her screaming in Spanish: ‘You came into my house without knocking. You came up my stairs. What are you doing? What are you doing?’ ” said one of the youths who assisted her.
Officers said Defendant 4 took off empty-handed, running down the street.
That’s when the two boys took off after him. The grandmother did the same in her mini-van.
She caught up with the suspect. According to the boys, she got out of her car, pushed him and kicked him.
“The grandmother was very gritty and showed a lot of spunk,” said Lt. Paul Shastany.
Police said the woman held Defendant 4 up until police arrived and arrested him. He now faces charges of breaking and entering.
Police said the grandmother was so rattled she was taken to Framingham Union hospital with chest pains.
In the Television Program, “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, there is a mantra said by The Borg, one of the villains. The saying is, “Resistance Is Futile”. The same might be said of escapes. More often than not, they fail and merely lead to new charges and membership into the infamous “Hey, I’ll Bet I Can Make This Situation Worse” club, along with its accessories, namely the Commonwealth Bracelets of Shame and temporary Commonwealth housing.
Stealing cars, leaving the scenes of accidents, trying to outrun the police and trying to fight the police seldom work. They just make matters worse. Of course, the original crimes of destroying people’s property, drunk driving, robbery and breaking and entering are not such great ideas either. However, for the sake of today’s daily blog, let’s take that as a given.
There is a mistaken notion that if you can escape from police to another jurisdiction, then you have “made it”.
That’s not really true, hence the use of the word “mistaken” above. Under certain circumstances, police can continue into a town to which they are not assigned. Further, they can radio for help from police from that other town. Finally, there tend to be relationships between law enforcement of various states and there are laws for bringing someone for whom there is a fugitive warrant to be brought back to the state which wants them. The process is called “Extradition” and is fairly straight-forward.
You should also be aware that carrying on a crimes across state lines can trigger a federal prosecution as well.
By the way, it may interest you to know how much worse things for the accused can get. For example, in the last story, our “gutsy grandma” had chest pains after the chase. If, G-d forbid, this led to something fatal, Defendant 4 would probably be charged for the death. Just as if someone were injured or killed during one of the police chases, or defendant crashes, the defendant would be held accountable. This means homicide charges.
The method of escape through shooting at your victim is the most obvious example of this.
This is all aside from the fact that news of the escapes do not look too good when your lawyer is in court arguing that you should be trusted to return to court and released on little or no bail.
So, long story short, the potential escape is not the best option when faced with criminal charges. Better to keep your mouth shut, be compliant, and consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
You may find yourself more successful in court than on the street.
At least it is not likely to make the situation worse.
Samuel Goldberg is the senior criminal defense attorney at the firm of Altman & Altman, LLP. A former prosecutor in New York, he has worked as a Boston defense attorney over 18 years. 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.
The full articles of this story can be found at http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2008/11/29/news/4005970.txt, http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2008/11/29/news/4005886.txt , http://www3.whdh.com/news/articles/local/BO96648/ and http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081129/NEWS/811290333