Blog Posts in 2012

  • Can Siri Waive Spousal Privilege?

    Earlier this month, on December 13 th , the 4 th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of former Virginia House of Delegates member Phillip A. Hamilton on charges of federal program bribery and extortion under color of official right. In trying the case, federal prosecutors presented evidence derived from e-mails between Hamilton and his wife. On appeal , Hamilton, and Electronic Privacy ...
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  • Don’t tug on Superman’s Cape

    As someone who makes a very good living routinely taking on the government in defense of citizens accused of crimes and wrong-doing, I’m the last to believe the government should not be held accountable for its acts, omissions, indiscretions and abuse[s] of power. When the government messes up or over-steps, my job is to exploit and extrapolate this to my clients’ decided advantage and benefit. ...
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  • License, Registration and Cell Phone?

    Just in Time for Ski Season – SJC’s Latest Slippery Slope… Last week, in a matter of first impression in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) issued rulings in two cases, Commonwealth v. Berry , No. SJC-11056 and Commonwealth v. Phifer , No. SJC-11242, pertaining to the permissibility of police viewing certain contents of a lawfully arrested person’s cell phone. In ...
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  • Is the Clock Really Ticking on Child Sexual Assault?

    With all of the sexual assaults on children that are in the news (especially Jerry Sandusky and former Syracuse Coach Bernie Fine), many observers are calling for an outright abolition of a Statute of Limitations (SOL) for sex crimes including child rape. The statutes of limitations are very important, especially in view of these two cases where the allegations themselves appear to go back several ...
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  • A Tale of Two Judges: Sentencing Issues in the Michael Jackson and Joseph Lally Cases

    In two courtrooms on separate coasts, judges are being asked to consider stepping in on decisions that are often left for the Legislature (via statute) or corrections officials to decide: the actual venue where punishment will be served. In a blistering statement yesterday in a Los Angeles courtroom, Superior Judge Michael Pastor sentenced Michael Jackson’s personal physician Dr. Conrad Murray to ...
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  • Sandusky May Be a Former Penn State Nittany Lion, but Roaring to the Media May Be a Thorn in His Paw

    I can’t say I blame Jerry Sandusky’s attorney for agreeing to appear before a national television audience to field questions from NBC’s Bob Costas about his client. I mean, free publicity is free publicity, and for those of us in the criminal defense business free publicity means free advertising. Still, I was as shocked as anyone when Sandusky’s attorney volunteered to Costas during the ...
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  • No Bones About It – It Just Doesn’t Pass the Smell Test

    The Supreme Court ( SCOTUS ) recently heard oral argument on two companion cases from Florida involving the use of drug-sniffing dogs. The first case, Florida v. Jardines , considers whether a drug dog’s sniffing outside of a private home constitutes a "search" for Fourth Amendment purposes, thus requiring the police establish probable cause before they "unleash" Fido’s (or in this case, ...
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  • Boston Globe: Opening arguments are made in Tim Cahill trial

    Former state treasurer Timothy P. Cahill awaited the start of his trial on public corruption charges Monday in Suffolk Superior Court. Prosecutors asserted Monday that Timothy P. Cahill "reached into the pocket" of the lottery to run an advertising campaign meant to boost his flagging candidacy for governor, as the public corruption ­trial of the former state treasurer began. Jim O’Brien, chief of ...
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  • Boston Herald: Storm stalls jury selection in Tim Cahill trial

    By Laurel J. Sweet Former state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill and his ex-campaign manager Scott Campbell will have to wait at least another day and possibly longer before their trial gets under way, after the courts cancelled appearances for unseated jurors in today’s storm. The Quincy residents are accused of spending $1.5 million in taxpayer-funded Lottery monies as part of a thinly veiled ...
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  • Federal Plea Bargains: Not Always Such a Great Deal

    Because a substantial percentage of my criminal defense work in Boston involves federal clients and federal charges, I was not surprised to read in last week’s Wall Street Journal ("WSJ") that approximately 97% of all federal criminal cases that are prosecuted to a conclusion are resolved these days via plea bargains. According to the WSJ, this represents an astounding 13% increase from the 84% ...
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  • Not CSI-Fi: In the wake of Annie Dookhan revelations CSI stands for Chemist’s State Investigation

    Over the last few years, I’ve been pretty open about my disdain for television’s endless "CSI" series, which continue to propagate and regenerate like insect larvae. Fully funded and level-staffed city crime labs? Spotless state-of-the-art and futuristic equipment? Gleaming crime labs and dazzling cover-girl quality technicians? And of course, chemists, techs and scientists who inexplicably ...
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  • Boston Herald: Tim Cahill’s Lawyers Fight to Toss Case Over Lottery Ads

    Former state Treasurer Tim Cahill’s lawyers argued yesterday the criminal charges that he used $1.8 million in state funds to make thinly veiled campaign ads should be dropped, telling a Suffolk Superior Court judge that Cahill just did what all pols do - all the way up to the president of the United States. But prosecutors countered that Cahill went well beyond normal political opportunism, ...
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  • I’m Not Lying – Taking a Police Polygraph is About as Useful as a Screen Door on a Submarine

    Okay, so I admit I’ve never been a big fan of lie detectors (polygraphs). Maybe it’s because more than 25 years ago as a young felony prosecutor I was able to easily, and effectively, eviscerate a defense polygraph expert to such a degree that his testimony was virtually unusable in a long-forgotten state kidnapping case. Or maybe it’s because as an experienced criminal defense attorney who does ...
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  • How Un-Enticing Allegations Can Be Defended: Child Enticement Cases

    Federal charges were recently filed in United States District Court in Boston against a Northbridge, MA attorney. The federal charges include allegations of possession and/or dissemination of child pornography, as well as enticement of a child. As an experienced criminal defense attorney who’s handled many sex crime s cases on both the state and federal level involving the same or similar charges, ...
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  • Law Enforcement’s Personal Foursquare? – 6th Cir Rules Warrantless GPS Tracking of Cell Phones Legal

    Earlier this year I wrote about the 4 th Amendment/privacy/suppression issues being decided by the Supreme Court in United States v. Jones . As I, and other criminal defense lawyers had hoped, SCOTUS ultimately ruled in that case that the police’s surreptitious installation of a GPS tracking device on Jones’ vehicle without a warrant was unconstitutional and that any evidence obtained as a result ...
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