Recent settlements
  • $1,560,000.00 Motor Vehicle Accident
  • $2,200,000.00 Wrongful Death
  • $1,250,000.00 Motorcycle Accident
Free Consultation No fee unless succesful we will travel to you

Articles Posted in Criminal Defense

Among the most important protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution is the freedom from unlawful searches and seizures. Of course, the concept of what is, or is not, an unreasonable search or seizure is subject to much interpretation.

In a Cape Cod operating under the influence (or “OUI”) case, the question of whether a search and seizure was legal often hinges on whether the arresting officer acted in accordance with the law in stopping the defendant – in other words, did he or she have probable cause for the stop?

If a reviewing court determines that the officer did not have reasonable suspicion of criminal activity prior to stopping the defendant, it is likely that any evidence obtained during the stop (and any search and seizure executed in accordance therewith) will be deemed inadmissible at trial.

Continue reading

There are many instances in which life can change in a split second – a car accident, an injury at work, or, perhaps most unsettling of all, being arrested. In any of these events, it is important to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible, but this especially true in the case of being accused of a crime by a police officer. A Cape Cod criminal defense attorney can explain your legal rights and help you defend yourself in court. In the meantime, it is very important that you not speak to police about your case. You do have the right to remain silent, and anything you voluntarily say can be used to convict you later on.

Facts of the Case

The defendant in a recent appellate case was a man whose mother was pulled over allegedly failing to display a valid inspection sticker. As the officer approached the vehicle, he noticed that the defendant – who was a passenger in the right front seat – was not wearing a seat belt. Intending to ticket the defendant for this offense, the officer asked the defendant for his identification. As the defendant was giving the officer his identification, a dark-colored object, which the officer believed could possibly be a weapon, fell between the car seat and the console. After backup arrived, the officer ordered the defendant to step out of the car, arrested him on unrelated but outstanding warrants, and searched the vehicle. A loaded .38 caliber snub-nosed revolver was found.

The defendant was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of a loaded firearm. At trial, the defendant’s mother testified that the gun was hers and that the defendant had no knowledge that it was in the vehicle. Nevertheless, the defendant was convicted on both charges. He appealed, alleging that the motion judge should have granted his motion to suppress the firearm, the evidence was insufficient to prove that the defendant was aware that the firearm in question was loaded, the prosecutor made comments in his closing argument that created a substantial risk of a miscarriage of justice, and the trial judge did not instruct the jury that the Commonwealth was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knew the firearm was loaded.

Continue reading

If you are facing prosecution for an alleged criminal act in Cape Cod or elsewhere in Massachusetts, it is important that you know and understand your constitutional rights.  A skillful legal advocate can review the facts and ultimately have a profound impact on your Cape Cod criminal defense case.

One of the rights that is generally afforded under the United States Constitution is the right not to be put on trial a second time for the same criminal offense. Of course, there are some conditions that come with the Double Jeopardy Clause, some of which are long-standing and some of which are still being litigated today.

The United States Supreme Court recently weighed in on a case in which a defendant urged that the clause prevented him from being convicted in both state and federal court for the same basic offense.

Continue reading

One of the most fundamental rights of the defendant in a criminal case is the right to a trial by jury. A seasoned Cape Cod criminal defense attorney can help make sure that this and other important rights are protected. This is very important because a biased, prejudiced, or tainted juror can wreak havoc on what is supposed to be a determination by a “fair and impartial” jury of the defendant’s peers. A knowledgeable defense lawyer can also make sure that the defendant’s other constitutional and legal rights were not violated during the arrest process and, if necessary, file a motion in limine to exclude potentially inadmissible evidence.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the defendant was a man who was accused of several crimes relating to the illegal possession and improper storage of firearms and ammunition. When the matter was tried to a jury, one of the jurors was excused during deliberations because she told a court officer that she could not continue to deliberate because she was upset by other jurors being “argumentative.” The juror also mentioned that she was emotional due to health issues being suffered by some members of her family. The trial judge opted to replace the juror with an alternate, and the deliberations continued. After the defendant was found guilty, he appealed. The intermediate court of appeals affirmed the defendant’s conviction. He sought further review from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Decision of the Court

The supreme court vacated the judgments entered against the defendant, concluding that the juror had been discharged for reasons that were “not purely personal” and that, thus, her dismissal was prejudicial error. The court went on to conclude that, because there was sufficient evidence for the trial court to deny the defendant’s motion for a required finding of not guilty, the appropriate thing to do was to remand the case for further proceedings.
Continue reading

As technology evolves, so does Massachusetts criminal law. Just as those who intentionally engage in criminal activity often rely on technology such as cell phones to conduct their business, police officers and others in law enforcement increasingly rely on information obtained through technology that, just a decade or two ago, may not have even existed.

