Articles Posted in Motion to Suppress Statements

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.

Continue reading

The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that an unusually cooperative suspect closed an investigation into multiple car break ins. According to the police, Shane Mercier, 21, of Lawrence Massachusetts produced a GPS from his pocket that was stolen from an unlocked car in the area. Apparently, the remorseful defendant admitted to breaking into a number of unlocked vehicles in the area. A cell phone, cash and gift cards to Walmart, Dunkin Donuts and K Mart were among some of the other items recovered from Mercier. Police approached the cooperative defendant when they were investigating reports of a number of cars that had been broken into. Based on the facts in this case the defendant can be charged with a multiple counts of breaking and entering into a motor vehicle in the nighttime with intent to commit a felony.

In this case it appears that the suspect spoke with the police officers and provided information that amounts to a confession. In Massachusetts, police officers must inform a suspect that he or she has a right to remain silent, that what he or she says can be used against him or her and that he or she has a right to a lawyer before speaking to the police. These rights are traditionally referred to as “Miranda Rights.” The police must inform a citizen of these rights prior to speaking with him or her if the individual is in custody and is subjected to police interrogation or questioning. In the event that it appears that a person’s Fifth Amendment rights against self incrimination have been violated by the failure of the police to provide these rights, then an experienced lawyer will file a motion to suppress statements. If successful, the government cannot use the defendant’s statement during the trial.

Continue reading

A twenty-four year Lowell Massachusetts man pleaded not guilty to charges relating to the shooting death of 17-year-old Tavaryna Choeun. According to The Lowell Sun, the defendant, identified as Srey, is accused of firing five shots into a car where Choeun was sitting in the passenger seat at a Lowell intersection. The authorities do not believe that Choeun was the intended victim. The shooting occurred on May 12, 2008 and Srey was just arraigned earlier this week on charges of first-degree murder, three counts of armed assault to murder, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, two counts of illegal possession of a firearm without a firearms identification card and discharge of a firearm within 500 feet of a building.

Although all of the facts are not known at this time it appears that a viable defense may be that Srey has been misidentified. The fact that there was a significant passage of time between the incident and an indictment suggests that the police may have had a difficult time having witnesses come forward. It may also be the case that some witnesses may have a motive to testify against Srey.

In Massachusetts, if you are charged with illegal possession of a firearm you could face a mandatory minimum sentence of eighteen months in the house of correction. Depending on the facts of the case, it may be appropriate to file a motion to suppress evidence if a gun was confiscated from your person, a car that you were in or in your apartment or home. Successful litigation of motions to suppress evidence can result in the suppression of evidence which is often the end of the case for the Commonwealth.

Continue reading

The Salem News recently reported that Jeffrey Monico and Kevin Maloney, both twenty- eight years old have been charged with crimes in connection with a number of holdups of banks located on the North Shore. The banks are located in Lawrence, Andover, Ipswich, Beverly, Peabody and Danvers and the incidents took place back in April, 2008. Their crime spree came to an abrupt halt when they were arrested last spring as they left the scene of a credit union robbery in New Hampshire.

The two men face charges of unarmed robbery related to robberies of two Salem Five branches in Danvers, Massachusetts, a Danvers Bank branch in Andover, a Sovereign Bank in Lawrence, stealing by confinement at a Sovereign Bank in Ipswich, stealing by confinement in an attempted holdup at the Bank of America in Beverly and stealing by confinement in Peabody, Massachusetts. The two men are currently being held on charges in New Hampshire and are expected to be arraigned on these charges in Massachusetts within the next few weeks.

In Massachusetts, if convicted of unarmed or armed robbery a defendant faces the possibility of receiving a life sentence. Thus, if you have been charged with a crime it is imperative that you have an experienced Massachusetts attorney on your side. Having a trial lawyer on your side from the beginning is critical to developing a successful strategy. Depending on the facts of the case, establishing that a defendant has been misidentified often involves extensive pre-trial investigation. Furthermore, if the police spoke with a defendant or conducted any type of search the case must be evaluated to determine whether a motion to suppress any statements or evidence should be filed.

