You have the right to remain talking?


Most if not every person knows the Miranda warnings by heart:

You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense.

It is truly astonishing the amount of people who are given these rights and still decide to talk to the police. The police tell them that they have the right to remain silent, yet most people rather choose to exercise their right to remain talking at their own peril.

If the police suspects that you have committed a crime, and have enough evidence to file an official complaint, they will. There is little that you can say to stop the police from doing that. While you may believe you can talk your way out of the situation, it is highly unlikely to happen. Police officers are trained to extract information from people, and most of them are very effective at doing just that.

You have a right to an attorney, and one will be provided if you can’t afford one. Therefore, there is no reason why you should not talk to an attorney before talking to the police, or to have an attorney present during the interview. Think about it, before you go in for surgery wouldn’t you want a professional doctor to warn you about the possible dangers of the procedure, and reduce the risks that you may face?

When you are properly given your Miranda rights and confess, it makes it very difficult to suppress the statements. To make matters worse, police are trained to obtain a written confession and to tape the interviews. Many times, the confession is the strongest part of the prosecution’s case. So if you decide to exercise your right to talk, make sure you are ready to face the consequences.

Expert law provides a good question and answer about Miranda rights: http://www.expertlaw.com/library/criminal/miranda_rights.html

Globe story regarding a Vermont man confessing to murderhttp://www.boston.com/news/local/vermont/articles/2008/07/10/accused_killers_confession_played_in_court/

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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What are you crazy? You don’t want to use the insanity defense.


Most people believe that the insanity defense is used all the time. In reality, the insanity defense is not something that is raised that often. However, the public seems to pay more attention to these types of cases, and as a result there is more media coverage. Many different resources have shown including a frontline report (there is a link at the bottom to view this report) says that the insanity defense is raised in less than 1 percent of felony cases.

One of the reasons why the insanity defense is seldom used is that it is an affirmative defense. This means that a defendant needs to raise insanity as an issue. As you may already know, a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, and has no duties to raise a defense. A defendant may sit there, and force the prosecution to prove all the charges against him. If the prosecution fails to uphold its burden, the defense can ask the court to dismiss the case.

When the insanity defense is used, it often means that the defendant is agreeing with the facts of the case. So instead of saying that the defendant is not guilty because he or she didn’t do it, the defendant is saying that he or she should be found not guilty because of his or her mental state.

As you can imagine this is a dangerous proposition. No matter how strong a case may look, there are always things that may lead the jury to believe that a person is not guilty. After all, O.J. Simpson didn’t exert the insanity defense in his double homicide trial, the case against him looked strong, and we all know the result. Now if O.J. used the insanity defense, he probably wouldn’t have been able to contest the facts. Additionally, statistics has shown that the insanity defense is usually unsuccessful. Sometimes it is the right defense to use, while at other times, it is just plain insane.

Globe reporting on the “Rockerfeller” case
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/05/26/gerhartsreiter_trial_will_test_insanity_defense/

Massachusetts Bar Association comments on the insanity defense
http://www.massbar.org/about-the-mba/press-room/journalists’-handbook/6-not-guilty-does-not-mean-innocent

Front line Q&A for insanity defense
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/crime/trial/faqs.html

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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SJC shot down Sutter’s gun policy


Lately there has been a lot of talk about the Bristol District Attorney Samuel Sutter requesting so called dangerousness hearings on every gun felony case. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled 4-1 to strike down the Bristol District Attorney’s policy. (http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090504/NEWS/90504003)

Well what is a dangerousness hearing? When a person is arrested for a serious crime he or she is usually brought into court the next day. At this first appearance, a person will be arraigned, and a bail hearing will be held. After the bail hearing, the judge can release a person on no bail, release a person on bail, or hold the person without bail. The courts are reluctant to hold a person without bail except for extreme circumstances. There are certain situations in which the court will hold a person without bail; the most common example is when a person is charged with murder.

The prosecution must move for a dangerousness hearing at a person’s first appearance in court, which is usually the arraignment. If a dangerousness hearing is allowed by the judge, a person can be held without bail for up to 3 days to give the prosecution enough time to get ready for a hearing. The defendant’s lawyer may also ask for a 7 day extension to prepare for the hearing which the defendant would also be held without bail. If the court finds that a person is a danger after the hearing, a person can be held in custody for 60 days without bail. If a person is found not to be a danger, then he may be released on bail.

That is a quick summary of what a dangerousness hearing is, but you should get more information if you are planning to represent a person at these hearings. If you are a person about to face a dangerousness hearing, find a good attorney right away. Failing to get a good attorney could mean 60 solid days in jail.

The Boston Globe reports on Governor’s Patrick’s response to the SJC ruling
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2009/05/07/patrick_seeks_to_toughen_gun_laws/

The Sun Chronicle Report
http://www.thesunchronicle.com/articles/2009/01/06/news/4191344.txt

New Bedford 360 Report
http://www.newbedford360.com/articles/articles/645/1/Bristol-County-District-Attorney-Sam-Sutters-office-will-be-holding-its-landmark-150th-illegal-firearm-related-dangerousness-hearing/Page1.html

Governor’s Patrick’s response to the SJC ruling
http://www.newbedford360.com/articles/articles/645/1/Bristol-County-District-Attorney-Sam-Sutters-office-will-be-holding-its-landmark-150th-illegal-firearm-related-dangerousness-hearing/Page1.html

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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Sex for a Fee


It is no surprise to Worcester residents that when you walk by Main South at night you will inevitably run into prostitutes. It is a high crime area where police constantly monitor, and arrest both prostitutes and customers. It is an area where prostitutes exchange sex for money, then exchange the money for drugs.

The police have gotten more aggressive in their pursuit of the customers. The great majority, if not all the prostitutes are drug abusers, and police cannot find a way to stop their trade. Therefore, police has increased their attention on the customers, hoping that by cutting off demand the supply will diminish.
If you are a customer in the Main South area and see a female that has all her teeth, no body sores, in decent clothes and doesn’t look like she is strung out on drugs, buyer beware. The only thing that you are about to receive is a ride to the police station. The police reports overwhelmingly suggest that the most popular item is oral sex going for the usual rate of $40.

Once I read in a report that a customer offered an undercover police officer $25 dollars for oral sex. On the day of the trial, an attractive and healthy looking female police officer came to court and told me she was the undercover on the case. I was taken back and immediately two things came to my mind regarding this case. First, why in the world would anyone think that she is a prostitute? She had all her teeth, didn’t look like she was strung out on crack cocaine, and too healthy for someone living on the streets. Second, seeing that the going rate in Worcester was $40 and she was offered $25, I wondered how she felt about the low offer. I was about to ask the undercover then thought better of my curiosity. Though she was extremely nice and helpful, she did carry a duly licensed service revolver.

Police arrests 18 people for prostitution:
http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Worcester+police+arrest+18+in+prostitution+sting-a0160496310

Man found guilty of prostitution ring. Article by the Worcester Telegram
http://www.telegram.com/article/20090514/NEWS/905140548

For more information: visit http://www.attorneychan.com or contact me at 508-808-8902

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