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Just a couple of days ago, a man was arrested and charged with serious felony counts on Massachusetts drug charges, in Lawrence District Court.  Except this case is rather unique.  You see, this defendant didn’t end up in handcuffs or court in the usual way:  Being arrested by the police.  He ended up in jail because his 11 year-old son called the police on his father – effectively, turning him in.

The boy the called Lawrence Massachusetts Police Department on his father, Yamil Mercado, after allegedly seeing his father deal drugs out of their home there.  Mercado reportedly surrendered to police last Thursday, one day after the boy called police to say that he and his 13-year-old cousin had found what they believed were drugs in the father’s luggage, according to a police report. The boy reportedly also told police that he’d witnesses his father in a drug deal just a day few days earlier. Continue reading

A lot has been reported in the media and debated since Aaron Hernandez – by all present appearances – committed suicide this past Wednesday.  Most of the debate has surrounded the public’s confusion over this business that Hernandez’ suicide means that he was “not guilty” over the murder of Odin Lloyd (which of course, he was convicted of in April 2015.)

So, what’s this all about?  A very old and little-used Massachusetts law, that’s what.  Its formal name is“abatement ab initio,” and it loosely translates to “removed from the beginning.”  It is a common law which has its roots in British law, when Massachusetts was still a British colony. The legal rationale behind this law was that, since it was possible that someone’s conviction might have been  legally defective in some manner, that person should have the right of a full appeal – and that if some intervening event prevented that appeal (such as the convict’s death,) then the person’s name should be legally “cleared.”   Massachusetts is only one of a handful of states in the U.S. that either still have this common law on the books, or that still recognize it as valid.  Many states have either modified it in some manner, or nullified its applicability to present cases.  In all of the states that have nullified this doctrine, it’s been done so in the name of the rights of crime victims.  It’s not hard to see why. Continue reading

By now readers of this blog know that just a couple of days ago, the state of Massachusetts – through the Department of Public Utilities’ Transportation Division – pulled off the road more than 8,000 drivers for ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft.  Reason:  These people failed state background checks – but the worst part was that these drivers had already passed background checks run on them by Uber and Lyft.     Suffice to say, a very serious problem. Continue reading

We live in the Age of Information; the Age of the smartphone.  An age in which the activities of almost every citizen are monitored by sources both public and private  – including your own cell phone, debit cards and credit cards.

Some examples we may not care to think about, but as a Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer, I can assure you of the following:  Your vehicle is tracked by video cameras run by government – local, state and federal government agencies –at intersections, on the Massachusetts Turnpike, and many highways.  Your own smart phone monitors your locations, tracking you wherever you go and whenever you go.  Numerous apps that you might use on your phone also – perhaps unbeknownst to you – track your movements and location.  When you are stopped at roadside by a police officer, an increasing number of police cruisers record the stop on both video and audio, via either dash-cameras or body cameras.  When you pay for a product at a store with a debit or credit card, that card also tracks where you were, and when. Your movements inside the store are recorded by video cameras.  Your movements outside the store are also being video recorded. Continue reading

As a Massachusetts drug arrest defense lawyer, I never cease to be amazed at the resistance I see to the will of the voters on the subject of marijuana legalization, from both the federal government, as well as local government here in Massachusetts.  It really is stunning.  I say this as someone who is not a recreational user of marijuana, but as an attorney who has seen far too many people’s reputations and lives damaged due to criminal accusations connected with pot use.  Equally troubling is the massive amount of taxpayer dollars that are spent on police departments and prosecutors to prosecute use of a substance that almost always involves a victimless and harmless fact pattern.

I consider the source of the federal government’s resistance to be obvious:  Big Pharma, which does not want cannabis legalized for either medicinal or recreational use.  The smple reason?  They want the public to use their drugs – the FDA “approved” drugs – for relief from pain and a whole host of physical diseases and ailments – and cannabis has been shown to provide relief from a variety of illnesses, from Parkinson’s to ALS, to cancer treatments, to anxiety.  The pharmaceutical drug companies that make their “approved” drugs, make billions of dollars through the choke-hold they have on those drugs to treat these conditions.  And they don’t want to have to compete with cannabis, and lose billions in the process. Continue reading

Amid all the Super Bowl hype, try to remember something:  Aside from New Year’s Eve, St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo, Super Bowl Sunday is one the drunkest days of the year.  Worse still, the number of inebriated people who get behind the wheel after drinking at a Super Bowl party or similar event, is extremely high.  Doing so is just plain foolish, but a lot of people do it , thinking that they’re not “really drunk”, or that the odds of them being stopped by police is low.

