Criminal Law Case Summaries

Expungement – Criminal Record (CORI) – Record of 209A Restraining Order

In a case published on the front page of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, (September 11, 2006, No. 16-019-06), Mr. Arnel argued over the course of two separate hearings and won a motion to expunge the record of his client’s 209A restraining order despite strong opposition from the Office of the Commissioner of Probation.  The ruling is believed to be the first time a record of a 209A restraining order has ever been expunged by a Massachusetts trial court.  It was previously long held that a judge had no inherent authority to expunge the record of a 209A order since the order was not part of the criminal record system but rather the statewide domestic violence registry system.  The court agreed with Mr. Arnel and, after finding that fraud was present, held that failing to expunge would allow false information to remain in the record.  Mr. Arnel stated that when he initially questioned the Commissioner’s office as to “why they would oppose something that was so strikingly unfair to my victimized client, they replied that they were preserving the integrity of the record.”  Mr. Arnel angrily responded “by asking them how do you preserve the integrity of something that has no integrity to begin with?”  The consequences of this ruling are far reaching because it more so opens the floodgates to past, present and future aggrieved defendants who are the victims of a 209A order obtained by fraudulent means.  The landmark case is Chamberlain v. Khanilian.

In the accompanying criminal case, Mr. Arnel also had the assault and battery charged dismissed.  By way of written motion, he then persuaded both the prosecutor and judge to remand the matter to a criminal clerk’s show-cause hearing, which is seldom allowed after a defendant has already been arraigned for a felony charge.  By successfully procuring the remand, as opposed to the customary entry of dismissal upon the court docket sheet, the felony charge was effectively expunged from the client’s CORI after the case was remanded.  The clerk magistrate then, upon a separate hearing and oral argument, agreed with Mr. Arnel and ruled that there was no probable cause to issue a criminal complaint based upon the evidence.  Mr. Arnel had therefore brought the case full cycle and preserved his client’s record in its entirety.  This was critical to the client who was then a second-year pharmacy school student in a mandatory six-year program. Any entry of a record whatsoever would likely result in being expelled from the school or other potential catastrophic consequences. It is commonly known that employers in the highly competitive drug industry necessarily scrutinize prospective employees and would likely not hire an individual who has either a criminal or restraining order record.

Child Rape

The defendant was a five-foot-eight-inch, three hundred pound New Jersey resident and the 18-year-old male cousin of the alleged 6-year-old female victim.  The little girl was stunningly beautiful and extraordinarily charming, superbly groomed, extremely well versed with well above average intelligence and from a considerably upper middle class family and neighborhood.  The lengthy case investigation was tedious and emotionally taxing and the grueling trial lasted three complete days.  Following opening statements and the prosecution’s direct examination, Mr. Arnel cross-examined numerous witnesses including police officers, a private investigator, the girl’s mother, her father and, incredibly and ever so delicately, the 6-year-old child herself.  Extreme caution and psychological reserve was required with the young child so as not to alienate the jury against the defense.  If convicted, Mr. Arnel’s client faced three consecutive sentences of twenty years to life in a maximum security state prison.  Closing arguments were made and the jury then deliberated for eight hours over a span of two days before finding the defendant not guilty and acquitting him on all three indictments.

Rape

The defendant was a Russian immigrant and a self-employed flooring installer whose application for permanent residency in the United States was pending with federal authorities.  The alleged victim was an adult female Russian citizen who did not apply for U.S. citizenship but rather intended to return to Russia.  Prior to the alleged incident, the woman curiously held herself out as the defendant’s girlfriend.  Mr. Arnel investigated the seemingly strange circumstances and subsequently discovered information not originally disclosed to his client; that she was actively married and customarily resided full-time with her husband and their two minor children in Russia.  The alleged victim’s brother-in-law was a Russian born United States citizen who both resided and worked in Massachusetts as a computer programmer.  He owned a home in an upper-class community and proudly considered himself to be a “white collar” worker and superior to his “blue collar” counterpart.  Without ever revealing to the defendant his reasons, his visiting sister-in-law’s relationship with the defendant was extremely bothersome.  He more so intensely disliked the defendant and, immediately after the incident described in the following paragraph, convinced his sister-in-law to help him maliciously “set up” the defendant so that neither permanent residency nor citizenship would ever be granted to him.

The woman later accused the defendant of raping her in an apartment unit in Lynn sometime after a New Year’s Eve party and also, in notably vague terms, alleged that the defendant somehow struck her to which there were police photographs depicting a black eye.  Curiously on New Year’s Day, she then accompanied the defendant alone in his van to return back to her Sharon home before the brother-in-law reported the alleged sexual assault to the police.  The defendant asserted that the sex was consensual and that he had for months been having sex with his purported “girlfriend.”  He further claimed that when the “passed out” apartment lessee-witness awoke to discover them fornicating on the very same bed, the startled woman hurriedly jumped up and almost immediately struck her eye against an upright standing lamp as she embarrassedly ran to the bathroom.  The witness claimed that he awoke to the sound of the woman’s “pleasurable” cries, that both individuals were fully disrobed, and that she was on top of the defendant at the time.  By using the prosecution’s own eyewitness, Mr. Arnel successfully convinced both the woman and the prosecution to dismiss the rape charge by skillfully bargaining for the lesser included offense of assault and battery to be continued without a finding for one year. The entire case was dismissed a year later and the defendant’s record of criminal convictions remained unblemished.  Mr. Arnel’s client is today a proud citizen of the United States.

Sex Offense – Indecent Assault and Battery on Child Under 14

The defendant lived in a mobile home park in Attleboro with his girlfriend and her four children.  He was a garbage man and financially supported them all for several years.  His company eventually went out of business and he lost his job.  This greatly exacerbated the previously existing emotional turmoil in the home.  The defendant’s girlfriend was now more so upset with him because of his reduced financial inability to provide for her family’s needs and his adamant refusal to buy Christmas presents for her and the four children.  The alleged victim, the girlfriend’s 13-year-old daughter, had previously and continuously been criticized, screamed at and humiliated by her mother.  When the abuse worsened, the girl ran away and left a lengthy scribbled letter on the kitchen table that depicted much of the mother’s abusive treatment toward her and stated that she couldn’t take being bullied anymore.  It was also messily scribbled on the back of the letter, almost as an after-thought, that the defendant had molested her.  There was no other mention of sexual assault anywhere in the letter.  Police immediately located the girl and charged the defendant with one count of sexual assault.  The defendant denied the charge and moved out to reside with his own elderly mother.

