We blog about relevant issues in criminal defense law, discuss the misconceptions surrounding criminal defense law, and provide readers with helpful criminal defense information and resources.

Please visit www.massdefense.com for more information.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chemist Sends Enormous Ripple Throughout Massachusetts' Legal System

This past September, chemist Annie Dookhan, was arrested for falsifying drug test results. As we discussed in October's blog, her actions have sent an enormous ripple throughout the Massachusetts legal system.

As of today, the state of Massachusetts is forging ahead with a plan to retry every case that Dookhan's actions affected... which in reality is in the tens-of-thousands. Her tenure spans over nine years, and any evidence that came through her lab is now suspect whether or not she specifically handled a case. It is estimated by court administrators that in addition to the 34,000 cases in which she was personally involved, her actions would require that the remaining 102,000 cases that didn't bear her name, but did pass through her lab, also be retried.

You may be wondering the cost of all of this. The cost is becoming more astounding by the day. It is estimated that the preliminary costs could well exceed 30 million dollars. And that is merely the beginning. Many are discouraged with the state of Massachusetts' plan to retry each case. Its cost is staggering and piling on by the day, which is why many feel that it would be much more effective to release the prisoners and reenter them into society. This is a method that Boston Mayor Thomas Menino strongly favors, and one that has proven to work before. He has requested 15 million dollars to fund such a venture. The savings and the results would prove beneficial. If we continue with the status quo, it could cost over 50 million dollars and take more than five years to see through. Many would like to see an outside probe brought in to perform an independent review.

Annie Dookhan's blatant perversion of the law affected thousands of lives and will resonate emotionally and financially for the families and the state for years to come. Now that the elections are over, the state of Massachusetts is mired in the web of calamity that this scandal has presented. Sentiments to rethink the current method are growing.

To date, Attorney Moraski has been filing Motions for a New Trial, Motions to Stay the Execution of a Jail/Prison Sentences, Motions for Post Conviction Discovery Requests and Motions to Withdraw Guilty Pleas. Contact Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Paul R. Moraski at (978) 744-1200, if you believe your drug conviction was jeopardized by improper testing.

The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski
221 Essex Street, Suite 51
Salem, Massachusetts 01970
Tel: 978.744.1200
Cell: 978.397.0011
Fax: 978.825.1370

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

DNA Evidence Isn't Always A Slam Dunk For The Prosecution

The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski has recently taken on the case of a 25 year old man from Peabody, Massachusetts who was arrested on the following charges: 1st Degree Murder, Armed Home Invasion, Attempted Armed Robbery and Illegal Possession of a Firearm.

Immediately, when we see or hear the acronym; ‘DNA’ we think of definitive proof, ‘the final answer, ‘the smoking gun’, etc... That isn’t always the case. As a matter of fact, DNA evidence can be, and often is, illegally obtained. In the case of Attorney Moraski’s client, a cigarette butt discarded as part of an undercover investigation that allegedly connected the client to DNA evidence at the crime scene. When such a notion is suggested, the immediate public perception is one of guilt for the accused. However, the client has NO prior criminal record. It is alleged that this was a result of a robbery in which cash and drugs were the target. Statistically, to even plan to engage in such criminal activity, one would likely already have a criminal record. Attorney Moraski’s client does not have an adult criminal record. In fact, he not only has a clean record, he maintained gainful employment and was a junior in College studying to obtain his degree in computer science.

In this case as in many, DNA is being portrayed as the “smoking gun.” In this case, the hat was allegedly left at the crime scene and the hat contained a mixture of DNA, meaning there was more than one person’s DNA found on the hat. Additionally, the hat is purely circumstantial evidence because it only places the hat at the crime scene, not Attorney Moraski’s client.

When faced with criminal charges, it is of great importance that you not only seek legal counsel, but that you have a true understanding of your rights. When threatened with DNA evidence, it is NOT a closed case or a slam dunk for the prosecution. There are many legalities surrounding how and when the DNA was obtained. There are also instances in which DNA, does not conclusively link the accused to the actual crime. For more information on this case and others involving DNA, follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog.

If you have been charged with a violent crime or a crime that uses DNA Evidence in the investigation to link you to the crime immediately contact Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney Paul R. Moraski at 1-978-744-1200.

The Law Office of Paul R. Moraski
221 Essex Street, Suite 51
Salem, Massachusetts 01970
Tel: 978.744.1200
Cell: 978.397.0011
Fax: 978.825.1370


Friday, November 2, 2012

Courtroom Etiquette

First impressions are important, especially when it comes from those around you at your arraignment or trial. It is critical that you understand that your appearance and demeanor in the courtroom are just as influential as the evidence presented. Everyone from the probation officer, the prosecutor, the judge, and especially the jurors will all be taking notice of you while determining your fate.

There are some definite do's and don'ts when it comes to courtroom attire. Your fashion faux pas here won't land you on a worst dressed list, it could land you with a harsher fine or jail time. When dressing for court, think conservatively. Appropriate court attire for women includes a skirt or slacks and a blouse or a dress. Refrain from wearing anything revealing or tight. A closed-toe, low heeled shoe is appropriate. Avoid wearing flashy jewelry. Dress as if you were going to a job interview.

When appearing in court, look well-groomed and professional. Men should wear a suit, if possible. Slacks and a collared shirt will do if you don’t own a suit. Make sure that any visible tattoos are hidden and remove all facial jewelry, this applies to men and women. Unless you’re already in custody and won’t have the opportunity to change, dressing appropriately is important. 

It is imperative that you arrive early to all court dates, 30 minutes early is a good amount of time. By allowing yourself ample time, should an unforeseen situation arise, such as traffic, you will not risk being late. Giving yourself additional time also allows you to become familiar with your surroundings, find parking, and ask me any last minute questions.

Leave your cell phone at home or in your vehicle. This prevents the risk of it accidentally ringing during court. Texting, taking phone calls, taking pictures, or recording is not permitted.

While in court, only speak and respond when asked. When answering a question by the judge, address them as Sir, Ma’am, or Your Honor. Speak in a loud, clear tone and avoid lengthy responses. Be polite. When someone is speaking, do not laugh, sigh, roll your eyes, or make any other noises or gestures. Being in the right frame of mind and being well mannered will show the judge your respect for the court.

The series of court dates you will endure should be treated as the most important thing in your life. It can be the difference between probation and spending years behind bars. If you are unsure if certain dress items or conduct is unacceptable, consult me first. When in doubt, refrain. As your Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorney, I want to ensure that you receive the best possible outcome during your case. This involves you being a well informed, well prepared, and a well groomed defendant.