When an arrest is made based on information obtained through the use of a technological device, the courts must consider whether police acted lawfully in light of the 4th Amendment prohibition against unlawful searches and seizures, as well as other relevant legal principles.

Facts of the Case

In an appellate case arising from a decision of the Supreme Judicial Court for the County of Suffolk, the defendant was a man who was indicted on a charge of trafficking cocaine in violation of Massachusetts General Laws ch. 94C, § 32E(b) after police found cocaine and cash in a crawlspace located inside his residence. This evidence was found during a warrantless search, to which the defendant consented after police obtained his location through use of the defendant’s cell site location information. The defendant filed a motion to suppress the cocaine and cash on the grounds that they had been the fruit of an illegal search and seizure.

Continue reading

Under the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution, police officers are required to obtain a warrant in order to execute a search and seizure of a criminal defendant’s home in most situations. Whether or not an exception exists to this general rule is a frequent issue in a Massachusetts criminal case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, police entered a building that contained four apartments. They did not have a warrant but were acting on information supplied by a 9-1-1 caller to the effect that she had seen some men go into the building with a gun. There had been several home invasions in town, although the record did not specify whether those events were in the same neighborhood. While they were conducting “protective sweep” of the building, police officers observed what appeared to be illegal narcotics. After the suspects were arrested in a different part of the building, officers obtained a search warrant for the apartment unit in which the drugs were seen, and the resident thereof was indicted.

In addition to the effective assistance of counsel from a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, a person who is criminally accused also has the right to a fair and impartial jury in a criminal proceeding. This sounds like an easy enough proposition, but there can be many issues that go into the determination of exactly what constitutes “fair” and “impartial” jurors in a given case.

Facts of the Case

In a recent criminal case considered on direct review by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the defendant was charged with possession of an illegal substance with intent to distribute. During voir dire, a prospective juror stated that she believed that “the system is rigged” against individuals of the defendant’s general age, gender, and race. That juror was excused for cause by the trial court judge, and the case was tried to a jury that did not include that particular juror.

After being convicted, the defendant sought appellate review of his case, arguing that the trial court judge had abused his discretion in dismissing the prospective juror who had expressed her opinion about the legal system being “rigged.” The supreme judicial court granted an application for direct appellate review.

Continue reading

With ever-increasing technological advances, it is quite possible for someone to be accused of a crime which did not exist just a few years ago. As any Cape Cod criminal defense attorney can confirm, it is also true that there many new ways for “old” crimes to be committed.

For example, the crime of criminal harassment (sometimes referred to as “stalking”) is not necessarily a new offense, but, with modern technology, there are now many more ways in which someone might find themselves accused of violating the law with respect to this crime.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the defendant was charged with two counts of criminal harassment in violation of Massachusetts General Laws ch. 265, § 43A due to his alleged use of global positioning system (GPS) devices to track the movements of two particular individuals. The defendant and the victims had never met in person, but the defendant had allegedly placed GPS devices on the underside of each of their victims’ vehicles, allowing him to track their movements. Although the defendant’s motivation was not completely known, he claimed that his actions were in light with him “guarding the hen house.”

Continue reading

In a Massachusetts criminal case, it is not unusual for a defendant to be ordered to pay restitution to the victim of his or her crime. If the defendant is placed on probation, timely payment of restitution may be a condition of the defendant not being incarcerated.

If the defendant does not abide by the terms of his or her probation, the trial court may revoke the defendant’s status as a probationer and order that he or she be placed in prison or county jail.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently under consideration by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Appeals Court, the defendant was a woman who had been convicted on criminal charges (larceny and identity fraud) in 2008. She was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to pay $28,200 in restitution, at rate of at least $100 per month. The defendant’s probation was extended several times, and her monthly restitution obligation was adjusted both upwards and downwards at various times. In February 2017, the defendant was still on probation and still owed over $14,000 in restitution.

Continue reading

In a Cape Cod criminal case, the Commonwealth has the burden of proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If police acted illegally during the arrest or investigation of the case, it may be possible to have certain evidence excluded at trial.

Even if a defendant is convicted, a case may be reviewed on appeal. It is not unheard of for an appellate court to disagree with a trial court as to whether the evidence introduced at trial was sufficient to support the defendant’s conviction.

Facts of the Case

In a case recently reviewed by the Massachusetts Appeals Court, a criminal defendant was convicted of several crimes involving the unlawful possession of a firearm. He sought reversal of his conviction on appeal, arguing, among other things, that police had violated the Fourth Amendment by conducting an illegal search and seizure and that there was insufficient evidence to support certain aspects of his conviction.

Continue reading