Michael Pupura (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is 36-years-old and from Westwood. He is also learning an important lesson in criminal justice reality. If the allegations against him are true, he is learning that the system does not forgive violent criminal acts just because the accused is polite or tried to mitigate psychological damage on the victim.

The Defendant was arraigned Monday in Roxbury Municipal Court. He currently faces two counts of aggravated rape.

He has pleaded “not guilty”.

According to the Commonwealth, the Defendant followed the woman out of a Boston supermarket, forced his way into her apartment and, therein, raped her twice. He is then said to have apologized and explained to the woman that his actions were not a “reflection on her” and that it was not her fault.

According to the Boston Herald , the Defendant faces other, somewhat similar, criminal charges elsewhere in Massachusetts. Apparently, he faces an attempted kidnapping charge in Winchester where police say that he tried to abduct a 10-year-old on Saturday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the Defendant remains an involuntary guest of the Commonwealth, held without bail pending a hearing tomorrow.

The Defendant’s lawyer has told the press that the client looks forward to rebutting the allegations.

Yes…should be fun…if not particularly helpful to said client’s case(s).

    Attorney Sam’s Take On The Upcoming “Dangerousness Hearing”

There are a couple of ways for the defense to look at tomorrow’s hearing, which is probably a “Dangerousness Hearing”.

On one hand, it might be a chance to get some “free discovery” from the Commonwealth in terms of its direct testimony about the present case and, perhaps, even the already-pending kidnapping case. Whether or not this will happen will depend a great deal on the skill level of defense counsel.

Prosecutors, like most attorneys, like to play things close to the vest. Therefore, the Commonwealth will likely seek to introduce evidence which has already been handed over to the defense in terms of police reports and the like.

Aside from gathering unrevealed information from the Commonwealth, the defense should try to marry prosecution witnesses to their testimony so that, should the matters get to trial, the defense can use the prior testimony to cross-examine those witnesses.

Again, while the defense should try to further the above two strategies, the prosecution will try to prevent the tactic.

While I tend to question defense counsel’s statement of “looking forward” to the hearing, it is the only game in town to get out of custody.

“But, Sam, the Defendant has not been convicted of anything yet. How can he be held without bail? After all, as serious as these charges are, this is not a Murder case.”

No it is not. However, but under current Massachusetts law, the Commonwealth may seek to have a defendant held without bail should the court find it is necessary to do so in order to protect the community.

The way the Commonwealth does that is to show items in a defendant’s past together with present circumstances, otherwise known as allegations, to show that that defendant is a threat.

This is different from the usual bail arguments. Bail is to ensure a defendant’s return to court to answer the charges. This type of hearing is to ensure that the defendant, if a threat, is kept in custody or otherwise kept away from posing such a threat.

The law is that, if there is a way other than holding a defendant in custody, to keep the streets safe, then the court must opt for that option.

You might be surprised, given the damage a bit of bad press can do when a defendant gets out and commits another crime, how little a judge often needs to hold someone behind bars.

“But isn’t that counter to the presumption of innocence? After all, the Defendant is currently presumed to be innocent at this time…in both cases.”

Yes, well, this is why I often tell you that, although we say that we honor a “presumption of innocence”, our system tends to engage in an “assumption of guilt”…at least until trial. The Defendant here is presumed to be innocent in both cases. However, the fact that he has been so accused will be used as evidence that he is a danger to the community.

Let’s go one step further. If, indeed, the Defendant was out on bail in the kidnapping case when arrested in the rape case, he can be held without bail for months simply because of said arrest. You see, it was a violation of his bail conditions (in one case in which he remains presumed innocent) to get charged in another case (in which he remains presumed innocent).

Simple as that!

Does your head hurt like mine does?

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