Devoid of income and displaced from the home, the defendant was now useless to the girl’s mother and the spiteful woman relentlessly fueled the prosecution.  Mr. Arnel investigated the matter and disturbingly discovered that seemingly many pieces of the puzzle did not fit the alleged crime.  Further speculating that the runaway note was possibly written by multiple individuals, Mr. Arnel retained a handwriting expert and filed a motion to compel numerous handwriting samples from the girl to be excised in a controlled environment.  Though not fatal to the prosecution, the findings were understatedly troublesome and significantly diminished the credibility of both the girl and her mother.  It was established that the scribbled note was not only written by two different individuals, but that the girl supplemented her original writing at a significantly later time, suggesting that she could have planned to run away prior to any alleged molestation.  Notwithstanding and because the mother continued to push the prosecution, the case went to trial until the mother finally relented, and Mr. Arnel convinced the prosecution to dismiss the felony charge as the first jury pool entered the courtroom.  The defendant was soon thereafter employed by another trash collection company.

Sex Offense – Indecent Assault and Battery on Child Under 14

The defendant was charged with the three counts of indecent assault and battery on a 13-year-old girl with whom he had previously been very close to.  The prosecution sought incarceration that would also require the defendant to register as a level 3 sex offender.  The defendant denied any wrongdoing.  He asserted that the girl’s mother had coerced her to falsely accuse him and that he was being set-up and punished by the mother for keeping from her the estate belongings of the girl’s physically incapacitated father.  He also believed that the depressed and impressionable girl was an easy brain-washed target for the mother as the girl had suddenly soured on their increasingly one-sided friendship when the defendant disapproved of two of her recent promiscuous encounters and also refused to give her any more money or gifts or otherwise condone her unreasonable expectations previously condoned by his continuous acquiescence to hopefully cause the girl less despair about both her father and her self-professed hopeless life.  The girl’s parents were not married.  The defendant shared an apartment with the girl’s father who was severely burned and disfigured in the now infamous Station Nightclub fire in Rhode Island.  For a significant time during the criminal prosecution, the father remained in a coma.  The mother and an aunt also alleged that they witnessed the defendant inappropriately interacting with the girl on several occasions in the father’s hospital room, yet neither ever admonished the defendant.

By filing a continuing series of strategically placed discovery motions that resulted in numerous hearings being stretched out over a lengthy two-year period, Mr. Arnel successfully broke the previously strong resolve of the girl, the mother and the entire prosecution.  The special sex offense prosecutor, now fearful of losing the complaining witnesses to Father Time, reluctantly agreed to amend the criminal complaint and reduce the felony charges to misdemeanor assault and battery.  By way of a plea bargain on the lesser offense, the defendant wisely avoided the potential catastrophic consequences of an unpredictable jury trial.  He gladly accepted probation for two years and was otherwise spared the embarrassment and burden of potentially having to register as a sex offender.  In an ironic twist of fate, the special prosecutor immediately vacated the position to accept a job with a private law firm concentrating in the areas of real estate and “estate” planning.

Sex Offense – Indecent Assault and Battery on Person Over 14

The defendant was a young black male who worked as a nurse’s health aide at a hospital.  The victim was a young white female coworker who accused him of several indecent sexual assaults while at work.  Mr. Arnel investigated the woman’s criminal history and psychiatric background and subpoenaed various employment records to uncover numerous inconsistencies in her allegations.  The defendant and the woman did not simultaneously work some of the days that he allegedly perpetrated upon her.  On other occasions they were either assigned to different floors or separate wings of the hospital and had no access to each other.  On one occasion the woman’s purported loud screams were curiously and inexplicably unheard by anyone despite records indicating numerous employees in the vicinity.  Yet another allegation was discredited when records showed the defendant physically present in a different unit from the woman at the specified time.  Mr. Arnel also subpoenaed certain voice mail recordings left by the woman, copies of which hospital executives had previously refused to voluntarily produce being fearful of a threatened and anticipated civil lawsuit brought by the woman against it.  The numerous recordings were extremely lengthy and disturbing wherein the woman continuously and senselessly babbled on about being discriminated against and accused different hospital employees of, amongst other bizarre things, belonging to a cult and drinking blood.  Mr. Arnel notified the prosecution which nonetheless remained in a stranglehold by its own debilitating policies and by its alleged victim’s unwavering reluctance to withdraw her seemingly preposterous allegations.  Mr. Arnel prepared for trial and caused trial summons to be served upon the defense’s first 15 of 25 potential witnesses.  The sexual assault unit convened with the now discredited woman and finally convinced her to execute an affidavit indicating her willingness to abandon her prosecutorial whim.  On the eve of trial, Mr. Arnel and his client learned of the decision to nolle prosequi (a Latin term meaning “not to wish to prosecute”) the case.

Sex Offense – Possession of Child Pornography

In a case that made local and national newspaper headlines, the defendant’s mother and sisters retained Mr. Arnel to diffuse a difficult and disturbing situation.  The arrest was the result of a major “sting” operation and claimed by both the offices of the Attorney General and the District Attorney to be the largest child pornography case to date in Massachusetts history.  If indicted, the 47-year-old married father would potentially face several thousand counts of possession of child pornography, numerous counts of dissemination of child pornography, and possibly life imprisonment.  The defense’s primary goal was to broker a plea bargain in the district court so that the prosecution would not otherwise seek certain indictment in the superior court.  Mr. Arnel’s leverage and stranglehold was that the Attorney General’s “Corruption, Fraud and Computer Crime Division” was then severely under-manned and hamstrung with an inundation of these types of computer cases.  Mr. Arnel surmised that they would likely seize an opportunity to expediently reduce an increasingly burdensome and unrealistic caseload, especially a case of such notoriety that would surely consume tremendous prosecutorial man hours, expert witness testimony, and other court and taxpayer resources.  The police and the prosecution knew that the defendant was a former alter boy who was molested as a child by his priest and then continued to have relations with him from age 13 to age 22.  They also knew that the defendant had a history of psychiatric illness and resulting hospitalization.  Now presenting as a troubled family man, Mr. Arnel would have to play the sympathy card.

In a nutshell, the defendant downloaded thousands of sexually explicit images to both his work and home computers.  A significantly large number of these images were visual materials of children depicted in sexual conduct and were uploaded to two separate websites.  The defendant also used a Yahoo! “Photo bucket” for photo sharing.  The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (“NCMEC”) is a national clearinghouse that gathers information about missing and sexually exploited children for law enforcement use.  In this case, an NCMEC CyberTipline Report was generated and the information was forwarded to law enforcement for investigation and disposition.  The Massachusetts State Police obtained a warrant that ordered Yahoo! to produce the defendant’s subscriber information in accordance with state and federal law, including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. §2701 et seq.).  Yahoo! provided certain specific information that clearly incriminated the defendant including (1) the User Profile, as produced by the Yahoo! Account Management Tool; (2) the dates, times and Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses for log-in attempts for the Yahoo! account specified in the search warrant to the extent available in the system; and (3) upload information related to the Yahoo! Photos and Yahoo! Briefcase contents for the specified account to the extent available from the system.  The Massachusetts State Police thereafter peacefully executed a search warrant of the defendant’s home, seized the computer, and arrested the defendant.

