Consider the following hypothetical scenario: A jealous man comes home from a business trip early and finds his wife in bed with someone else. Gripped by betrayal and rage, the jealous man attacks the other man, beating him severely. The jealous husband does considerably more harm to the other man than is reasonable in this situation. The wife, in a panic, calls the police. Once the police arrive, the jealous husband is arrested, the other man is hospitalized, and the wife is left shaken and scared. Continue reading
The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that police in Haverhill are seeking the help of the public in identifying two suspects who allegedly robbed an unarmed pedestrian at gunpoint. The victim, a 34-year-old man, was robbed of $80 dollars in cash, his credit cards and some other personal papers shortly after 5:00pm on a Monday while walking along Chick Avenue in the Mount Washington area. One of the suspects is described as a young adult, with a distinctive teardrop tattoo under his left eye, while the other suspect, the one who held the gun, is described as having a reddish-brown beard. Both men are over six feet tall. Police are asking that anyone with information about the suspects or the robbery to contact them immediately. Continue reading
The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that a local couple has been charged with a laundry list of charges as the result of an altercation following a local couples dinner at a Danvers restaurant. According to reports, Matthew and Joanna Kotowski left an area dining establishment and headed home when a motorist drove up behind the pair and sandwiched himself between the couple. Matthew, upset by the driving of the motorist, followed the car. Apparently the driver approached Kotowski’s car and began yelling at him. At this point the accounts of what happened vary. The unruly motorist claims that Kotowski pointed a loaded firearm at him; Kotowski claims that he was acting in self-defense and pulled the gun out and put it on his lap to calm the motorist down. Eventually, the police arrested Kotowski at his home and charged him with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and two counts of improper storage of a handgun. The police searched Kotowski’s home and recovered a shotgun and two handguns in the home. Mrs. Kotowski was apparently so upset that the motorist was not charged that she returned to his establishment and will be summonsed to Court for hearings relative to the charges of being a disorderly person and assault and battery. Mr. Kotowski was arraigned in the Newburyport District Court and released on $5,000.00 cash bail. He is scheduled to be back in court on January 4, 2012 for a pre-trial conference.
Although all of the facts are not known at this time, there are a number of defenses to be considered based on this fact pattern. At the outset, an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney should engage the services of an investigator to return to the scene and determine whether there are witnesses that support the defendant’s claim of self-defense. In most circumstances, any investigation should be done sooner rather than later so that the memory of a witness is fresh and clear. Interviewing potential witnesses promptly can be the difference between mounting a successful or an unsuccessful defense.
The Lawrence Eagle Tribune has reported that Lawrence Police Officer William Green shot a man who is accused of beating another male with a baseball bat in a Lawrence alley. The Tribune reports that while Green was doing a paid detail at the Club Copa he became alerted to a disturbance in a nearby alley. Upon investigation, Green observed a male beating another male with a baseball bat. According to the report of District Attorney Blodgett’s office, Officer Green gave reported verbal commands for the assailant to stop. The bat yielding assailant, later identified as Jose Concepcion of Lawrence, apparently failed to stop and Green shot him twice. This put an end to the beating and both participants landed in the hospital. Concepcion was taken to Lawrence General Hospital and the other male was taken to a Boston Hospital. According to a press release from Blodgett’s office, per department policy, Green has been placed on paid administrative leave. The Massachusetts State Police and The Essex County District Attorney’s Office is continuing to investigate the incident.
The facts of this case raise some very interesting and often litigated legal issues. A defense that is often asserted, when identification of a perpetrator is not an issue, is self-defense or defense of another. Although all of the facts of this case are clearly not available at this time, this may or may not be a viable defense. It is always the burden on the Commonwealth to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Once a defendant asserts a claim of self-defense or defense of another the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense. In Massachusetts an individual has an obligation to retreat if possible and can only use as much force as reasonable to defend oneself. Generally speaking, a gun or knife would be considered excessive force if an individual was fighting an unarmed person. However, every case is fact specific. Critical factors to be considered if you believe that this type of defense may apply to your case are whether a defendant was out numbered, what type of weapon was used (if any) and the size of the parties involved.
