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As just about every Massachusetts resident with a pulse is now aware, the voters decided on November 8th to “legalize” marijuana possession in the Commonwealth. Well, kind of. I intentionally used quotation marks because there are significant caveats to the new act under M.G.L. c. 94G of which most people are unaware and thus many pot smokers will unknowingly violate.  The most important fact is that the Controlled Substances Act, long- governed by M.G.L. c. 94C, is still in full effect. The new Act passed last month merely provides certain “personal use” exceptions for adults, both decriminalizing previously illegal conduct, and in some cases fully LEGALIZING other previously illegal conduct.

I have written this blog to highlight what I believe to be the most relevant and important points of the new law for the general public to know at this time. This blog in no way constitutes legal advice or an attorney- client relationship. If you have specific questions or personal issues, you should contact your own criminal defense attorney.

Personal Possession/ Use in Public

Our client is a 53- year old East Boston man with no prior record. In February of 2016, he was walking home from work in Chelsea. An acquaintance, also Hispanic, drove by and offered our client a ride home. There was one other Hispanic male in the car at the time. Within minutes, the car was pulled over and approached by three Chelsea police officers for failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. After the men were ordered out of the car, a search revealed a bag in the closed center console with a substance the officers believed to be heroin (which it was not; read below).  Despite the fact that our client never made any statements, movements, or anything else suggesting his knowledge of, or intent to control, the substance in the center console of the acquaintance’s car, and despite the fact that the police never conducted a preliminary swipe to test whether the substance contained narcotics, all three men were arrested and charged with trafficking heroin.

At the station, despite the fact that our client was cooperative, a search of his clothing revealed no illegal products, and he did nothing to suggest he had any narcotics or other contraband otherwise on him, the police conducted a full strip search of our client where he was subjected to standing completely naked in the station while police searched his private areas. Again, nothing was recovered. Our client was held overnight at the station. He then hired our firm, his bail lowered at court the following morning, and he was released. By then, the case had already hit the newspapers.

Several weeks later, after the substance believed to be heroin was tested by the state laboratory, it turned out that there was no heroin or any other narcotic in the bag; it was a substance found in workout supplements. We were able to have the criminal case dismissed, but by then our client had already undergone significant emotional, psychological, and financial damages (attorneys’ fees for the case) related to all of the unlawful actions of these Chelsea Police officers. He was also threatened in his own community; when people learned that his heroin trafficking case had been dismissed, members of the drug trade suspected him to be a “snitch” who had likely become an informant in exchange for having his major felony case dropped.

Expertise.com looked at 289 OUI (Operating Under the Influence) lawyers in Boston and hand selected Urbelis Law as one of the very best. The goal of expertise.com is to connect people with the best local experts. They analyzed and scored Boston DUI attorneys on 25 variables across 6 categories, including reputation, credibility and experience. Urbelis Law ranked in the top 20 out of nearly 300 Boston lawyers. Our firm takes tremendous pride in the work that we do and always provides zealous advocacy tailored to each individual client.

See the expertise.com article here: https://www.expertise.com/ma/boston/dui-attorney

urbelislaw.com

 

Good afternoon. Once again I’m Boston criminal defense attorney Ben Urbelis. This is my second video update on the Aaron Hernandez first-degree murder trial. The prosecution began putting forth its case after opening statements by calling Lorne Giroux to the stand.

I found myself questioning why the prosecution decided to kick off their case with this particular witness. You see, each side can call its own witnesses in any order it chooses, and there’s always a strategy in determining that order. As I explained before, I found ADA Bomberg’s opening statement to lack a clear narrative, or story, that the prosecution would intend to tell, particularly without putting forth their theory on motive. I’m curious to see if they will have the same lack of structure and clarity in their case-in-chief as in ADA Bomberg’s opening statement. Without a clear roadmap, or outline, in that opening it’s tough to tell exactly what to expect.

So, Lorne Giroux took the stand first, and really just testified that the victim, Odin Lloyd, worked for him, was a reliable worker, and unexpectedly did not show up for work on the morning of Monday, June 18th. Mr. Giroux texted Odin Lloyd, but got no response. After Lloyd did not show up for work that Tuesday morning either, Mr. Giroux again texted Odin Lloyd. After receiving no response, he was later contacted by the authorities and informed that Mr. Lloyd was dead.

It looks like the prosecution perhaps called this witness in order to show that Mr. Lloyd was a reliable worker and probably would not have been looking to find an after party at 2:30 in the morning with Aaron Hernandez if he had to work just a few hours later. Other than that, I didn’t find Mr. Giroux to be a significant witness and apparently neither did defense attorney Charlie Rankin.

In any trial, when the prosecution offers a witness, the defense has an infinite number of tactical decisions to make. Did this witness hurt us – or more specifically did he disturb OUR theory of the case? If so, how do we handle it? How can we pick at what this witness just offered? Is this a witness we should attack fiercely, or should we just show that perhaps he was mistaken, or that his first hand observations could mean something else? What tone should we take with this particular witness in order to best demonstrate to the jury how WE value or feel about him and his testimony?
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Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in every state. It is a major problem in our country, and law enforcement takes it very seriously. Studies suggest that a person is likely to drive under the influence of alcohol about 87 times before he or she is eventually caught and arrested.

One way to increase your chance of being pulled over and arrested for DUI/ OUI is by driving 111 mph in a 45 mph zone, swerving in between other vehicles, jumping a curb, and then taking down a barb wire fence. That’s what Red Sox prospect Drake Britton did over the weekend, according to Estero, FL, where the incident took place. Britton now faces charges of reckless driving, driving under the influence, and property damage.

If you have been arrested for any criminal charge in Massachusetts, please contact my office for your free initial consultation:

SInce Johnnie Cochran’s famous phrase, “If the glove don’t fit, you must acquit,” I’ve always enjoyed courtroom theatrics. I strongly believe that in certain criminal cases, the defense attorney can gain a significant advantage by pushing the envelope and making a dramatic statement that sticks in the minds of the jury through deliberations. Most recently, while representing State Senator Harri Anne Smith on bribery charges, high-profile Alabama defense attorney Jim Parkman used creative theatrics in order to hammer his point to the jury. During the trial, the prosecution’s key witness claimed to have suddenly remembered Smith’s role in the bribes while he was eating a chicken sandwich. While delivering his closing argument, Parkman handed the prosecution a chicken salad sandwich, mocking the state’s key witness.

If you have been charged with any criminal offense in Massachusetts, contact my office for your free initial consultation. There is no obligation to hire me after the consultation.