The defendant confessed to the crimes and also admitted that he stored the images on compact discs.  Police reported that he also told them that, in an attempt to hide the images from anyone in his house or office, he would delete the Temporary Internet Files to “cover his tracks.”  The defendant did not know that so-called deleted files have been recovered by law enforcement officials years, and even decades, after they have been supposedly deleted provided the integrity of the computer system was maintained.  The files are never truly deleted but rather additional storage space is carved out.  State computer forensics experts eventually extracted the physical evidence from the defendant’s computer.  The defendant was arrested and held without bail.

Mr. Arnel proved correct in his initial assessment of the state’s willingness to compromise, though initially the road negotiated was a treacherous one.  In agreeing to stay off certain indictment and otherwise allow the district court to retain jurisdiction, the prosecution however wanted the maximum sentence of 2-½ years in the house of correction to be followed by 10 years of supervised probation.  Diligently working with the entire family’s blessings, Mr. Arnel finally convinced the prosecution to seek 2-½ years with 1 year to serve forthwith, and the balance suspended for a supervisory probation term of 5 years.  Mr. Arnel, on the other hand, would unrealistically request a straight guilty finding with only 3 years of supervised probation and special conditions in the hope of convincing the trial judge to broker something in between.  After two sentencing arguments in which the judge likely believed that Mr. Arnel was quite possibly delusional with regard to the tender of plea, the judge accepted the prosecution’s recommendation but cut off 3 entire years (from 5 years to 2) from their recommended post-parole probationary period.  Exactly 14 days later, the defendant’s sister mailed a thank you card from Georgia that thanked Mr. Arnel for his efforts in minimizing the otherwise potential catastrophic consequences for her brother and for the almost lost opportunity for the family to obtain professional help for him.

Sex Offense – Lewdness Open and Gross

The defendant was charged with exposing himself to a female neighbor who lived in his apartment complex in Massachusetts.  The two knew each other and occasionally took walks together in the park and would sit and talk.  Their apartments were directly across from each other.  She alleged that he had on numerous occasions stood at his balcony sliding glass door and masturbated when he knew she was at her balcony door.  She claimed to have ignored this behavior for sometime but could no longer.  The defendant admitted to the allegations but believed that it was a mutual and impliedly consensual game of sexual perversion between them and that she had never before brought it up or asked him to stop.  The woman’s undisputed veracity combined with the defendant’s confession was sufficient to otherwise convict the defendant of the sex offenses.  Considering the prior relationship and the woman’s inexplicable delay in reporting the crimes amongst other things, Mr. Arnel cunningly convinced the prosecution to persuade the woman to agree to pretrial probation for one year provided his client complete ten therapeutic counseling sessions and stay away from and have no contact with the woman, which was agreeable since the defendant had by then relocated to Maine.

Sex Offense – Prostitution – Sexual Conduct for Fee

Police received information that there was ongoing prostitution activity at a hotel.  Two females had been posting free classified advertisements and suggestive pictures on CraigsList.com, a commonly used way for prostitutes to advertise for sexual services.  As part of a “sting” operation, a detective called the listed telephone number and arrived at the hotel room.  After a monitored series of negotiations for sexual services, other detectives entered the room and arrested the 19-year-old defendant.  They also seized numerous notebooks, credit card slips and the defendant’s laptop computer as evidence that she used it to set up her appointments and to advertise on the internet.  Numerous condom wrappers were observed in the trash.  The defenseless defendant stated that she would plead guilty.  Mr. Arnel, however, recognized that his client had no prior criminal history and saved his young client from being convicted by skillfully negotiating with a particularly known liberal prosecutor.  The case was continued without a finding for a period of six months with unsupervised probation and minimal court costs.

Sex Offense - Sex Offender Fail to Register - Probation Violation and Surrender

The 42-year-old defendant was previously convicted of a sex offense in the superior court and was required to register with the Sex Offense Registry Board ("SORB") pursuant to the mandates of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 6, Sections 178C-178P (the "statute"). Failure to register cases are prosecuted with great fervor under G.L. c. 6, 178H and the consequences of a guilty finding can be severe with the possibility of lengthy incarceration followed by lifetime community parole ("LCP"). The requirements imposed by the Parole Board on sex offenders subject to LCP can be very restrictive and onerous and last a lifetime. As a result, a defendant may have a hard time complying and any violation may result in the increase of the underlying sentence. For this reason, avoiding the imposition of this enhanced sentence is crucial.

The statute required the defendant to register at all of his home addresses, work addresses, and at any "institution of higher learning" that he either worked at or attended as a student either part-time or full-time. The statute further defined an institution of higher learning as a "post secondary institution." The Code of Massachusetts Regulations ("CMR"), specifically 803 CMR 1.03, more so defined it as "any public or private post secondary educational, vocational, professional or trade institution, college, university, or school." The defendant, a member of a local Union, had indisputably registered at his home address and two separate work addresses but was charged in the district court with failing to register at a local Union building (a "training center") where he was attending a weekly two-hour training course. As a result of the new charge taken in the district court, the superior court asserted that the defendant had violated his probation and issued him a notice of probation surrender on the underlying sentence where it would seek the imposition of an enhanced sentence that would be additional to any sentence that the defendant would receive in the district court.

Mr. Arnel advised the defendant to immediately register at the Union building location so that he would not incur duplicative charges. Despite that the building was arguably a vocational or trade institution, Mr. Arnel stubbornly refused to concede the same and prepared a motion to dismiss wherein he argued that there was no "probable cause" to arrest the defendant in the first instance as he had not committed a crime. Despite the district court's adverse ruling on this motion and subsequently as the case continued to spiral toward inevitable trial, Mr. Arnel continued to relentlessly argue to the prosecution that the Union "training center" did not meet the statutory definition of an institute for higher learning and alternatively, even if it did (and it did), that the layperson defendant could not reasonably be expected to have had either actual or constructive knowledge of such considering that even the respective so-called expert attorneys were now grappling with the legislative intent and statutory interpretation. More so, Mr. Arnel pounded home the defendant's clear lack of criminal intent in calling for the prosecution to exercise both common sense and decency in acknowledging that the defendant had already registered at his home and two other work addresses, as well as at other past job sites. Finally, Mr. Arnel emphasized the defendant's good faith as indicated by his immediate subsequent registration at the Union training center. Under these mitigating circumstances, the special prosecutor still stubbornly only offered the defendant a continuance without a finding and claimed that her reigning supervisor had otherwise directed her to prosecute the case to its onerous and perilous conclusion.