Continue reading

Kuokwing Wu, 59 years old from Brooklyn New York appeared in Peabody District Court and plead not guilty to charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. According to The Salem News, the 10 year old boy and his 13 year old brother were in a restroom in the mall near the food court when Wu reached over and pulled out the waistband on the 10 years old pants.

The boys promptly reported the incident to their mother who reported it to mall security. According to reports, the description given by the boys matched Wu who worked at one of the establishments in the food court. Wu was questioned by the police and a friend of his interpreted. According to the Salem News Wu maintained that he pulled at the boys shirt to show him that it was wet. The boys claimed that the shirt was dry. The defendant was held on $10,000.00 cash bail following a bail hearing in the Peabody District Court. Wu will return to Peabody to answer to the criminal charges next month.

A defendant charged with this type of offences, or any type of crimnal charge including assault and battery, must have an experienced criminal lawyer on his or her side to ensure a favorable outcome. In Massachusetts, a conviction for indecent assault and battery can result in incarceration and have collateral consequences of having to register as a sex offender. Depending on the facts of the case, the strategy developed early on by a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney can have an impact on the case. For example, in a case where the defendant gave a statement to the police a motion to suppress the statements is often a viable option. Before the police question a defendant who is in “custody” they must inform him or her of the “Miranda Rights.” In short, the police must inform the defendant that he or she has a right not to speak with the police, has a right to have an attorney present for questioning, that if he or she cannot afford an attorney one can be appointed to him or her and that anything he or she states can be used against him or her in court.

In appropriate circumstances, an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney presents the argument that the defendant was in “custody” when questioned by the police and that he or she did not knowingly and intelligently waive these rights. Successfully suppressing an inculpatory statement can often result in removing a powerful piece of evidence from the Commonwealth’s case.

Continue reading

The shooting death of Robert Plaza, 32 of Lawrence Massachusetts marks what the police suspect is the fourth homicide in the city this year and the second in less than a month. The Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports that Plaza careened into a chain-link fence in front of a local assisted living building. When firefighters and concerned citizens attempted to pull Plaza from his vehicle they discovered a gun shot wound to his chest. He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later. The authorities are treating Plaza’s death as a homicide and believe it was the result of a “drug transaction gone bad.”

If you have been charged with a firearm offense or a drug offense you must contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. In Massachusetts, a conviction for possession of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute in a school zone can result in a commitment to the house of correction or to state prison. A conviction for a firearm offense can result in a defendant serving a minimum of eighteen months in jail.

In order to properly defend against these types of crimes, a good Massachusetts trial attorney often files appropriate pre-trial motions. These motions include motions to dismiss and motions to suppress physical evidence and statements. Successful litigation of these types of motions often result in the dismissal of the charges.

Continue reading

According to The Salem News, Maureen Fogwell, 57, from North Hampton New Hampshire was arrested as she drove away from the Salem Massachusetts Courthouse last week following her arraignment for driving under the influence of alcohol as a second offense. After spending a week in the women’s prison in Framingham, Ms. Fogwell admitted to the offenses and was sentenced to a 60 day mandatory minimum sentence for driving after her license was suspended for an OUI related offense. The judge also imposed a a six-month jail sentence which he suspended for two years. During this probationary term she must enter and complete a two week in patient alcohol program.

In Massachusetts, failing to complete terms of probation may result in a defendant receiving a notice of surrender and a surrender hearing occurs. During this type of hearing the probation officer must produce reliable evidence that the probationer violated the terms of his or her probation. In the event that an individual is found to have violated the terms of his or her probation, the penalty can be the maximum sentence that can be imposed for a conviction of the crime. In this case, Ms. Fogwell could face up to two and one half years in jail if she does not successfully complete probation.

In Massachusetts, the prosecution must prove that a defendant was driving a motor vehicle, on a public way and was under the influence to secure a conviction. An experienced defense attorney is necessary to review the particular facts of an individual’s case to determine how to proceed at trial. Depending on the circumstances of the case it may be appropriate to demonstrate that the defendant was not driving, that the road was not a “public way” i.e., that the public did not have a right of access and that he or she was not under the influence. In the event that a defendant was arrested as the result of a roadblock, made statements or was in a motor vehicle that was searched, there may be grounds to file a motion to suppress evidence and/or statements.

