Boston police force bystander to the ground and put him in handcuffs and break his cell phone for videotaping an arrest they were making

October 21, 2014,

On Wednesday, October 15 Max Bickford was riding a moped in downtown Boston when all of the sudden a plainclothes police officer chased a suspect into the street in front of him. The suspect was arrested stopping traffic. Bickford took out his cell phone and began to videotape the arrest. The officer told him to move out of the way which he did. In the video the officer is then seen grabbing Beckford's phone and this is where the video ends. Bickford states that the officer then threw the phone on the ground breaking the face of it. He was placed in handcuffs and thrown to the ground himself. He was eventually released and given back his broken cell phone.

Bickford called the police station to lodge a complaint and was told by the
lieutenant that the officer believed there may have been evidence on the cell
phone. It is not illegal to videotape an arrest made in public. The police need
a search warrant to seize and look into phones content.

The Boston police, as well as all police departments all over the country, need to
start to get used to the idea that they can and will be videotaped in the
performance of their duties in public. Large cities such as London have video cameras set up throughout the whole city which allows for surveillance from a main headquarters to provide Public Safety and evidence. It is about time that the police begin to use video surveillance to their own advantage. Many crimes have no witnesses but yet can't be solved through surveillance video of a public area.

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Client found not guilty of possession of a firearm in Boston Municipal Court

October 15, 2014,

Boston Municipal Court client is charged with possession with intent to distribute
marijuana
and possession of a firearm without a license. The possession of a
firearm without a license charge carries a mandatory minimum 18 months House of
corrections sentence.

Facts of the case are that client goes to a friend's home with a backpack with a
couple small bags of marijuana in the backpack as well as a weight scale. While
the client is charging his phone in the upstairs bedroom of his friends home two
cousins of his friend come running back into the home stating that the police
are on their way.

One of them stated that the gun jammed on him. Police arrive on the scene,
the client in fear that he will be caught with his backpack with the
marijuana and scale shuts the door to the home. All others are outside of the
house at this point. The police draw their attention to the home and eventually
are allowed in and search, Clients backpack is found in the upstairs bedroom
along with his phone charging, a gun is found under the mattress.

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University Students arrive back in Boston and need to be careful

September 4, 2014,

A Northeastern University student reported an attack in the early morning of
Thursday while walking on Huntington Avenue. Northeastern police report that
the student was grabbed by her neck and the assailant attempt to drag her down
an alley on the 500 block of Huntington Avenue near the Wentworth Institute of
technology. The young student began to scream which drew the attention of nearby security officers which caused the assailant to run from the scene. The suspect is described as a black male in his 20s 6'2" approximately 180 pounds.

As a criminal lawyer in Boston it is this time of year when university students
return to the city that there is an uptick in assaults and sexual assault type
crimes. Any students who are new to the area should be extra cautious especially late at night. Many areas of the city can be dangerous it is important to
become familiar with your surroundings and your new neighborhood before
venturing out alone late at night.

Having defended many accused of both assault and sexual assaults it is common for them to prey on people who walk alone or who are distracted by looking at their phones.

Continue reading "University Students arrive back in Boston and need to be careful " »

Not guilty verdict on two charges of possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine

August 6, 2014,

Client was charged in Boston municipal court with two counts of possession with
intent to distribute heroin and cocaine
.

Narcotic detectives testified that after seeing a person come and go from the
clients apartment in a short time frame that they then knock on the client's
door to investigate based on a suspicion drug dealing was taking place. The
detectives allege client allowed them to search his apartment. Narcotics
officers discover crack floating in the toilet, the bathroom window open and a
cell phone sitting on the ledge. They then discover a second suspect outside the
apartment who was arrested for possession of drugs. In the clients bedroom they
allege that they find a scale baggies and a packet of heroin. Client is charged
with possession with intent to distribute heroin and cocaine.

Client testifies at trial and states that he never gave permission for the
police to search his apartment and that he had no knowledge of any drugs in his
apartment.

