A new year is just about dawning! There is a new administration coming in to lead the country! Even our Cambridge office is moving (next door)! Let’s face it, people are on the go!
And, as goes “the people”, so goes the criminal justice system.
For example, let’s look at the case of the “Traveling Brawl Show” which opened its tents this week. It had a relatively short run, though. It ran from the evening hours of Tuesday to the morning hours of Wednesday, starting in Dennis, Massachusetts and ending in Hyannis.
It was not a “feel good” type of show, though. The star of the show, Patrick D., 27, of Dennisport (hereinafter, “Defendant 1”) performed the last act solo amidst charges of assault and battery on a police officer, assault and battery, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.
The touring group began around 9:30pm on Tuesday at a Christy’s in Dennisport. A customer mentioned to the store’s assistant manager that a fight was underway near the dumpster to the rear of the store. The employee looked out and saw about 10 people fighting, including one with a baseball bat.
The assistant manager called the Dennis police. Meanwhile, the fight moved to the middle of Route 28, stopping traffic. The participants fled when Dennis police cruisers arrived.
According to court documents, the altercation allegedly led to two men being beat with one or more baseball bats and to the stabbing of Defendant 1 ‘s brother. The injured were taken by others, including Defendant 1 , to the hospital.
Later that night, Officer Barrette was dispatched to the hospital to stand by the victims while Dennis police were en route to take statements. Hospital security guards took Barrette into an office to observe the people who had arrived with the injured.
The officer said he saw a man run into the emergency room lobby being chased by Defendant 1 . The man stood behind a hospital guard, but Defendant 1 allegedly still punched him.
Barrette requested backup. Then, he and two security guards went into the lobby and broke up the two men. Defendant 1 , apparently a “true believer” in “the show must go on”, allegedly then grabbed Barrette by the arm and pushed him away, prompting the officer to use pepper spray on his face.
Instead of the customary flowers being thrown, the officer awarded Defendant 1 the Commonwealth’s bracelets of shame.
But Defendant 1 apparently had more show to give.
“While on the ground, Defendant 1 screamed at (the man) accusing him of stabbing his brother,” Barrette stated. “…(The man) stated that he had just arrived at the ER and Defendant 1 just attacked him for no apparent reason. “He stated that he had no idea what provoked the fight.”
Dennis police then arrived at the hospital and informed Barrette that Defendant 1 and his sparring partner had been involved in the altercation at the store, and that the stabbing victim was Defendant 1 ‘s brother.
Barrette was treated for injuries at the hospital and released.
The show closed and defendant 1’s performance was reviewed on Wednesday at the Barnstable District Court.
But it is not just the cape that is on the move. Let’s turn to Framingham. Joshua P., 27 (hereinafter, “Defendant 2”) is a suspected local gang member. He was wanted by the authorities for stabbing a man in August.
Until this week, he, too, was on the go. His tour, however, ended this Tuesday when he was found hiding in a kitchen cabinet in his girlfriend’s apartment, police said. He was charged with a stabbing on Frederick Street and is suspected of being a member of the “Kendall Street Thugs”, or KST.
Porter’s girlfriend was also arrested for her supporting role as accessory for trying to lie about Defendant 2 being in her apartment. According to the police, she is also charged for her solo performance in assaulting Sgt. Richard Pomales.
Defendant 2 had been sought by the police in an ongoing investigation. The department’s street crimes unit staked out the apartment after receiving a tip that Defendant 2 was living at the apartment with his girlfriend. Police had obtained a warrant several months ago for Defendant 2’s arrest.
At one point, the police even saw Defendant 2 go in the apartment, and officers surrounded the building to make sure he did not escape.
The officers are said to have rang the doorbell and no one came to the door for three to five minutes before the girlfriend finally opened the door. When they asked about Defendant 2, she told them that she was alone.
They told her they knew he was there.
She said, “No, he’s not.” And then closed the door, locked it and announced that they were not coming in.
Not a great approach. The officers called for backup
The girlfriend returned to the door with another woman. “This is who you saw coming in”, she said.
