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March 2015 Archives

Grand Theft Valor: Making it a Crime for Fake Soldiers to Profit.

Identity theft is a growing concern across the country. Like other states, Massachusetts makes identity theft a crime. It is also against the law to impersonate a police officer. Now, state Representative John Velis, has introduced a bill to make posing as a veteran, or active duty member of the military a crime. Apparently, some kinds of "identity theft" are treated differently than others.

Interested in a $5 Million Reward? Boston's Biggest Art Heist Still Unsolved!

Twenty-five years ago, two men entered Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and made off with half a billion dollars worth of artwork. In the early morning hours of March 18th, 1990, a guard for the museum, Richard Abath, opened the door after 1 a.m. for two men dressed as police officers. The phony cops said they were responding to a call, and then handcuffed and duct taped the two guards, leaving them in the basement. They were discovered when the morning guards arrived hours later.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Not Yours. Judges Increasingly Seal Court Records.

In Massachusetts, it is usually public information when someone is convicted of a criminal offense, or even has a criminal court appearance and disposition. In most instances, with juvenile cases being an exception, a person's criminal record is publicly available to anyone who wants to know their criminal history. In order to hide a criminal record, the person must wait a period of 5 to 10 years, and request to have their records sealed. However, the request to seal records prior to any court disposition is becoming increasingly common.

Gun Owners Shocked! Mass High Court Upholds Ban on Stun Guns.

Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the country. In looking to protect themselves, some residents are arming themselves with less lethal forms of defense, including pepper spray and stun guns. However, the Commonwealth passed a law which bans the possession of devices such as stun guns. One woman arrested under the law fought back, arguing the U.S. Constitution's "right to bear arms" provision protected her right to carry a stun gun. Unfortunately for her, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court did not agree.

Teen's Confession Inadmissible in Alleged Murder of Danvers Math Teacher

In TV and movies, we've all heard the speech police are supposed to give suspects when they are placed under arrest. The so-called Miranda rights include the right to remain silent, the right to an attorney, and include a version of the phrase, "anything you say or do can and will be used against your in a court of law." However, it may not be so clear what the court considers to be the right to remain silent, which became an issue in the case of a teenager accused of raping and killing a Danvers high school math teacher.

Blarney Blowout Arrest Leads to Federal Lawsuit Against Amherst Police

This Saturday, March 7th, will see thousands of UMass students gather in the annual "Blarney Blowout," a pre-St. Patrick's Day celebration. This notorious college celebration is not sanctioned by the university, but that doesn't stop students from hitting the bars in the morning, and continuing to celebrate through the night, which often results in encounters with the police. This year, the university is hosting a free concert featuring a performance by Ke$ha, to deter students from participating in the drunken revelry. Last year, police made 55 related arrests, and now one of those arrested may come back to haunt Amherst police officers.

Thirty Counts Against Tsarnaev: What Do the Different Counts Mean? Part 3: Aiding, Abetting and Interstate Commerce.

In this three-part blog post, we are reviewing the individual criminal counts charged against Tsarnaev, and what they mean. The first part covered the 15 counts related to the actual bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the conspiracy leading up to the crime. The second part discussed the next 15 counts related to the subsequent attempted escape, MIT officer shooting, carjacking, and shootout with police. In this third and final segment, we will discuss what "aiding and abetting" means, and why there is so much about "interstate commerce" in the indictment.

Thirty Counts Against Tsarnaev: What Do the Different Counts Mean? Part 2: The Attempted Escape.

In this three-part blog posting, we are reviewing the individual criminal counts charged against Tsarnaev, and what they mean. The first part covered the 15 counts related to the actual bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the conspiracy leading up to the crime. In this part, we will cover the next 15 counts related to the subsequent attempted escape, MIT officer shooting, carjacking, and shootout with police.

Thirty Counts Against Tsarnaev: What Do the Different Counts Mean? Part 1: The Bombing.

With the jury selection process finally completed, the long-awaited trial of the alleged Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is ready to begin. Attorneys on both sides are set to give their opening statements to the jury on Wednesday. The Boston Marathon attacks have galvanized the community, who will be closely watching the federal criminal trial. Tsarnaev faces a thirty count indictment, a number of which include the possibility of the death penalty.

Assisted Suicide or Involuntary Manslaughter?

In 2012, Massachusetts voters narrowly defeated an assisted suicide ballot measure. The Death with Dignity initiative failed to pass, with 51 percent of voters opposing the measure, and 49 percent in favor. Often known as "assisted suicide," the initiative would have been limited to allowing terminally ill patients with 6 months or less to live, to be given a dose of lethal drugs. However, a different form of "assisted suicide" may bring involuntary manslaughter charges. In a recent case, a teenage girl has been charged for her alleged involvement in encouraging a depressed friend to take his own life.

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