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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

Anyone familiar me or with this blog knows that I am a fierce defender of anyone who has been charged with a Massachusetts rape offense, or any Massachusetts sex offense.  No, not because I don’t find rape or any sex offense to be repugnant – I very much do.  Rather, it’s because that sex offenses, as a criminal law category, is one in which there is often more gray than there is black and white:  Believe me, as a Massachusetts rape defense attorney, I can assure you:  Just because someone accuses another person of  “rape”, does NOT mean that the accused is legally guilty of that crime.  If I were to tell you every case story I have represented, you would come to understand that the number of cases that re “black and white” are relatively small, compared with the number that fall into a very “gray” category. Continue reading

Well, well – here we are:  Black Friday, that ignominious day in the American calendar when otherwise (and I use this term liberally) “normal” people, turn into openly aggressive, violent, even maniacal individuals – all in the name of scoring a few less dollars on the latest wide screen TV or pair of sneakers.  To quote an aphorism that has become quite true, “Because only in America, do people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” How bad is this problem?  In just the past eight years, from 2006 to 2014, the total death count involving Black Friday shopping incidents has reached seven deaths.    Visually, try to think of being in a cemetery and seeing seven gravestones, each reading “Killed in a store by other shoppers the day after Thanksgiving.”   Two of those deaths were the result of people actually being “trampled” by aggressive shoppers. Two more were shooting deaths, and the remaining fatalities were due car crashes that were directly related to Black Friday shopping. Continue reading

More and more these days, I get calls from people who want me to assist them in obtaining a Massachusetts firearms license (gun permit,) or to represent them in an appeal of a permit denial they have received.  Importantly, these aren’t people who have been accused of committing any crimes – they’re law-abiding citizens who want to legally carry a gun.  Even more striking, the vast majority of these people have never carried any kind of firearm before.

Some who are reading this post this might think these people are suspicious types – ne’er do wells, uneducated people, or hunters.  As a Massachusetts gun license lawyer, I can assure anyone:  They’re not.  In fact, the vast majority of them are educated, working people who never before though that they’d ever want to own a gun – but now they want to.  What drives them to want this?  Continue reading

In my previous post on this topic, I wrote about how prosecutors in Massachusetts must prove that any allegedly illegal substances that the Commonwealth accuses a defendant of possessing, using, or distributing, have actually been tested by a qualified chemist in the state drug lab, and that the substance is indeed either a controlled substance or an illegal drug.   That’s the first, threshold legal issue in any Massachusetts drug offenses prosecution.  Continue reading