Ok, it would seem we have the figurative elephant in the room here.
Last week, I referred to the media coverage of a new case of mine that has videos all over the internet. Some of that publicity has brought me various questions from media and responses in the form of hate mail based upon the coverage. Generally, I do not discuss matters in which I am involved in this blog. However, given that my client is interested in making the record a bit clearer than it thus far has been made, I will do so…a little… here.
In case it has not become clear yet, I represent Mr. Daniel Snay who has been arraigned on various charges of alleged sexual assault in Uxbridge.
Mr. Snay’s past is probably the primary reason for most of the media interest in this case.
Over twenty years ago, Mr. Snay had his last sexual assault conviction. He has had a few. Regardless of how the convictions came to be…it is indisputable that the convictions exist. Since then, he has been a Level 3 Sex Offender. That, too, is not disputed.
In 2008, well after having paid his debt to society, Mr. Snay won the prize of $10 million in the lottery. Again, not disputable. In fact, you might remember the outcry when that took place. I know that the complainant and his family in this case do.
So, this is where we start.
Now, the 62-year-old Mr. Snay stands accused again and he has pleaded “not guilty”. As you may recall, the law views him as innocent unless and until he is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It’s in that United States Constitution thing upon which our system is based. This has not happened yet, except to the satisfaction of criminal injustice vultures like Nancy Grace who make a career out of bastardizing the system and ruining lives.
Ms. Grace, the clown who personifies the adage “a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing”, aside, there is a tendency on the part of other media outlets to report allegations as if they are immediately and intrinsically true. They simply do not do it with the blood-curdling venom dripping from their jaws that Ms. Grace does.
I know that many like to joke about the word “alleged”, but the fact is that it is the cornerstone of our system. You will understand that the day that you or a loved one is accused of a crime.
But I digress.
Mr. Snay has now been accused of sexually assaulting a youth who is 16 years of age. The alleged assaults, according to him, ended two years ago. His stated reason for the delay in reporting the abuse is that he “guesses” his silence was bought by Mr. Snay. In fact, the Commonwealth alleges that Mr. Snay used part of his winnings from the lottery to “buy” said silence which, I guess, they will claim, the complainant willingly accepted.
Given that the Commonwealth has seen fit to, on the day of arraignment, hand out the police report of allegations (The same time the defense was given a copy, by the way) like a party gift, perhaps a few words from the other side is in order.
Despite my arguments in court and my answering of questions posed to me by the press after the arraignment, some outlets remain unsatisfied. They complain that “Snay’s lawyer did not immediately return a telephone message.”
It’s true. I had legal work to do for clients.
But I am here now.
Attorney Sam’s Take On Feeding Frenzies In High Profile Cases
Of course, I cannot divulge every detail of this case in this blog. Like the Commonwealth, my case should be presented in the court of law, not public opinion. However, let me ask you a question. We have discussed many times that people are sometimes accused of crimes that they did not commit. In fact, there have been several times that complainants in sex cases actually recant their initial allegations. So, we know that, sometimes, criminal allegations are untrue.
We have also discussed the fact that, sometimes, untrue allegations are made for a variety of reasons. These motivations can include revenge, anger or even greed. In fact, I recently successfully finished a sexual assault trial during which the complainants suddenly brought forth a civil law suit for one million dollars. There is not a doubt in my mind that the complainants in that case were motivated by something other than the truth.
Here, it is undeniable that Mr. Snay is a wonderfully easy target for these types of allegations. He has a bad prior record and is a Level 3 Sex Offender. Further, folks in general do not like the fact that such a guy won the lottery. Finally, if he could be convicted of victimizing the complainant in this case, he is someone with “deep pockets” for a subsequent civil lawsuit. In fact, I would not be surprised if the complainant and his mom brought the lawsuit sooner rather than later.
“Well, Sam, is there any reason to assume that the complainant would be looking to Mr. Snay for financial reward?”
Without going too much into it, the answer is “yes”. As the Commonwealth itself has pointed out, there is a history of Mr. Snay helping the complainant’s family. However, here is something the Commonwealth has not told you. Prior to the allegations being made, Mr. Snay brought eviction proceedings against the complainant’s mother.
That’s right…before the allegations.
Hmmm, so you have, by the complainant’s own admission, two years during which time he felt his silence was “bought”. Then, suddenly, eviction proceedings and, suddenly, criminal allegations which are bound to be taken seriously because, if nothing else, Mr. Snay has a prior record for the same crimes.
“What makes you think that knowledge of the lottery winnings has even entered into the prosecution of this case?”
At arraignment, the prosecutor and judge themselves told you that. Because of the perceived 10 million dollar winnings, bail was set at 5 million dollars…despite the fact that Mr. Snay has not received close to that amount since the money is paid out over time.
Even the lottery winnings aside, there is an entire backstory here which will fill itself in when the matter comes to trial. The police report which the Commonwealth has released is obviously one side of this matter. As time goes by, you will hear more about the other side.
Contrary to what media reports are saying at this point, I have not yet indicated what I believe is behind all this. The truth in this case is for the jury to decide. Not me. Not you. Not law-and-order publicity vampires like Nancy Grace.
On the other hand, perhaps, like her, you feel that it really doesn’t matter. Mr. Snay has prior convictions for similar crimes and should never have won the lottery as far as you are concerned. Maybe you feel he should be thrown in prison for the rest of his life regardless of innocence or guilt in this case.
In that case, all I can say to you and to her is…shame on you.
The basis of our entire way of life tells you to keep an open mind until the matter is submitted to a jury.
That is all we ask.
Despite the publicity sought and gained by the Commonwealth.
To read the original stories upon which this blog is partially based, please go to http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/2014/03/17/uxbridge-sex-offender-facing-new-charges/HDcBEuQlvvzO3s8j2CUERO/story.html and http://www.hlntv.com/video/2014/03/17/daniel-snay-pedophile-lottery-winner-10-million-child-sex