Articles Posted in Self Defense

When accused of a crime, there are a number of defenses that can be raised by the accused/defendant. One of the most commonly raised defenses used when charged with assault and battery, and even murder, is the act of self defense. Self defense is a criminal defense that can justify a defendant’s use of force or a weapon against another person.

Self Defense

Common Criminal Defenses

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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.

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A routine trip the doctor’s office turned fatal when a disgruntled patient stabbed his psychiatrist during a treatment session and then was shot and killed by an off duty security guard, Paul Langone. According to The Boston Globe, Dr. Astrid Desrosiers, a well respected and well known instructor of psychiatiry at Harvard Medical school, experienced what has been called a “psychiatrists worst nightmare” when patient, Jay Carciero of Reading Massachusetts, stabbed her during an office visit. It is believed that Carciero was being treated by Desrosiers on Staniford Street, where Massachusetts General Hospital leases space for its Bipolar Clinic and Research Program.

According to reports, Langone entered the area an ordered Carciero to drop his weapon. When Carciero refused, the guard shot him in the head. Carciero was pronounced dead at the Massachusetts General Hospital. At this time, it is believed that Langone was properly licensed to carry a gun in Massachusetts.

As the authorities continue to investigate the matter, Langone has been lauded as a hero. In Massachusetts, an individual is allowed to act in self defense or in defense of another. If evidence of self-defense or defense of another is presented, the Commonwealth must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense or in defense of another. For the jury to acquit a defendant when these types of defenses area raised the jury must have a reasonable doubt whether or not the defendant acted in self-defense or in defense of another. Although it does not appear that the security guard will be charged with a criminal offense in this case, defense of another would clearly be a viable defense under these circumstances.

Additionally, it is good that the security guard had a license to carry a firearm. The Massachusetts firearms laws are very strict and a conviction for illegal possession of a firearm carries a minimum mandatory sentence of eighteen months in prison. In the event that an individual is charged with possession of a loaded firearm, the potential penalties are even more severe and are imposed on and after the sentence for the underlying charge.

If you have been charged with a violent crime in Massachusetts or charged with illegal possession of a firearm you must have an experienced lawyer on your side. Depending on the circumstance, a motion to suppress evidence and or statements should be filed that may dispose of the case.

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The Lowell Sun reports that police have charged 21 year old John William Lomax III for the murder of University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard of Miami. According to reports, Howard was fatally stabbed while on campus at a school sponsored event. He currently faces charges of murder and conspiracy to commit assault. Two other men have also been charged in connection with Howard’s death. Hakim Muhammad of Bloomfield has been charged with conspiracy to commit assault and Jamal Tood has been charged with pulling a fire alarm that emptied the dance which is what authorities believe led to the fatal stabbing. Lomaz’s attorney maintains that his client is innocent and he was just trying to break up the fight.

In Massachusetts, if convicted for first degree murder a defendant is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. If you have been charged with any crime in Massachusetts it is important that you have an experienced defense attorney on your side. Pre-trial investigation is crucial to determining the best line of defense early on in the proceedings. For example, in this case interviewing witnesses as close to the event when memories are fresh is imperative to effectively representing the defendant. Although all of the facts are not known at this time, it appears that a defense of misidentification, self defense or defense of another would be viable areas to peruse to appropriately represent this defendant.

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According to The Lowell Sun, Darren Wilson from Lawrence Massachusetts faces criminal charges including mayhem, assault and battery causing serious bodily injury and two counts of assault and battery as a result of a fight in front of Jay’s Food Market in Lowell Massachusetts. According to reports, Wilson and Domingo Sanchez engaged in a fight. During the fight Wilson, who was apparently losing, grabbed Sanchez’s foot and twisted it “180 degrees” according to prosecutors. While Sanchez was laying on the ground, Wilson is accused of punching Sanchez in the head before leaving the area. Sanchez required surgery to repair his foot and is reportedly using a cane while experiencing constant pain.