Continue reading

According to The Lowell Sun, the police are searching for Dennis King, 25 years old, from South Lowell Massachusetts for shooting a pregnant woman who was inside of her Lowell apartment. Although the police have not released the victim’s name, the paper reports that the police responded to reports of gunfire and found the woman inside of her apartment. The pregnant woman was shot in the chest and the right shoulder. According to reports, there is an arrest warrant for King who faces three counts of armed assault with intent to murder and aggravated assault. It is believed that the gun has not been recovered by the police. The woman and the unborn child are currently listed as in stable condition in a Boston Massachusetts hospital.

The Sun also reports that King was arrested in January and charged with driving with a suspended license and giving a false name and Social Security number to police. According to reports, King has also previously been arrested for domestic assault and battery.

If you have been charged with a violent crime including assault and battery, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm or any crime related to domestic violence, including violating a restraining order, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Massachusetts defense attorney as soon as possible. Convictions for violent crimes can result in incarceration for up to life or twenty years in prison. Convcitions for certain possession of firearm offenses may result in a minimum mandatory sentence of eighteen months. Depending on the circumstances, such as if the gun is loaded, a defendant may face two consecutive eighteen month mandatory minimum sentences. Developing a defense of mistaken identify or filing appropriate pretrial motions to suppress or dismiss are steps that must be taken early on in a case.

Continue reading

According to The Lawrence Eagle Tribune, the FBI is alleging that Dr. Paul D. Weinstein used OxyContin prescriptions to entice a woman to buy his Lexis SUV. The paper reported that he offered to provide Oxycontin prescritions to the woman and an undercover government informant who was posing to broker the deal. The undercover agent recenty filed an affidavit in the U.S. District Court. Court papers allege that Weinstein made thousands of dollars selling illegal oxycodone prescriptions from his office in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

According to reports, during February and March of 2009 Weinstein sold the prescriptions to an undercover agent and a confidential informant. As the result of the execution of a search warrant the authorities retrieved evidence from his office. Weinstein faces up to 20 years in federal prison to be followed by up to three years of supervised release and a $1 million fine if convicted. He is due back in court on May 7th.

If you are charged with the distribution of a controlled substance the penalties are harsh. For example, the charge of distribution or intent to distribute a controlled substance in a school zone or in a park calls for a mandatory jail sentence of two years in prison. In addition to the count of distribution or intent to distribute a defendant faces and on and after sentence on the “school zone” violation. An experienced Massachusetts defense attorney will often file a motion to suppress physical evidence and a motion to suppress statements as a first line of defense in cases where a search warrant has been executed and where a defendant has made inculpatory statements without being given his or her “Miranda Warnings.” If the police confiscated illegal substances and drugs from your person, motor vehicle or home a motion to suppress is often filed in appropriate circumstances. If you are charged with a violation of the Massachsuetts drug laws, an experienced Massachusetts trial attorney will often argue that the government did not have reasonable suspicion to conduct a threshold inquiry of a defendant and lacked probable cause to conduct a search.

Kathleen Hilton was held in custody for ten years before an Essex County jury acquitted her of first degree murder. Hilton was charged with arson and murder of five people following a fire that tore through a triple decker home in Lynn, Massachusetts. Experienced Boston criminal defense attorney Michael Natola secured the not guilty verdict following delays which he described as “of monumental proportion” over the suppression of the confession that Mrs. Hilton gave to police. Further adding to the delay was litigation relative to Hilton’s competence.

During an interview with New England Cable News, retired Superior Court Justice Isaac Borenstein maintained that in this case, the court system took too long. Judge Borenstein was involved in some of the pre-trial hearings in this case and recognized that the case should not have taken ten years to go to trial. According to New England Cable News, Borenstein believes that the Massachusetts Court system has made strides to ensure that criminal cases move more quickly through the system.

In Massachusetts, a case must be tried within one year of a defendant’s arraignment. However, routine pre-trial delays, including a defendant’s motion to suppress evidence and motion to suppress statements are generally excludable time periods and do not count towards the one year period. However, the time that a case languishes in a session following a hearing, provided experienced trial counsel pushes for a decision, in certain situations may be included in the one year time frame.