“No, it’s not”, said police.
Then, when the girlfriend opened the door to let the other woman out, the officers stopped her as she tried to close the door. She then tried to push the officer out of the way by pushing her body into his.
.”She created a scene,” said police officer Shastany. “She was screaming, ‘You’re not coming in,’ and she was then handcuffed.”
Minutes later, officers searched the apartment and found Defendant 2 hiding in the kitchen cabinet under the sink, Shastany said.
While he was being handcuffed, the officers found four grams of marijuana on the kitchen table. Defendant 2, ever the gentleman, or perhaps not wanting to share the limelight, announced that it was his.
The His and Her reviews for Defendant 2, and his girlfriend’s performances were released in Framingham District Court on Wednesday.
FOR HIM- charges for armed assault to murder and assault with a dangerous weapon for the August 9th incident. He is also charged with resisting arrest and possessing marihuana. As he came to court, he was also reunited with an outstanding warrant that had been pending for possession of marijuana.
FOR HER- charges of disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest and being an accessory after the fact.
Far from being the only show in town, this was not even the only show at this particular apartment building.. While staking out the apartment, they saw a man urinating on the side of the building in front of several people.
He was charged with disorderly conduct.
He, too, was apparently on the “go”.
This week’s daily criminal law blogs have demonstrated a number of times the legal truth of, “You can run, but you cannot hide. So, it seems that these stories are a fitting for this Friday.
Here, again, you see played out, as if in review-form, the following two lessons:
1. Police Departments communicate with each other. You do not escape the knowledge of one by going to another jurisdiction; and
2. Just because the police did not catch you right away does not mean that they have forgotten about you. That includes the courts when you have a default warrant pending.
One of my favorite sayings (which you know if you have seen my video by clicking on the words “Samuel’s take” above) is that just because you are paranoid, it does not mean that they are not out to get you.
My approach to criminal defense is very much like a paranoid. I call it “professional paranoia”. It is what works best for my clients. This way, there is very little chance of being surprised by some bad development. It is part of being prepared. A certain amount of paranoia in the criminal justice system is a good thing. Whether or not you have done anything wrong, or, rather, think you have done nothing wrong, but have reason to believe that either you have done, are doing, or plan to do something that could be misunderstood to be illegal, you should contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible to advise and defend you.
Likewise, if you are approached by the police, do not run, fight, jump, fly or shove. Comply and reach out for an experienced attorney.
But, then, you have heard me say these things once or twice before….!
There are other lessons the above stories bring to light as well.
For example, what do you do when the police are at your door demanding to come in? Well, a lot of this is a case-by-case basis. However, the general rule is that, under the law, the police can force their way in if there are “exigent [emergency] circumstances” or if they have a warrant. You have the right to ask them to show you that they have a warrant.
In Defendant 2’s case, even if the police did not have a search warrant from the August matter, they still would have had the right to arrest Defendant 2 because it turns out there was a warrant for his arrest already outstanding because of his default in the earlier marihuana charge.
Which brings us once again to default warrants.
I have had many clients who call me from various locales and who have a default warrant pending against them. Some of them actually think that, after a certain amount of time, the system just forgets about them or dismisses the charges because so much time has passed.
Sorry, it does not work that way. In fact, it can work the opposite. The fact that someone has been a fugitive from justice for so long, particularly if they are picked up and are not returning voluntarily, the chances for higher bail is increased. Sometimes, the accused is held without bail. So, “waiting out” the system does not work.
Again, if there is a default warrant outstanding because you failed to show up in court when you were supposed to, it is very important to contact an experienced defense attorney to help you clear it up before it comes back to haunt you at the least convenient of times.
One final thing, in case you do not know. Yes, you can e arrested for relieving yourself outdoors. In face, it can be prosecuted as the crime of indecent exposure.
Sorry ’bout that.
Have a good and law-abiding weekend!
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.capecodtoday.com/blogs/index.php/2008/12/03/falmouth-pd-issues-traffic-notice-for-su?blog=80 and http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1881115103/Gang-suspect-found-hiding-under-sink