Based on the facts of this case it appears that the individual that used the bat on the male in the alley can be charged with a number of offenses ranging from assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon to assault with intent to murder (armed). In the event that the person is charged with just assault and battery and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon the case may remain in the District Court. The advantage of this is that a District Court Judge can only sentence up to two and one half years in the house of correction. However, if the case is indicted and the case is in Superior Court he will face the possibility of a state prison sentence. The maximum sentence for armed assault with a dangerous weapon is twenty years. The decision of what Court that this case will be litigated in will probably be made after a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the attack and the background of the involved parties. Based on my experience, I would expect that the Essex County District Attorney’s Office will present the case to a Grand Jury and indictments will be returned against the individual that struck the male with the bat.
A twenty-eight year old Salem Massachusetts man, Michael Marino, will spend the next six years behind bars after pleading guilty to stabbing his mother’s former boyfriend seven times. According to The Salem News, Paul Goodwin told the Superior Court Judge that this situation was the most “horrifying thing in [his] life.” Goodwin wanted Marino to be sentenced to the maximum of thirty-five years, twenty years for the count of assault with intent to murder and fifteen years for count of assault and battery causing serious bodily injury. The prosecutor described the incident as a “brutal attack” and requested that the defendant be sentenced to a seven to ten year sentence. Superior Court Judge David Lowy imposed a six year sentence followed by a probation term when Marino is released from prison. Marino was ordered to participate in drug and alcohol counseling and attend an anger management class during his probationary period.
According to reports, the victim explained to the Judge that the defendant sliced his throat and then opened up his belly “like a fish.” Apparently, Goodwin, [who had previously received a restraining order against his former girlfriend and mother of the defendant, Brault] went to Brault’s mother’s house after she had been kicked out. As Goodwin and Brault were speaking, Brault received a phone call from her son, Marino who appeared at the scene. An altercation ensued that left Goodwin with lacerations to his liver, lung and diaphragm and fighting for his life. Defense counsel explained that his client did not land the first blow and was not sure what to expect when he arrived at the scene. Counsel further explained that Marino was under the influence of Klonepin and alcohol. The struggle landed Marino in jail and Goodwin in the hospital.
In many cases where a defendant is charged with a violent crime there are a number of defenses to pursue. Obviously, the type of defense that is mounted depends on the facts of the case. For example, if a defendant was not identified at the scene and the accuser and the defendant are unknown to one another, a defense of misidentification should be evaluated. That type of defense would not make sense in a case such as this because the parties knew each other.
Although all of the facts of this case are not known, it appears that if the case went to trial a viable defense would be that Marino acted in self-defense. In cases in which a defendant claims self-defense the Commonwealth must prove that beyond a reasonable doubt that an assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon occurred AND must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did NOT act in self-defense. However, in cases of self-defense and individual has the obligation to retreat if possible and can only use as much force as is necessary to defend oneself. Thus, the fact that Marino introduced a knife into the struggle could be problematic to the claim of self-defense. In these types of cases the size of the individuals involved in the altercation can be important as a slighter person may need to use more force to protect himself from a bigger, stronger person.
A thirty-eight year old Haverhill Massachusetts woman, Dorothy Driscoll, will enjoy the summer at MCI Framingham following her conviction for assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and shoplifting as the result of an incident at the Family Dollar Store located in New Hampshire. According to The Lawrence Eagle Tribune, Driscoll threw hot coffee in the face of an assistant store manager after attempting to steal several items from the store. Driscoll apparently admitted splashing the coffee in the employees face when she was confronted shortly after the incident. The Tribune reports that Driscoll punched a store clerk before she left the store leaving the items behind. Neither employee was seriously injured. Driscoll pleaded guilty in the Haverhill District Court and Judge Stephen Abany sentenced her to five months in jail. She received credit for twenty-nine days she served awaiting disposition.
In Massachusetts, the crime of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon is a felony. A felony is any crime where a defendant faces the possibility of serving a state prison sentence upon conviction. However, even though a defendant may face the potential of receiving a state prison sentence, there is often a jail or house of correction alternative. In addition to proving the elements for assault and battery, the Commonwealth must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the crime was committed with a “dangerous weapon” to prove the crime of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. A dangerous weapon includes more than items that would routinely be considered dangerous such as a knife or a gun. A dangerous weapon can be an ordinary item that is used in a dangerous manner. For example, a cigarette that is used to burn a person or a shoe that is used to kick a person would be considered a dangerous weapons in Massachusetts.