Despite the immovable object that had become the prosecution, the irresistible force that is Mr. Arnel would also not budge. Prior to the scheduled trial in the district court, a full evidentiary probation surrender hearing was held in the superior court on the issue of whether or not the defendant had violated the conditions of his probation. Mr. Arnel vehemently argued and successfully convinced the superior court judge that the Union training center was not a location for which the defendant was statutorily required to register and that the defendant clearly did not otherwise "knowingly" fail to register. The judge wholeheartedly agreed with both the principles of legal theory and the practical logic that Mr. Arnel voraciously applied in his oral argument, scoffed at the District Attorney's rationale to prosecute the new charge, denied probable cause to find that a violation of probation had occurred, and restored the defendant's probation to stand as before in the interest of both fairness and justice.

The significantly greater half of the battle having now been won, Mr. Arnel then took aim at his target to end the war when he delivered the superior court's ruling and findings to the prosecution. The District Attorney was forced to consider that the superior court judge in another county, being the very same judge who had authority to impose any enhanced sentence, had disregarded the district court's previous (and incomplete) adverse ruling on the motion to dismiss and, even prior to a verdict, ruled in the defendant's favor with regard to the superior court proceedings. Shortly thereafter, the district court case was finally dismissed.

Assault and Battery – Domestic

The defendant was a 32-year-old recent law school graduate who was charged with domestic assault and battery upon his second wife.  The wife believed that he was having an extramarital affair and angrily confronted him when he returned home five hours late.  She grabbed a large glass squirrel figurine from the fireplace mantle and violently threw it at the defendant, striking him on the right elbow as he shielded his face, and then repeatedly punched him so that he grabbed both her wrists to push her to the floor and quickly exited the apartment.  The defendant unwisely walked to the local police station and reported the occurrence when a lump on his right elbow “about the size of a softball” was noted.  The police drove the defendant back home and asked him to wait in the cruiser until they spoke to his wife to keep the peace.  The police then slyly arrested the wife to the defendant’s surprise and dismay.  She complained of some pain in her wrists when handcuffed and stated that the defendant had grabbed her wrists earlier.  The police then arrested the defendant as well and charged both of them with domestic assault and battery.

The District Attorney’s office unfairly dismissed the case against the wife and instead focused its prosecution upon the defendant.  It reasoned that he had a well known and highly publicized propensity for violence against women, citing only an isolated incident several years earlier when the defendant was in his mid-twenties and convicted of similar offenses allegedly perpetrated against his first wife.  In that instance, the first wife accused him of pushing her during a heated argument and then kicking her in the buttocks.  At the time the first wife was a dentist and ten years his senior and the defendant worked full-time days and attended part-time evening law school classes.  To mitigate his increasingly unaffordable legal expenses and unavailable time, he pled guilty and was sentenced to five weekend detentions so that he could successfully complete his law studies.  It was a year featuring numerous nationwide headlines on domestic violence and the defendant’s first wife assured that the incident spotlight was aired prime time and broadcasted on the television shows 20/20 and 60 Minutes.  His resulting embarrassment and shame could not be overstated.

The defendant and his second wife reconciled their differences.  The District Attorney’s office, however, continued in the relentless pursuit of its version of so-called “justice” despite the second wife’s admissions of wrongdoing and overly aggressive behavior and her repeated requests to dismiss the case.  Mr. Arnel asserted self-defense on his client’s behalf and advised him to decline a proposed plea bargain that would further tarnish his already tainted criminal record, certainly exclude him from admission to practice law, and additionally result in some incarceration.  The prosecution summonsed the wife to trial and Mr. Arnel strategically decoyed and advised her not to invoke her constitutional privilege to refuse to testify as he planned to use her testimony to establish her as the aggressor and to develop his client’s self-defense theory.  The case proceeded to trial and the defendant was found not guilty and acquitted.

Assault and Battery – Dangerous Weapon – Motor Vehicle – Domestic

The defendant was a 42-year-old divorced father of two young boys who had no prior police involvement.  He returned his sons to his ex-wife’s house at the previously agreed delivery time to find that she was not there.  He called her cellular phone and she stated that she was in a store and that he’d just have to wait.  The defendant owned a local restaurant and was now extremely late for his morning breakfast rush.  The mother pulled into the driveway forty-five minutes later and the boys immediately ran into the house.  She then blocked the driveway exit while insisting on speaking with the defendant who steadfastly declined because, amongst other reasons, she had knowingly made him so late for work.  She quickly snatched the sunglasses from his face through the open window, leaving a clearly visible scratch.  She mockingly glared at him and then hand slapped and threw her body against the front end of his vehicle and began screaming hysterically that he had tried to run her over.   The older of the two boys, age six, was by now standing at the front door of the house but directly behind his father’s vehicle so that his view was impeded, but he clearly heard his mother’s false accusation.  The mother threatened to call the police if the defendant did not exit the vehicle to talk and he defiantly told her to do so.  The defendant waited for the police to avoid the embarrassment of them otherwise inevitably coming to his restaurant and having his regular customers witness his possible arrest. The older boy also overheard his mother on the telephone telling the police that the defendant had tried to run her over.

The police arrived and politely questioned the defendant and then, incredibly, the six-year-old son.  The boy parroted his mother and stated that, “Daddy tried to run over Mommy.”  The police calmly explained that, under the circumstances, they were regrettably required to arrest the defendant.  They handcuffed him and brought him to the police station where he was booked and charged with the felony crime of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; to wit, a motor vehicle.  Mr. Arnel negotiated with the prosecution and, as was within his rights to interview any potential prosecutorial witness, successfully convinced the mother to reconsider her overly zealous position and to also consider asserting her constitutional right not to incriminate or perjure herself by sworn testimony with regard to, amongst other things, her own scratch-reaping physical assault and battery upon the defendant.  The case was soon thereafter dismissed and the client’s otherwise impeccable record was preserved.

Assault and Battery – Dangerous Weapon – Malicious Damage to Motor Vehicle

The defendant was a 40-year-old Russian immigrant resident who was seeking U.S. citizenship.  Two men from a towing company had towed his girlfriend’s car from her apartment building parking lot for supposedly parking in a prohibited area.  A week later, the defendant and his girlfriend’s 16-year-old son drove into the same parking lot to deliver a large chair when they saw the two men again searching for suspect cars.  The defendant shouted something to the men in Russian and parked his van next to their tow truck while the two men continued on foot looking for potential violators.  The defendant claimed that he was conversing with the boy and purposely waited for the two men to first return to the tow truck before he parked in front of the apartment since he was fearful that they’d tow his van while he was downstairs in the home.  The two men allegedly heard a hissing sound and returned to find their front passenger tire was slashed.  They confronted the defendant, who had just unloaded the chair and was now drinking a beer.  A yelling match ensued and the defendant denied any involvement.  The defendant and the boy claimed that the men said that they were going to damage the defendant’s van causing the defendant to quickly walk to his van while the two men quickly followed him.  The two men later told police that the defendant pushed them out of the way before departing for his van.  One of the men called the police emergency line when the defendant attempted to back out and leave.  The man alleged that the defendant then came straight at him and tried to run him over and struck his upper right arm with the side view mirror, though he sustained no visible injuries.  The police actually listened to the man while the alleged incident occurred.  The defendant contrarily claimed that both men were leaning against and rocking his van from side to side and that the aggrieved man had slapped the back side of his mirror with his hand and shattered the glass.  All of the above occurred within the boy’s presence as he had called the police emergency line on his cellular phone while the men were following the defendant to report that he “thought that there was going to be a problem.”

