Two Roxbury teenagers, their friends, supporters and detractors appeared in Roxbury District Court yesterday. The event at issue was the MBTA bus debacle from earlier in the week. I would say it was one in a few MBTA recent debacles, but I suppose that would be unkind.
Felix Garcia, 18, and Michael Baptista, 19, (collectively, the “Defendants”) were arraigned on charges of interfering with a bus driver and assault and battery on a public employee. Bottom line? A case for experienced Boston assault and battery attorneys.
You have probably already heard the allegations put forth by the Commonwealth. The bus driver claims that he merely asked the teens to put out their cigarettes and they refused, instead opting for another option, namely, attacking the driver, perhaps verbally. However, words ended up changing to fists before the event was over and, finally, it ended when the bus smashed into the wall of a building.
By the time the arraignment was completed, one of the Defendants was released on his own recognizance and the other was held because he had pending charges for which he had been out on bail. As we have discussed, getting charged with a new crime while out on bail, or on one’s own recognizance, is considered a Massachusetts bail violation and can result in being held without bail for up to 60 days..regardless of the bail set for the new case.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Boston Criminal Investigations Of Assault And Battery
Up until yesterday, after the arraignment, all we heard was that these unruly kids attacked the driver after the poor man simply asked them to stop smoking.
At the arraignment, we found out that there are actually witnesses who describe a much different picture…one that makes the driver the actual aggressor.
Which is true? Well, of course, we do not know, at least, at the moment. But then again, why was it that we, per usual, only heard on side of the story before the bail arguments? Especially when we like to tout that the accused are innocent until proven guilty?
It brings up the questions that we have been discussing so often regarding police investigations. The problem, I submit (lawyerspeak) , is that a decision as to what transpired is arrived at quite quickly by the investigating officers and that conclusion becomes sacrosanct to the Commonwealth.
The press gets the information from the Commonwealth, whether it be via a press conference or released police reports.
And so the “public record” is set long before anything gets to court, when the “bad guys” might be finally heard from. You see, while the Commonwealth has had the intervening time to gather its alleged facts, the “perpetrators” have often spent said time behind bars. Able to gather, prepare or even to describe their view of events to anyone.
They do get the chance finally, though.
That comes minutes before they are brought out before the judge. It boils down to a short interview with an attorney they have never seen before at that time.
Fair? You decide. However, it will be on the basis of what comes minutes later that matters like bail conditions are decided.
In this case, there seem to be quite a few supporters who indicate that events did not unfold quite like the Commonwealth alleges. I wonder if those people appear in the police report? We certainly did not hear much about them before the arraignment.
Too often, police reports are completely one-sided. Information hat is supportive to the Commonwealth’s allegations appear. Nasty information contesting their position is swatted away like an annoying fly. After all, such information could not possibly be reliable.
And so, how the case begins is important. Once placed into the situation, you can sit back and wait to see what the Commonwealth tells the judge, hoping that the scant information that has successfully gotten to the court appointed attorney in time and praying that said attorney is experienced enough to be able to make the most of it quite quickly.
The other option, and the one I suggest, is to do whatever is possible to choose an experienced criminal defense attorney of your choosing so that you are more prepared for that arraignment, and what comes afterwards, as much as possible. Yes, this may mean asking for either financial help or help from those outside jail house walls while you are inside.
Any such effort, however, is likely to be worth it.
Because if you are sitting back with faith that police reports are fair and the judge and prosecutor has the time to sit back and really concentrate on your version of the facts…you may have a long wait.
If you are in such a fix and would like to consult me, please 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/breaking_news/2011/04/two_teenagers_t.html
In the meantime, have a great, safe and law-abiding weekend!