Depending on the facts of the case, viable defenses to a charge of assault and battery and/or assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon include misidentification or self-defense or defense of another. In the event that a defendant asserts the defense of self-defense or defense of another, the burden is on the Commonwealth to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of another.
A forty-four year old Haverhill man, Michael Magar, is facing serious felony charges including assault with intent to murder and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon as a result of a confrontation over canolis. The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that Patrick Clohisy was upset when he heard that Magar threw out canolis that he brought for his daughter who lives with Clohisy’s former wife. Magar and Clohisy’s ex-wife are currently dating. During a “dangerousness hearing” in the Haverhill District Court Patrick Clohisy’s ex testified that she discouraged Patrick from coming to the house because he sounded angry and upset. However, he did not heed her advice and a physical confrontation occured between Patrick Clohisy and Michael Magar, Clohisy ended up with a stab wound in his abdomen and Magar ended up behind bars. Judge Stephen Abany set Magar’s bail at $10,000.00 cash.
Although all of the facts of this case are not known, it appears that the defendant may have a viable claim of self-defense. In Massachusetts once a defendant raises a claim of self-defense the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did no act in self-defense. Furthermore, like force can be used to dispel an aggressor. If you have been charged with a crime against a person and believe that you acted in self-defense or in defense of another it is important that you have an experienced Boston attorney on your side to present a successful defense.
A baby shower in Lawrence Massachusetts became violent when two people were stabbed during the event. Police responded during the late evening to the aftermath of a mele that began when a bottle struck a woman and her husband pulled out a knife. According to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune the victim’s injuries were not life threatening.
One man is charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and another is charged with disorderly person, resisting arrest and assault and battery. Although all of the facts are not known at this time, it appears that a reasonable defense may be self-defense or defense of another. The most serious of the charges is the assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon charge which is a felony. A felony is a case in which a possible sentence is a state prison commitment. In order to prove the “intentional” version of this crime the government must prove that the defendant committed an intentional touching of another person without that person’s consent with a dangerous weapon. In Massachusetts, a knife is considered a “per se” dangerous weapon. In the event that a defendant claims that he or she acted in self defense or in defense of another the Commonwealth must prove that a defendant did not act in self defense or in defense of another beyond a reasonable doubt.
A forty-eight year old woman, Carol Provost, will face multiple counts of assault and battery charges in the Salem District Court for allegedly grabbing her eighty-two year old mother by the hair and beating her with a belt. The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that Provost is also accused of attempting to choke her mother with a belt before she was able to lock herself in the bathroom and eventually flee to a hospital for refuge.
Based on these accusations, Provost could face charges stemming from assault, assault and battery, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon to kidnapping and assault with intent to murder. At this time it appears that only one side of the story has been made available. Although all of the facts surrounding this incident are not known, it appears that viable areas for a defense could be self-defense, defense of another or some type of psychiatric defense such as “insanity.”
These types of crimes are often termed “domestic crimes” because the involved parties are related. Often the complaining witness requests a 209A restraining order which requires a hearing for a temporary order to be extended. If you are a defendant facing a restraining order hearing, it is imperative that you have an experienced Boston criminal attorney on your side. Although a 209A restraining order is a civil order, any alleged violation can result in being charged in the criminal court with violation of a restraining order.
The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that twenty-one year old Hector Martes of Lawrence Massachusetts was rushed to the hospital after he was stabbed in his upper abdomen and rib cage. According to reports, Martes told hospital workers that while playing “beer pong” at his home he was stabbed after an argument erupted with his stepfather and brother. The police are still investigating the incident and Martes is listed in stable condition.
Although all of the facts are unknown at this time, it appears that one of the parties could ultimately be charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. In order for the Commonwealth to prove this crime, it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant intentionally touched another person with a dangerous weapon. Another theory that the government may assert is that a defendant engaged in reckless conduct that resulted in bodily injury. In the event that the defendant’s step-father and/or brother are charged in this, potential defenses include misidentification by the victim as to who the perpetrator was and/or self-defense and defense of another.
It is also worthy to note that anyone questioned by the police is not under any obligation to speak to them. If you find yourself in a situation where you are being questioned by the police you should refuse to answer any questions until you have consulted with an experienced Boston area attorney. If you choose to speak with the police anything that you say may be used against you in court. If a defendant is questioned by the police an experienced Lawrence Massachusetts area lawyer will review the circumstances to determine whether a motion to suppress the statement should be litigated.