The police arrived, smelled the odor of alcohol on the defendant’s breath, and opined that the defendant was somewhat intoxicated.  A box cutting knife and a Swiss Army knife were seized from inside the defendant’s van.  The defendant, however, was a self-employed carpenter and his van was full of many tools.  The defendant was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (a motor vehicle), separate counts of assault and battery upon each of the men, and malicious damage to a motor vehicle.  Besides facing potential incarceration, the defendant would lose his driver’s license for one year if convicted of damaging the tow truck and would otherwise be deported from the country if convicted of any of the felony charges.  Mr. Arnel demanded that the prosecution provide him with copies of the police turret (“911”) tapes from both the alleged victim and the boy.  Though Mr. Arnel produced the boy’s phone records that clearly showed the 911 call being made and indicating the time of the call, the police only produced the alleged victim’s call information and mysteriously could find neither the 911 tape nor the CAD Incident Report pertaining to the boy’s call.  It was critical for the defense to establish that the boy had called first.  The police offered that the boy’s cellular call was probably lost when it transferred from the state police to the local police.  Mr. Arnel successfully rebuked this reasoning, raising the judge’s and prosecution’s collective eyebrows, when he provided a free education as to exactly how the Eyretel system worked and recorded even with a two-way line.  Mr. Arnel also gathered evidence of hand and fingerprints from the backside of the mirror and consulted with a body shop mechanic who would testify as a defense expert witness that the damage to the mirror was consistent with the defendant’s and the boy’s anticipated testimony.

The defendant could ill-afford a felony conviction but Mr. Arnel, with his client’s consent, nonetheless pushed the case to a jury trial and successfully called the prosecution’s bluff when it broke on the day of trial and offered the defendant pre-trial probation for only 6 months instead of risking the catastrophic consequences of a potential adverse jury verdict.  Both the defendant’s criminal record and driver’s license (and livelihood) remained intact and he is today a proud citizen of the United States.  Ironically, the victim of the alleged vehicular assault, who was also the owner of the tow truck company, retained Mr. Arnel’s legal services shortly after with regard to a separate and distinct matter.

Assault and Battery – Dangerous Weapon – Disorderly Conduct

In a well publicized local case, the defendant was one of twelve individuals that law enforcement later dubbed to be the “Sharon Twelve.”  Numerous young adults were at an outside party at the high tension wires in a sparsely wooded area.  A group of twelve males encountered two allegedly drunken older adult males in a pickup truck.  Sometime after the younger males determined that the older males had endangered them by certain actions taken with the pickup truck, a verbal altercation eventually occurred between one of the older and one of the younger males.  The younger male was somehow struck in the head by a Jack Daniels bottle that came from inside the pickup truck and the police later noted a visible welt on his forehead.  The older males opportunistically attempted to play the advantageous numbers game and alleged that a melee ensued wherein they were outnumbered and beaten by all twelve of the younger males.  Ten of the younger males denied their involvement and asserted that only two of them had fought the two older males after their friend was struck by the bottle.  The friend was also admittedly one of the two involved in the fight.  Several young females confirmed this version.  The defendant denied any involvement or wrongdoing.  He had a lengthy and otherwise unfavorable criminal record of violent crimes (fights), was presently on probation for another prior incident, and could ill afford another conviction.  He purposely avoided the initial confrontation and resulting affray.  Multiple co-defendants and their respective legal counsel, the case continued over the course of numerous hearings and court proceedings until the older males finally succumbed to Mr. Arnel’s leveraging that his client would seek a criminal cross-complaint against each of them and further enlightened them to the realization that their previously undisclosed wives would likely discover their attendance at the young co-ed party.  The case against Mr. Arnel’s client, and several others, was predictably dismissed shortly thereafter while the prosecution continued with regard to several others.

Assault and Battery – Mental Health – Lack of Criminal Responsibility

The 38-year-old defendant had a history of perpetrating assaults upon others and this time undisputedly attacked another man with a screwdriver.  The unprovoked attack occurred in a supermarket while the victim was accompanied by a female companion.  The defendant had actually never before met the victim or his female companion.  The defendant had long suffered from post-traumatic delusions and physical impairment as a result of traumatic head injury, both to his frontal and rear lobes, sustained twice before in each of two separate automobile accidents.  Immediately prior to the attack, a physician had inexplicably and unnecessarily increased the defendant’s psychological medication dosage from 2 mg. to 50 mg.  Mr. Arnel procured all of the necessary medical records and demonstrative evidence.  The defendant claimed that the assault was precipitate by his memory and strong belief that the victim’s female companion was a woman who had been sexually assaulted by the victim several years earlier.  The defendant’s mental health was a key issue and asserted as an affirmative defense.  A petition to have the defendant committed for a mental health evaluation and treatment was ordered by the court.  In the interim, Mr. Arnel filed a motion to have his client evaluated by a certified forensic psychologist.  The physician opined that the defendant was eventually competent to stand trial but simultaneously lacked the criminal responsibility at the time of the attack to appreciate the consequences of his actions, thus further shoring up Mr. Arnel’s only available defense.  Mr. Arnel thereafter persuaded both the reluctant prosecutor and the judge to dismiss the criminal charge when the defendant was eventually released from the treating mental health facility.  The defendant thereafter continued to be stabilized with the properly prescribed dosages of medication and peacefully resided in his subsidized apartment without further incident.

Assault and Battery – Barroom Fight

The 35-year-old defendant was involved in a drunken barroom fight.  The bar owner, the bartender and a patron each claimed that the defendant provoked the incident by pushing his initial combatant in the chest.  He was also witnessed throwing beer bottles and beer mugs.  A beer bottle struck another man on the head that fortunately resulted in no injury.  The defendant was a large and rough individual and it took several individuals to break up the fight and subdue the defendant until police arrived.  The initial participant was a local elementary school teacher.  The man thereafter struck by the bottle was also collectively an elementary school teacher, a high school basketball coach and a college football coach.  The defendant had an extensive history of criminal convictions for similar violent crimes and, though he had never been incarcerated, he had numerous lengthy suspended sentences.  The prosecution, tiring of the defendant’s repeat acts, now sought outright incarceration.  The defendant was a union sprinkler fitter and he and his wife had just purchased a brand new house that they would surely lose if he was incarcerated.  Mr. Arnel interviewed all of the participants and witnesses.  The two alleged victims were co-workers and good friends.  Mr. Arnel successfully convinced them that his client was remorseful, drunk and had forevermore sworn off drinking alcohol so that they eventually, for a variety of reasons, declined to testify in the prosecution.  The prosecution reluctantly dismissed the case and the client fortunately kept his freedom, his house and, quite possibly, his wife.

