Not many cases are as tragic, from any perspective, as the drama being played out in Concord today. I am referring to Julianne McCrery, 42, who will soon need an experienced homicide attorney in New Hampshire. She was arrested in Chelmsford, is held as a fugitive and is hereinafter referred to as the “Defendant”.
On the periphery, there are the typical cast of characters. There are the various family members and friends who describe the Defendant as “troubled” and swear that she would never hurt her child. There are the casual observers who saw her at what is assumed to be the time of her son’s death who describe her as “not a nice person”, disheveled and quiet based on barely any interaction at all, yet apparently worth mentioning in news accounts.
And, in the heart of it is a dead child. The boy who was found dead days ago, left unidentified. The 6-year-old boy for whom authorities searched until they found a name…and a mother. A mother who has apparently confessed to killing him.
The chief medical examiner of Maine has determined the cause of death to be asphyxiation, although the final determination is pending further study.
The suspected cause of the asphyxiation? Too much cough syrup.
Indeed, a close friend describes that the boy had had a bad cough.
The Defendant has an interesting past of her own. She reportedly had substance abuse issues. She has also been arrested in the past for prostitution and possession of drugs with intent to distribute. On the other hand, she wrote and self-published a book called, Good Night, Sleep Tight: How to Fall Asleep and Go Back to Sleep when You Wake Up,’about a year ago.
According to a short biography for the book, “Driving a school bus and then somehow graduating to a cement mixer certainly gave her character beyond her years and a definite need for a good night’s sleep!”
Just to add alittle more pathos into the already heartbreaking situation
This case, albeit in the beginning, brings in the convergence of various issues that are not unusual in the criminal justice system. However, they are not really understood by many who do not deal with the system every day.
As a result, I will continue the subject matter into tomorrow’s blog as well.
For now, though, let’s deal with the fugitive issue. After all, that is what she was initially charged with, although there are murder charges pending in New Hampshire.
We have discussed Massachusetts arrest and default warrants in the past. Generally, if you do not show up in court when you are supposed to, the judge issues a warrant for your arrest because of your absence. This is a default warrant because your failure to show is considered a “default”. The result of such a warrant is often an increase, or forfeiture, of bail in a Massachusetts bail hearing.
I have handled many cases in which I am contacted by someone who has forgotten to show up in court and, upon realizing that there is a default warrant pending, decide not to go back at all. Usually, they find out that this does not work terribly well when they try to renew their driver’s license or some such thing. Sometimes they learn when they are pulled over by the police for some MA traffic violation and find themselves locked up and dragged back to court.
Some folks are lucky enough to forgo their return to court for years. However, this simply makes it more difficult to clear up when they do decide to make the return trip.
Which, they inevitably will.
A default warrant is one kind of arrest warrant. It would seem that, in this case, the Defendant did not default. She simply left town before the charges were brought to court. When the charges were brought to court, and it was determined that she was not around, the court issued the arrest warrant. The warrant, like a default warrant, authorizes law enforcement to pick her up and bring her to court.
Because she was picked up in Massachusetts, she will be held until the New Hampshire authorities come and pick her up…which may have already happened as of this writing.
Tomorrow we will deal with the homicide issues of this sad story. In the meantime, if you have an arrest warrant of some kind pending against you, your best bet is to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The lawyer may well be able to ease your return to court and maybe even do it so that your bail conditions do not change.
Waiting for law enforcement to pick you up and drag you in will further inform the court that you are a flight risk and could well mean that you are not released until the conclusion of your criminal matter.
If you would like to discuss a criminal matter with me, whether or not it includes an outstanding Massachusetts warrant, please feel free to call me at 617-492-3000 to arrange a free initial consultation..
To view the article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/maine/articles/2011/05/19/texas_mother_charged_in_suffocation_death_of_son_6/?page=full