Over the past months in the daily Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog, I have been spend a lot of time suggesting to potential defendants the best way to respond to police officers at the time of impending arrest. In fact, last Thursday, our weekly “Attorney Sam’s Take” posting about issues in criminal justice, was devoted to the issue. I have warned you about not trying to outwit, outfight or out-run the police. Unfortunately, I have neglected to warn people about avoiding the officers’ means of transportation. Now, perhaps because of this neglect, Todd D., a 31-year-old homeless gentleman from Springfield (hereinafter, “Defendant1”) needs a lawyer.
The event took place last Thursday morning at Springfield’s Worthington Street parking lot.
Yes, Defendant1 is said to have broken into the car in front of police officers so that they could witness it.
Yes, it was a police car…although unmarked.
The car was parked in the rear parking lot of police headquarters, according to Springfield Police Sgt. John M. Delaney, aide to Commissioner William J. Fitchet. Defendant1 was apparently apprehended in mid-break.
“If you’re going to break into a car, don’t do it behind the police station,” Delaney advises.
Defendant1 was arrested by Officer Sean Sullivan who observed the attempted break-in as he was walking out of the police station to go to his vehicle. Defendant1 was charged with Massachusetts attempted breaking and entering to a motor vehicle.
Of course, there was also another reason why Defendant1’s wisdom in his venture is…at best…questionable. At the time he chose to try to break into a police car outside police headquarters, he was already “on the lam”.
He had two outstanding warrants for failing to register as a sex offender and for parole violations.
…Which I suppose gives us a hint about his judgment in the past.
Auto theft seems to be a popular activity as the weather becomes nicer. Earlier this month, an escaped prisoner from Massachusetts was captured in Nashua, New Hampshire as a result of his activities.
David L., 52 (hereinafter, “Defendant2”) was captured and brought to the Hillsborough County Jail after having been on the run for four days. Defendant2 had been incarcerated for car theft in the Worcester County Jail. Apparently unable to await the remainder of his sentence, of which he still had three months left, Defendant2 stole a city-owned truck (apparently not a police vehicle) and drove off from a park in Leominster while on work release.
Getting apprehended and charged with being a felony fugitive did not set too well with Defendant2. While in transport to the jail, he allegedly assaulted another inmate with his handcuffs, causing minor injuries.
The felony of assault by a prisoner, the New Hampshire charge awarded Defendant2 as a result, is punishable by up to 7½ to 15 years in prison.
Attorney Sam’s take:
In today’s blog, we have met two new nominees for membership to the “Hey, I’ll Bet I Can Make This Situation Worse” Club. They are unlikely to make it, though. They did not go that extra step of demonstrating a complete loss of judgment, such as trying to physically combat the arresting officers.
They did give it a noble try up to that point, though.
Both gentlemen had been “on the run” from law enforcement one way or another.
When one is convicted of a sex crime, one has to register with the Sex Offender’s Registry. While one can challenge the “rating” given, registration is not optional – it is mandatory. I have met many clients who seem not to understand this. We usually meet as they are in seeking counsel after having been arrested for failing to register.
The best thing to do about warrants is not to get them. If you are supposed to go to court…go to court. If you are supposed to serve a sentence…wait out the time. “Short-cuts” to the problem of a showing up and staying where you are supposed to in the criminal justice system turn out to be “long-cuts”. They will, eventually, find you and give you more time.
If you are out there and have already made the mistake, the best thing you can do without a time machine is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to aid you in your return to the halls of Justice so as to minimize damage…and time.
As to the temptation to break into automobiles….don’t. They may appear to be shiny new toys in which one can obtain freedom and movement…but looks can be deceptive. While not always a police officer, they often belong to someone.
And taking them is a crime.
The full articles of this story can be found at http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2009/05/homeless_man_charged_with_tryi.html and http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090515/NEWS01/905159987/-1/XML15