Assault and Battery – Barroom Fight – Professional Athlete - Mental Health Issues

The defendant was a retired professional athlete who played NHL hockey with the Montreal Canadians and also played professional hockey in a European league.  He had also coached high school hockey at a prestigious private academy.  He was an extremely large and rugged individual who suffered from a bipolar disorder and was manic at the time of the alleged incident.  It was Super Bowl Sunday and, according to witnesses, the defendant had been sipping a cup of coffee all day alone in the bar when suddenly and without provocation he grabbed a bar stool and began swinging it wildly, striking a female bartender.  The defendant irrationally claimed that a large group of men in knitted football hats were circling and about to attack him and that he acted in self defense.  Two of the bar owners, one of them quite large himself, were punched before managing to hold down the defendant until police arrived.  The defendant was charged with several counts of assault and battery and once felony count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon; to wit, a bar stool.  He had a long criminal record of similar violent crimes and convictions including a well-publicized prior incident where he cleared out an entire barroom with a hockey stick.

The defendant was brought to court the following day and he was immediately committed pursuant to a mental health petition for 30 days of evaluation and treatment. The defendant’s father had recently passed away and the family estate planning attorney conferred with Mr. Arnel regarding the defendant’s unfortunate mental health history.  An otherwise highly intelligent, jovial and likable man, the defendant was manic and unmanageable when he was without his prescribed Lithium.  Mr. Arnel interviewed the irrational and extremely combative defendant at the Bridgewater State Hospital and, after ten days, finally convinced him to take his Lithium so that he could be released and safely returned to society, obtain necessary psychiatric care, and ably participate in his criminal defense.  Having achieved these seemingly small but monumental steps, Mr. Arnel thereafter successfully convinced the complaining witnesses, the prosecution and the judge alike that the defendant’s behavior was a drastic product of his mental illness and inappropriate medication levels and it was agreed that the case would be continued without a finding for one year provided that the defendant continue with his present psychiatric counseling and take his prescribed medications as directed.

Assault and Battery – Clerk-Magistrate’s Show-Cause Hearing

The client and another man were co-workers at a cemetery.  The client was sitting in the cab of his backhoe when the man (the “aggressor”) ran toward him screaming with his fists clenched.  When the aggressor jumped up into his cab, the client instinctively grabbed him in restraint and both men toppled from the cab to the ground.  No punches were ever thrown.  Two other male employees witnessed the incident and immediately separated the combatants.  The next day the aggressor went to the police station and complained that he was attacked by the client who allegedly put him in a headlock and repeatedly punched him, breaking both his nose and eye socket.  Police noted significant bruising on and around his nose.  The client received notice to appear at a clerk-magistrate’s show-cause hearing to determine if criminal process would issue against him and immediately retained Mr. Arnel to represent his legal interests.

The client was a large and imposing individual, though a hard working family man with no prior criminal involvement.  The aggressor, on the other hand, had both a history of criminal violence and mental illness.  He was twice the subject of recent 30-day civil commitments to the Bridgewater State Hospital for observation and treatment.  He also had instigated several recent altercations with other co-workers not involved in this matter.  While the two eyewitnesses listened in disbelief at the clerk’s hearing, the aggressor incredibly testified that the client actually jumped into his backhoe cab to assault him.  It was also learned, as the aggressor’s attorney was in attendance, that he had made a Worker’s Compensation claim as a result of the alleged injuries sustained during the scope of his employment.  Despite the unbiased and favorable testimony of the two eyewitnesses, the clerk magistrate was nevertheless inclined to find probable cause against Mr. Arnel’s client and issue a criminal complaint once the aggressor’s attorney presented medical records that evidenced a broken nose.  Mr. Arnel quickly requested a brief continuance to examine and investigate this newly disclosed evidence and, acutely aware of the aggressor’s criminal record, also assisted his client in bringing an application for criminal complaint (a “cross-complaint”) against the aggressor so that the cases would be consolidated and simultaneously heard during the next hearing.

Subsequent investigation unveiled the disturbing fact that the aggressor had actually broken his nose two weeks earlier upon hitting his face against his car windshield while driving drunk.  No medical records existed to evidence that he ever sustained a broken eye socket.  Mr. Arnel also communicated with both the aggressor’s brother and nephew who each confirmed the investigatory findings and further detailed the family’s difficulties in coping with the aggressor’s continuing troublesome mental health issues.  It was now apparent that the aggressor engaged in insurance fraud in making his Worker’s Compensation claim and his attorney immediately advised him to return any benefits paid and withdrew his representation.

Mr. Arnel knew that the aggressor could ill afford to continue in his pursuit of the bogus complaint against his client.  First, the magistrate would have to find probable cause on the cross-complaint and the aggressor would once again become a criminal defendant in a court that was extremely familiar with his mental health history and propensity for violence.  Second, he would surely be prosecuted considering the unfavorable testimony against him by the two eyewitnesses and disclosure of his fraudulent Worker’s Compensation claim.  Third, he would likely be incarcerated considering his unsavory criminal record.  Finally, he would knowingly place himself in harm’s way to be prosecuted and again incarcerated for the separate crime of insurance fraud.  Mr. Arnel easily convinced both the aggressor’s brother and nephew to disclose the entire truth to the clerk magistrate.  The parties agreed, with the magistrate’s consent, to excuse the aggressor’s appearance at the upcoming hearing provided that he execute a sworn affidavit disclosing the truth and requesting that criminal process not be issued against either individual.  The client’s criminal record remained intact and unblemished.

Armed and Masked Robbery

The 27-year-old female defendant and her female acquaintance were both heroin addicted and using heavily together at the time.  The defendant drove the woman to a gas station-mini mart store for cigarettes when the woman told her that she was going to rob the store.  The defendant later claimed that she thought the woman was only joking.  The woman, however, donned a mask and robbed the store clerk at gun point.  The woman then brought a bag of stolen money back to the car and offered the defendant half for drugs if she remained silent.  They departed, bought and used drugs, and went home.

Three months later the police questioned the defendant as part of a separate criminal investigation involving stolen checks when they coerced her to confess to the armed robbery.  During the recorded police interview, the defendant was emotionally upset, repeatedly crying, sobbing at times and inaudible at others, periodically mumbling and outright babbling, oftentimes nonsensical in her responses and seemingly incapable of focusing on some of the specific questions.  The police knew that she was in a needle exchange program and had a gram-and-a-half-a-day heroin habit.  They also suspected that she had ingested heroin immediately prior to the interview and it was also later discovered that she had also ingested sixteen Xanax pills.  The interviewing detective continually told the defendant, amongst numerous other false things, that he knew she robbed the store and had clear surveillance photos of her car, and that he knew she had a bad drug habit and promised to get her “court mandated” rehab if she confessed to the crime.  The defendant also told him that she was a “raging drug addict.”  The very next day the court ordered a civil commitment of the defendant under a Petition for Commitment of Alleged Alcohol or Substance Abuser pursuant to M.G.L. Chapter 123, §35.  An entire day after her alleged confession, the defendant was still so drug intoxicated upon her arrival at the Dimock Community Health Center that she was instead refused admittance and delivered by ambulance for overnight observation at the Boston Medical Center before being admitted the following day.