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A proposed reduction in sentences of federal drug offenses is slated to apply retroactively to 46,000 non-violent drug offenders currently incarcerated

July 19, 2014,

The federal sentencing commission is recommending the reduction in drug
sentences
be applied retroactively to 46,000 prisoners currently incarcerated.
The sentencing commission has recently recommended that a two level reduction in
the guideline level be applied to all drug offenses.

The reduction is based on attempting to minimize the amount of nonviolent drug
offenders who are incarcerated in the federal system. The strict and harsh sentencing in federal drug cases has led to a serious overpopulation of federal prisons which has placed the majority of these prisons at overcapacity and cost the taxpayer vasts amounts of money to attempt to keep
up with the ever-increasing prison population.

Nonviolent drug offenders have faced extreme mandatory minimum sentences and
very high guideline levels; the sentencing commission is attempting to curb this
trend. Eric Holder the Attorney General has also recommended to his offices that
they avoid charging extreme mandatory minimums which do not allow judges to
exercise discretion against nonviolent drug offenders.

Continue reading "A proposed reduction in sentences of federal drug offenses is slated to apply retroactively to 46,000 non-violent drug offenders currently incarcerated" »

The charge of Accosting a person of the opposite sex in Massachusetts

July 12, 2014,

The charge of accosting a person of the opposite sex requires an act or statement to be made which is disorderly and offensive to a reasonable person and the appellate courts have interpreted this charge to require the offense to be of a sexual nature.

As a criminal defense lawyer based in Boston serving all of Massachusetts Attorney Frank Fernandez represents clients charged with accosting a person of the opposite sex. For a free consultation please feel free to call 617-393-0250.

The Massachusetts Model Jury Instruction for this charge is below:

Continue reading "The charge of Accosting a person of the opposite sex in Massachusetts" »

Boston Police Officer arrested over weekend for unauthorized use of police cruiser

July 7, 2014,

A Boston police officer who has been on administrative leave since
September 2013 was arrested after taking a police cruiser he was not authorized
to use. The police cruiser was taken from Dist. C 11 in Dorchester, it appears he
drove to Revere and was involved in a domestic incident that the Revere police are
now investigating.

Donovan was arrested after the police car was found in Dorchester near his residence
on Friday night. He's been an officer since 2002 and has criminal charges
pending related to larceny and now unauthorized use of a motor vehicle charges
as well.

Every police department has an internal affairs division which investigate any
complaints or suspicions of illegal activity from police in that department. Any
allegations of police abuse or criminal activity will be investigated by the
internal affairs division. Officers can suffer anything from suspension and
firing to other disciplinary type proceedings which are then put in their
personnel file.

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Truck Driver is not indicted by Grand Jury in Suffolk for accident in which bicyclist was killed

June 30, 2014,

A Suffolk County Grand Jury decided not to indict a truck driver, Ricky Prezioso, 41,
who was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident that caused the
death of a bicyclist. The accident occurred in Charlestown on Cambridge
Street where a bicyclist traveling in the bike lane was struck by the back of a
trash truck at a corner while the truck was taking a turn. The truck driver
claims not to have seen the biker and claims that he thought the impact was a
pothole that he must have run over.

Although initially charged by the police and the prosecutor in Charlestown district court, for a case to be indicted, which then allows the case to go to Superior Court, it either must be true billed by a grand jury or through a probable cause hearing in court in which a judge finds probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed.

Probable cause hearings are very rare in Massachusetts, the prosecutors do not wish to present testimony and face cross-examination in such an early stage in their case. Most cases that are brought to Superior Court go the route of being indicted by grand jury; the grand jurys across the state are notoriously delayed and take a long time for cases to be
processed. A backlog exists because this is the only manner in which the
District Attorney's Office takes cases to Superior Court.

Continue reading "Truck Driver is not indicted by Grand Jury in Suffolk for accident in which bicyclist was killed" »

Chelsea Man is arraigned in Chelsea District Court for seriously beating woman with a pipe leaving her in critical condition

June 17, 2014,

It is alleged that he ran into the woman early in the morning on his way home, she offered sex, they returned to his apartment, after having sex he noticed his computer was missing. He grabbed her bag and found that his computer was inside. At this point he grabbed a metal pipe and began to beat her about the head and body, he carried her outside and left her on the street. He's charged with armed assault with intent to murder and aggravated assault and battery causing serious bodily injury.

