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April 14, 2014

"I Don't Want to Talk" Sufficient to Invoke Right to Remain Silent

Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) reversed a superior court judge's denial of a motion to suppress statements made by a defendant after he invoked his right to remain silent. The SJC found that the defendant sufficiently indicated to the interrogating officer that he was invoking that right.

In Commonwealth v. Hearns, the defendant was charged with the murder of a fourteen-year-old boy and the wounding of a fifteen-year-old boy in Jamaica Plain. The police suspected that the boys were shot in connection with a feud between two rival gangs in the area. According to their investigation, the defendant had admitted to a witness that he and others drove up to a basketball court on Heath Street, and the defendant, at the direction of older members in his gang, approached the victims, shot at them multiple times, and fled back to the vehicle and drove away. The defendant had also allegedly admitted his participation in the murder to another witness. That witness agreed to cooperate with the police, and consented to wearing a concealed recording device. During a recorded conversation between the defendant and the cooperating witness in an automobile, the defendant described how he committed the shooting.

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January 22, 2014

SJC Justices Disagree as to Effect of Prosecutor's Seemingly Inconsistent Statements at Two Separate Trials

This week, a 4-3 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decision highlighted the justices' conflicting views on the prejudicial effect on a criminal defendant when a prosecutor urges a jury to believe that one person was the principal actor in a murder at one trial, and, failing to convince that jury, urges a different jury to believe that the defendant pulled the trigger in the defendant's subsequent trial.

In Commonwealth v. Keo, Keo faced a charge of first degree murder in the shooting death of the victim, who was a member of a rival gang, in Lynn in November 2007. The evidence in that case suggested that, on that date, Bonrad Sok had called Keo, and Keo joined Sok and others at a restaurant where the victim and his girlfriend were also present. About five weeks prior to that time, the victim had stabbed Keo.

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October 5, 2011

Boston Police Arrest 14 from Dorchester Drug Scene

On September 30th, Boston Narcotic police arrested14 of so-called "impact players" from the violent Dorchester drug scene. The arrests, part of "Operation Independence," included known gang members and associates with violent criminal histories from parts of Dorchester including Bowdoin Street, Geneva Avenue, and Olney Street.

"This action is a message to any individuals engaging in violent activity in our communities," said Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, "we will be relentless in our efforts to hold violent perpetrators accountable."

Officers from the Drug Control Unit and Youth Violence Strike Force zeroed in on 18 violent gang members involved in street-level drug dealing who had either been indicted in court, or had complaints sought against them. Boston Mayor Tom Menino said in a press release, "the BPD will not allow the senseless acts of a few individuals to create fear in the lives of Boston residents and families."

The full article can be seen here.

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July 13, 2011

Dorchester School Summer Camp Shooting

Gunfire shattered the window of a Dorchester middle school on Thursday, July 7, around 2:30pm. The shots missed the groups of children attending summer camp at the school, but struck and fatally injured a man who was outside the building. The school was being used as a children's summer camp by Roxbury-based Project Right.

Boston's Mayor Menino spoke outside Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School and said, "it's a continuing frustration; the police are doing their job. We're going to continue to take bad guys off the street. We're going to keep doing our work. We're not going to stop." Boston police are reporting that the intended targeted was a man who was sitting in a car on Columbia Road.

The shooting came just hours after police carried out two warrant sweeps and arrested top level members of one of Boston's notoriously violent street gangs.

The full article can be seen here.

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June 10, 2011

1,000 Teens Involved in Possible Gang Fight at Boston Beach

Boston State Police reported approximately 1,000 teenagers, between the ages of 14 and 19 years old, were at Carson Beach in South Boston when a large fight broke out. According to some reports, many of the people involved in the assault were from rival gangs around the city. Fights allegedly lasted for three days; Monday, June 6 saw the greatest number of people fighting.

The fighting apparently began as a result of tension stemmed from threatening Facebook posts. While news sources indicate the fight was organized by gang members, Emmet Folger, founder of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative said, "I am sure that some of them were gang members, absolutely, but the idea that this was organized by gang members is not true."

Officers from the State police barracks in South Boston, Boston Police, Transit Police and University of Massachusetts were called in to clear the area as quickly and deftly as possible. Police believe the teens involved came in from other parts of Boston by train. Commonwealth police are supposed meet with gang units to root out the players involved and try to prevent future fights.

The full article can be seen here.

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