A grand jury indicted the defendant on felony charges of armed and masked robbery and conspiracy.  The prosecution already knew the identity of the defendant’s co-conspirator but lacked sufficient evidence to prosecute and could not otherwise indict based solely upon the statements of the other co-conspirator.  It therefore required the defendant’s actual testimony against her accomplice and initially offered her a shorter state prison sentence for her damaging testimony.  The other woman associated with a notorious drug crowd and the now sober defendant knew that the crowd would retaliate, so she fearfully declined to testify.

Mr. Arnel repeatedly listened to the recorded interview and independently produced a certified transcript of the same.  He procured the forensic psychologist’s §35 court report and both the BMC and Dimock treatment records.  Mr. Arnel then crafted a lengthy motion to suppress evidence wherein he in part opined that the defendant’s Miranda rights had been violated and further that her statements were considerably involuntary since they were in large part the product of intoxication.  Upon hearing and oral argument, the court agreed and allowed the motion to suppress the confession and thus the prosecution’s only real evidence.  The prosecution was thereafter compelled to reluctantly dismiss the case.  The defendant was rehabilitated, moved in with her mother, and ironically got a telephone job as a police fundraiser.

Stalking

The defendant was a young appearing 20-year-old black male who was a friend of a very mature looking near 17-year-old white female.  They also had several friends in common and hung out in the same crowd.  Despite that a romantic relationship between the two was never established, the girl’s stepmother told police that she was not pleased that her stepdaughter was having a relationship with the defendant even though she purportedly told the girl otherwise.  The stepmother also told police that she and her husband had told the defendant several times to stop calling the girl at their home.  The girl, however, never complained and wanted to remain friendly with the defendant.  The stepmother eventually caused the defendant to be charged with the crime of stalking.

Mr. Arnel evaluated the girl’s social situation and carefully crafted a motion to dismiss the complaint.  Without the necessity of a hearing, he first convinced the prosecution that the allegations did not even meet the required elements of the stalking statute itself.  He further convinced the prosecution that the stepmother herself could not be considered to be representative of the complaining witness-victim as she was neither the biological mother nor had custody or guardianship and, therefore, had no “standing” to act on the girl’s behalf.  In fact, the girl at the time resided with her biological mother who took no issue with the defendant.  The case was dismissed and, fashionably similar to the Elvis and Priscilla Presley story, the two later went on to have a lasting romantic relationship.

Threats

The 47-year-old female defendant and her estranged husband were embattled in a bitter divorce proceeding.  He was, at the time, serving 18 months probation for recently assaulting and beating her.  Upon the husband’s release from an alcohol detox program, a mutual male friend drove him to his car where they were knowingly in advance greeted by the defendant.  The husband threatened that he could “snap her neck like a twig” and grabbed her arms.  The mutual friend pulled him away and she fearfully grabbed her husband’s car keys and drove off.  The husband later told police that the defendant had threatened to have him murdered and he seemingly “manufactured” a witness to that affect.  The defendant was charged with threats to murder.

In a separate simultaneous case, the husband’s two sisters cruelly accused the defendant of forging and uttering several checks from her mother-in-law’s checking account.  The defendant asserted that, at the time in question, she was the exclusive caretaker for her physically disabled mother-in-law and that the elderly woman authorized her to write the checks to pay a few bills incurred, in part, on her behalf.  The elderly woman had since then become mental disabled as well and was therefore unavailable to testify.  As a result the defendant now also faced a felony charge of larceny over $250 from a person over 60 years or disabled.

Mr. Arnel procured revealing evidence from the divorce proceeding to establish a pattern of continued harassing conduct by the husband and his familial and other accomplices, and also importantly ensured the favorable testimony of the mutual friend who was the only undisputed eyewitness to the alleged incident.  Recognizing that the probationer-husband could ill afford new criminal charges that would inevitably assure his own probation surrender and potential resulting incarceration, Mr. Arnel cleverly leveraged the threat of filing a cross-complaint against the husband for assault and battery as would be unabashedly testified to by the otherwise independent and credible mutual friend.  Over the course of seven months and four emotionally heated pretrial conferences, Mr. Arnel successfully brokered a deal between the defendant, the husband, the sisters, legal counsel for the mother-in-law’s estate and the prosecution that encompassed the packaging of both cases being continued without a finding for only 90 days and 1 year respectively with a negotiated restitution required to eventually dismiss the felony case.

Gun Charges – Street Gangs – Stolen Car

The defendant was a 17-year-old member of the Latin Kings street gang and was a passenger in a stolen car along with three other gang members.  Providence police were in pursuit of the suspect car for an alleged armed robbery in Rhode Island.  Gun shots were fired at the police on Interstate-95.  Massachusetts State Police thereafter joined in the pursuit and the 115 m.p.h. high speed chase continued.  The suspect car struck three other vehicles before eventually losing control and going into the woods before stopping in a muddy swamp.  All four suspects fled on foot and were shortly thereafter apprehended with the assistance of the K-9 (police dog) unit.  A handgun was found in the suspect car after it was pulled from the swamp.  The defendant told police that his friends picked him up and they went to a festival in Providence when the suspect car was stopped by police and the operator then took off.  The Providence police captain asserted that the suspect car deliberately ran his cruiser off the road and also intentionally rammed other civilian vehicles to attempt to spin them out to evade police.

The defendant passenger was charged with being a fugitive from justice and also with carrying a firearm without a license, receiving stolen property over two hundred and fifty dollars, and larceny of a motor vehicle.  The last three counts were all felony charges and the gun charge alone carried a mandatory minimum sentence of one year if convicted and more so the looming threat of grand jury indictment and a potential significantly enhanced state prison sentence.  Mr. Arnel distinguished the suspects, their individual actions and the prosecutorial conspiracy theory.  He first convinced the prosecution to dismiss the firearms charge by successfully challenging that his client lacked the requisite “dominion and control” over the gun and that the prosecution would be unable to sustain their burden of proof at trial.  Mr. Arnel then successfully bargained with the prosecution by offering his client’s cooperation on the fugitive from justice charge in exchange for their consideration in dismissing the stolen car charge.  The fugitive from justice charge was next dismissed when his client agreed to waive rendition and simply be delivered to the Rhode Island warrant.  Only the felony charge of receiving stolen property remained on the court docket and Mr. Arnel successfully tried the matter to a verdict of not guilty and his client was acquitted.