Police say that he did admitted hitting the woman in the head with a pipe after confronting her about the computer. His defense attorney mentioned that he was under the influence of alcohol at the time. There is no mention of sex for a fee so it appears that they agreed consensually to go home with each other. It is when he noticed the laptop missing that he appears to have become violent. Her body was discovered around 4:30am today after neighbors heard her screaming for help on the street.

The Judge set bail at $100,000. The man has no prior record but since the beating was so severe he is charged with the intent to murder and was given a high bail.

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20-year-old New Hampshire woman arrested at Tewksbury library for offering sex for a fee.

June 13, 2014,

The police received a tip that a woman was soliciting men for sex for a fee at the
Tewksbury library. An undercover detective responded and quickly was engaged by
a woman exchanging notes offering sexual favors for $60. She was arrested for
prostitution and it is learned she had outstanding charges for drug possession.

The city of Boston through Mayor Walsh has recently announced a new tactic for
combating sex trafficking by targeting the John's when it comes to prostitution.
Usually it is the prostitute who is arrested and charged with a crime when it
comes to prostitution. This new tactic will offer more support and services to
prostitutes to help them get off the streets.

Continue reading "20-year-old New Hampshire woman arrested at Tewksbury library for offering sex for a fee." »

Eight arrested and charged federally in heroin drug trafficking ring

June 11, 2014,

The death of the confidential informant from an overdose lead to Braintree detectives accessing his cell phone and text messages.

That information led to a source who cooperated with the police and after an investigation including surveillance they were able to arrest eight of the suspected distributors.

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Man wrongly accused of sexual assault in Boston Municipal Court demands an apology

April 10, 2014,

Ross Currier, 26, an accountant was seen in the North end of Boston playing basketball by a woman who had been recently sexually assaulted. She told police that she was 90 to 95% sure that he was the man who assaulted her. Currier was arrested and charged with sexual assault, he was released on bail and forced to wear a GPS bracelet on his leg this past month.

It was only after his alibi checked out through independent witnesses that the prosecutor agreed that they had arrested the wrong man. The case was dismissed in Boston Municipal Court and Currier made a statement to the press requesting someone take responsibility for what happened and apologize.

This incident is a strong reminder of how eye witnesses and victims can misidentify a suspect very easily. What happens in a traumatic moment can be remembered far differently than what actually occurred. Our brains process and remember sensory input differently and memory accuracy is affected by stress and anxiety.

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9 Alarm fire in Back Bay brownstone in Boston claims two firefighter's lives

March 28, 2014,

Lieut. Edward Walsh and firefighter Michael Kennedy were killed battling a large fire which started in the basement of a brownstone and spread quickly to the upper levels of the building.

The fire is still being investigated and cause at this time remains unknown. A large explosion occurred as the fire grew and high winds accelerated the spread of fire.

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Lieutenant of the Ludlow Police Department is charged with stealing drugs out of the evidence locker

March 12, 2014,

Lt. Thomas Foye was recently indicted related to charges that he took drugs from narcotics locker at the police station.

He is charged with tampering with evidence, theft of drugs from a dispensary as well as cocaine possession.

Police department's manner of logging in and warehousing evidence has long been criticized as overdue for better procedures to ensure chain of custody and security of the evidence.

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Victor Gerena, 35, died today while cleaning a large machine in a New Bedford seafood plant

January 17, 2014,

Early this morning while cleaning a large shucking machine, Mr. Gerena became entangled in a rotary turbine engine. The fire department had to partially dismantle the machine to free Mr. Gerena, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation has been opened by the occupational safety and health administration (OSHA); investigators interviewed witnesses and gathered information this morning. The investigation is expected to take several weeks.

Continue reading "Victor Gerena, 35, died today while cleaning a large machine in a New Bedford seafood plant " »