Although all of the facts are not known at this time, it appears that the defendant may have a viable claim of self-defense. In Massachusetts, once a claim of self-defense is raised the Commonwealth must prove one of the following things beyond a reasonable doubt:That the defendant did not reasonably believe he was being attacked or about to be attacked; or That the defendant did not do everything reasonable in the circumstances to avoid physical combat; or That the defendant used more force to defend himself than was reasonably necessary in the situation. In cases where self-defense or defense of another is asserted it is often important to conduct extensive pre-trial investigation so that all favorable witnesses can be interviewed, located and summonsed to testify at trial If you are facing criminal charges and believe that you have a valid claim of self defense an expereinced criminal defense attorney is necessary to ensure that your side of the story is properly presented to the jury.

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The Lowell Sun recently reported that the police responded to downtown Lowell after receiving a report that an intoxicated customer at the new Village Smokehouse located at 98 Middle Street flashed a gun.

At approximately 10 p.m. a priority call dispatched cruisers to the downtown area and police spotted the intoxicated culprit walking down the streets with the gun in his hand. He was detained and arrested following an identification procedure. After confiscating the weapon, it was determined that it was a BB gun. The Sun reports that Eric Burke of Burlington was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

In Massachusetts, the potential penalty for a conviction for assault by means of a dangerous weapon is a maximum of five years in state prison or two and one half years in jail. There is no mandatory minimum for this charge therefore, in certain circumstances a case of this type can be disposed of without the defendant receiving a committed sentence.

The government can prove the crime of assault under two theories. The Commonwealth can prove the crime by either proving an attempted battery or by proving an imminently threatened battery. Intent to put another in fear or apprehension is element of immediate threatened battery category of criminal assault. Additionally, if an individual commits an act that places another in reasonable apprehension that force may be used he or she may be charged with this crime.

If you have been charged with assault, assault and battery, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon or any other crime, you must contact an experienced criminal trial attorney as soon as possible. Depending on the facts of the case the defenses of self-defense, mistaken identity or accident may be applicable.

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According to The Lawrence Eagle Tribune, the driver of a minivan was robbed at gunpoint when he stopped at a stop sign in Lawrence Massachusetts. According to the police, after the driver came to a stop at the intersection, three armed men entered his van and stole a car stereo, global positioning system and earrings. After securing the items the thieves allowed the victim to drive away. The victim proceeded to the police station to report the crime.

Based on the facts in this case it appears that in addition to armed robbery culprits could also be charged with larceny of property valued at over $250.00 and assault when they are apprehended. A conviction for armed robbery provides for a punishment of up to life in state prison. If convicted for the felony of larceny of property valued at over $250.00 an individual may received up to two and one half years in the house of correction.
In Massachusetts, there are two theories of culpability for the crime of assault. The Commonwealth can prove the crime by either proving an attempted battery or by proving an imminently threatened battery. Following a trial on this type of charge, an experienced defense attorney should request that the jury slip reflect both theories and that the judge inform the deliberating jurors that in order to convict the defendant they must unanimously agree on the theory of culpability.

Relative to proving the crime, the Massachusetts courts have held that an act placing another in reasonable apprehension that force may be used is sufficient for the offense of criminal assault. However, generally speaking words threatening future harm are insufficient to constitute an assault. This “threatened-battery branch” of assault requires specific intent to put the victim in fear or apprehension of immediate physical harm. If the Commonwealth proceeds under the “threatened battery” prong, the government does not have to prove fear on the part of the victim.

If you have been charged with assault, assault and battery, a crime of domestic violence or any other crime of violence it is important that you contact an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney as soon as possible. Based on the facts of the case, it may be necessary to interview witnesses and begin mounting a defense while the facts are still fresh in people’s minds.

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According to The Lowell Sun, nineteen year old Brianna Cameron from Lowell Massachusetts was arrested after her boyfriend, twenty-one year old Zachary Ramsdell, told police that she stabbed him. The Police indicated that Cameron allegedly stabbed Ramsdell with a kitchen knife during an argument. Ramsdell was transported to Saints Medical Center in Lowell Massachusetts. Apparently, he suffered a cut to the left side of his torso and scratches on his neck and back. It is not believed that the injuries were life threatening.

Cameron was arraigned in the Lowell District Court and charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. If the case remains in the Lowell District Court the potential penalty that Cameron will face is up to two and one half years in jail.