Drunk Driving/OUI/DUI/DWI – 3rd Offense

Massachusetts State Police responded to a cellular phone caller reporting erratic operation of a car at 5:30 p.m. on Harrison Boulevard in Avon.  The trooper then observed the vehicle stopped at a “green” light.  The trooper momentarily waited and then approached the car when it failed to proceed through the light.  According to the trooper, the defendant could not roll down his window and the trooper had to open the passenger door.  The defendant fumbled but was able to provide his license and registration.  The trooper ordered him to exit the car and observed the defendant swaying and trying to hold onto the door frame.  The trooper observed, amongst other trash, a large bottle of vodka and a 2-liter bottle of ginger ale through a wrinkled plastic bag.  According to the trooper, the defendant’s recitation of the alphabet sounded “slurred and choppy” and was difficult to understand.  The trooper allegedly smelled a “fruity odor of alcohol” emanating from the defendant and alleged that the defendant’s answers “did not make sense” when questioned as to his current medications.  During the 9-step-heel-to-toe field sobriety test, it was alleged that the defendant “could not stand correctly and was very unbalanced and swaying from side to side … and almost fell over.”  During the finger-to-nose test, the defendant allegedly “brought his right hand to his mouth and slid fingers #1 and #2 up his upper lip to the bridge of his nose.”  The defendant was arrested.

The defendant’s sister arrived at the police barracks at 6:00 p.m. to post bail.  Mr. Arnel correctly noted upon the defendant’s recognizance slip that, for whatever unacceptable reason, the defendant was not allowed to be bailed and released until 8:25 p.m.  Mr. Arnel further noted that the police failed to provide the defendant with his statutory rights form, failed to offer him a Breathalyzer test, and failed to advise him of his statutory right to be examined by an independent physician pursuant to General Laws Chapter 263, Section 5A.  Mr. Arnel filed a substantive motion to suppress the evidence and additionally argued that the unnamed and unidentified cellular phone caller failed to meet the “reliability” requirement.  The dispositive question was whether the credibility of the caller or the reliability of the caller’s report was established, so that the stop of the defendant’s motor vehicle was premised upon reasonable suspicion based on specific facts and reasonable inferences that he had committed, was committing, or was about to commit a crime in order to justify the stop.  Mr. Arnel’s argument was both persuasive and successful in having the case dismissed.

Driving to Endanger – Reckless Operation - Negligent Operation of Motor Vehicle

The defendant was a certified public accountant with no prior criminal record.  He unwisely decided to “test” his new BMW by accelerating to 100 m.p.h. in a posted 45 m.p.h. speed limit zone.  Mr. Arnel convinced both the prosecution and the court to find the defendant responsible on the civil motor vehicle infraction of speeding, which was filed without the defendant even having to pay the hefty civil assessment.  The criminal driving charges were then dismissed upon payment of a meager one hundred dollars in court costs.  Thus, only the defendant’s driving record was affected where he was assessed one insurance safe driver point for the speeding.

Drug Charges – Heroin – Crack Cocaine – Marijuana – Suboxone - Hypodermic

The defendant, a 28-year-old admitted addict, was stopped in her motor vehicle and charged with numerous drug crimes including possession of a hypodermic needle and possession of a Class A Drug (heroin), a Class D Drug (marijuana), a Class B Drug (crack cocaine), and a Class A Drug (suboxone).  Mr. Arnel filed and argued a motion to suppress the evidence.  The judge ordered the defendant’s confession to be suppressed and inadmissible at trial but otherwise ruled that the police officer’s seizure of the illegal drugs was legal.  The prosecution sought a guilty finding on all five counts.  Mr. Arnel otherwise convinced the judge to have the case continued without a finding for one year with random drug testing as a condition of probation.  Although Mr. Arnel needed to mitigate one eventual probation violation, the defendant thereafter successfully completed her probation and all five counts were eventually dismissed.

Trespass – Confidential Informant

Town police coerced the defendant to be their confidential informant.  He was instructed to disguise himself and sneak into a local high school football game where he would identify certain drug dealers in attendance to undercover detectives.  When the reasonably fearful defendant purposely later failed to comply at the game, the police thereafter embarked on a mission to continually harass him everywhere he went.  The defendant lived on the other side of the town’s high school and, as was common practice amongst many of the residents, the defendant used the wide open high school field as a shortcut to his residence.  The Jamaican born defendant, not yet a U.S. citizen, was unfairly charged with criminal trespass.  Unveiling the discernible pattern of unfair treatment to convince the District Attorney that the continued actions were tantamount to police harassment, Mr. Arnel caused the charge to be dismissed.

Operating Motor Vehicle with License Suspended (3rd Offense) –
Failure to Obey Police – Driving To Endanger – Use MV without Authority

The defendant stopped, waited and then sped away from a police roadblock on the Longfellow Bridge in Cambridge.  After a brief car chase, the defendant was arrested and charged with his 3rd offense for operating with a suspended driver’s license, using a motor vehicle without authority, negligent operation/driving to endanger and failing to obey a police officer. The defendant also was cited with four civil motor vehicle infractions including a marked lanes violation, failure to signal, failure to wear a seat belt and speeding.  The defendant’s girlfriend also occupied the car that was briefly loaned to them by her friend.  Unknown to the defendant, the car rental agreement specified that only the friend could operate it.  The prosecution originally sought incarceration for 90 days on each criminal count and a responsible finding on each civil infraction.  The client, understanding that he had already received a break after his 2nd offense but also recently becoming a father, could ill afford to go to jail and employed Mr. Arnel to try any approach to prevent incarceration.

Mr. Arnel successfully circumvented incarceration by stretching out and eventually wearing down the prosecution to agree to a 6-month suspended sentence on the otherwise indefensible 3rd offense suspended license charge and to agree to a 1-year continuance without a finding on each of the three remaining criminal counts.  Mr. Arnel further bargained for a responsible finding on the failure to wear a seatbelt, an infraction that does not carry an insurance surcharge, while procuring a not responsible finding on each of the other 3 civil infractions by convincing the prosecution and judge that they somehow “merged” with the criminal charge of negligent operation/driving to endanger.  Except for the automatic 60-day statutory loss of license that is a collateral consequence for a conviction of a 3rd offense operating with a suspended license, Mr. Arnel minimized his client’s criminal record and otherwise preserved his driving record in its entirety.  By avoiding convictions on all the other criminal driving charges and by being found not responsible on the three civil infractions subject to insurance surcharge, Mr. Arnel immediately saved his client a total of ten driver safety points that, when combined with his client’s prior driver history, would have totaled well in excess of the twelve points and triggered the registry of Motor Vehicles to impose an automatic 4-year license revocation as a habitual traffic offender (“HTO”).