As a Wrentham Massachusetts OUI attorney I can assure you, that is not so:  The number of police patrols on the road this day have been increased dramatically – both in Massachusetts and across the country.  There are DUI checkpoints set up at strategic locations, and police will be watching.

Here are a few interesting facts about DUI and Super Bowl Sunday: Continue reading

I’ve written on this blog previously about the Massachusetts drug lab scandal, and I tweeted earlier this week about the latest , very significant development surrounding that scandal.

This colossal mess began almost 5 years ago, with the discovery that a Massachusetts drug lab chemist, Annie Dookhan, had spent years intentionally falsifying the lab tests that were submitted to the drug lab for content analysis for use by state prosecutors in drug cases.  The cases of  approximately 20,000 Massachusetts drug defendants and drug convicts were affected by her actions.  For several years now, state and court officials have grappled with what to do with these cases and convictions, which came to be called the “Dookhan defendants.” Continue reading

The Boston Globe recently asked itself an interesting question:  Is there an identifiable collection, or concentration, of bars or restaurants in Massachusetts that have a statistically verifiable reputation of being the last place that convicted drunk drivers were served alcohol prior to being arrested for drunk driving  Or, rephrased, “Can we assemble a list of bars that are more likely to “last serve” a person who is soon thereafter arrested for drunk driving? ” 

As I said, this is, both in terms of statistics and public safety, an interesting question.  The Globe published the results of their investigation earlier today, which lists 50 such bars, restaurants, or any business licensed to serve alcohol in Massachusetts, and the story can be found here.  The story creates the new acronym of “PLD,” for “place of last drink”, which the Globe claims represents an instance where the listed establishment allegedly served the last drink to a patron who was intoxicated,  arrested on Massachusetts OUI/DUI charges soon after leaving he bar, and afterward convicted of DUI or operating under the influence. The Globe claims the ratings are based on data it collected and studied from the period of Jan. 2012 through Sept. 2016. Continue reading

A rape victim who was impregnated as a result of a rape that took place when she was 14 is fighting in court to keep her convicted rapist from being awarded visitation rights to the daughter she gave birth to nine months after the assault.

The victim was in 8th grade when an individual named Jamie Melendez had sexual intercourse with her several times in 2009. At the time of these sexual assaults, Melendez was 19 and met the victim through a friend of her older sister’s.   The victim testified that Melendez visited her at her home several times when he knew she was alone, and testified that Melendez pressured her into intercourse with him on four separate occasions.  Violence did not appear to be present in any of these rapes – they were statutory rapes, which take place even if the victim consented, any time an alleged victim is under a certain age (16 in Massachusetts.)  The victim became pregnant following one of the attacks and gave birth to a girl in 2010.  Melendez had been arrested in 2009 and initially denied paternity, but DNA evidence proved him to be the father.  Eventually Melendez pled guilty to charges of statutory rape in 2011 – however, he avoided jail as the trial judge ordered  a lengthy probation sentence instead – 16 years- reasoning that allowing  Melendez to work and hold down a job would enable him to pay the victim child support.  After Melendez’s 2011 sentencing, the case was transferred to the Massachusetts Probate and Family court – which the victim now argues should never have been done.  As a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, I think she’s probably right. Continue reading

Well, as of midnight tonight, marijuana is finally legalized in Massachusetts.  Despite the dire predictions of tone-deaf politicians and law enforcement officials, despite the moral protestations of religious leaders including the Catholic church, the voters of Massachusetts saw through the smoke and mirrors (pardon the pun,) and approved what so many other states have already done:  Made possession of limited amounts of cannabis legal. Voters here had already decriminalized marijuana in 2008, and approved medical marijuana in 2012.  Reflecting the cluelessness of many of Beacon Hill, all three measures had to be approved by citizen ballot measures, as the legislature consistently refused to act. In a growing trend of sanity on this issue, Massachusetts voters joined voters in Maine, California, and Nevada on Nov. 8.  Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, Alaska, and the District of Columbia also voted to legalize marijuana in recent years. Continue reading