Based on the facts of this case, one possible defense that Camerson may assert is that she acted in self-defense. Although Cameron apparently did not have any visible signs of physical injury, that is not the only factor to be examined when this type of defense is asserted. In order to establish that an individual appropriately acted in self defense, the defendant must have reasonably believed that he or she was being attacked or was immediately about to be attacked, and that his or her personal safety was in immediate danger. He or she must also have done everything that was reasonable in the circumstances to avoid physical combat before resorting to force. Finally, for the defendant to have acted in self-defense, he must have used no more force than was reasonably necessary in the circumstances to defend himself or herself. Furthermore, in addition to the fact that the government must prove the elements of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon beyond a reasonable doubt, it must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self defense. The fact that the defendant did not have any physical injuries is not dispositive of whether he or she acted in self defense.

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According to The Lowell Sun, Eric Sideri, owner of Angela’s Coal Fired Pizza in Tyngsboro Massachusetts, is being held without bail after his arraignment in Lowell District Court. Sideri is charged with kidnapping and beating up a manager, Oliveira, whom he suspected stole $20,000 from the business. According to reports, after the restaurant closed on Saturday night, Sideri cornered Oliveira beating him up with a baseball bat and a stick. Sideri allegedly stuck a large gun in the manager’s mouth and threatened to kill him if he did not answer questions about the missing money.

According to prosecutors, Oliveira claimed that he was taken to the restaurant’s back door and shown “a white SUV with its tailgate open and blue tarp covered with trash bags inside.” Sideri then allegedly told him, “I will kill you and nobody will know.”

The defendant’s attorney painted a much different picture of the events. The defendant claims that a confrontation occurred after Sideri confronted Oliveira about the missing money. Sideri claims that he acted in self-defense during the incident and that Oliveira fabricated the kidnapping and beating story to offset any charges that Sideri would file against him.

Following bail arguments by both sides District Court Judge Michael Uhlarik ordered that Sideri be held without bail. Sideri returns to the Lowell District Court on Thursday when a “dangerousness hearing” will take place.

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According to The Lawrence Eagle Tribune Ed Manzi, 47, of 125 Windkist Farm Road North Andover Massachusetts was arrested and charged with attempted murder, assault and battery, possession of a firearm, malicious destruction of property, intimidation of a witness and related offenses as a result of an incident with his girlfriend, Catherine Lambert. Manzi teaches in Tewksbury Massachusetts and has been suspended from his position without pay as a result of these charges.

Before the altercation the pair and their baby were at Ipswich River Park when Manzi drove off without them. Manzi’s attorney, Anthony Rozzi of Haverhill Massachusetts, maintained that Manzi left the park because Patricia was drinking alcohol in the park. According to the Tribune, when Lambert was packing Manzi’s clothes in a basket he punched her in the face and then struck her in the head with a computer speaker and monitor. She ran to get her mother, Patricia Lambert, who was outside riding a horse.

According to court documents, Patricia Lambert reported that when she asked Manzi to give her the baby he punched her in the face knocking her to the floor. When she stood up, Manzi allegedly took a semi-automatic pistol from her pocket and hit her on the head with it. While hitting her, a live round ejected from the gun. Lambert claims that Manzi hit her on the head and pulled the trigger numerous times. After the gun misfired, Manzi left the area and discarded the gun on Boston Street.

The defense paints a much different picture of the incident. Attorney Rozzi claims that the defendant acted in self-defense. Rozzi maintains that Manzi client was upset because Catherine Lambert was allegedly drinking alcohol at the park. According to the Tribune, Rozzi said there was some pushing and shoving at the couple’s apartment, but Catherine fell over their computer table and which caused her injuries.

Following the hearing the defendant was held without bail pending the outcome of a “dangerousness hearing” scheduled for March 23, 2009. During a dangerousness hearing the District Attorney’s Office is expected to present evidence that Manzi poses a threat to the community and should be held without bail until the case is resolved. Based on the facts of this case, it appears that the defendant will begin to mount its claim of self-defense.

When an individual is charged with assault and battery, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon or any other violent offense, self-defense is often a viable claim. In Massachusetts, in order to receive a jury instruction on self-defense the facts must indicate that the defendant must have reasonably believed that he or she was immediately about to be attacked or that his or her personal safety was in immediate danger. The individual must also have done everything that would be considered reasonable to avoid physical combat before resorting to force and must use no more force that was reasonably necessary in the circumstance to defend himself or herself. If self-defense is properly asserted during the trial, the instruction will also indicate that the District Attorney must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense

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