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Articles Posted in assault and battery

Battered Women’s Syndrome – Fact or Fiction? 


It is no secret that domestic abuse remains a largely gendered crime. It is estimated that 1 in 3 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Some courts look to the “battered women’s syndrome” standard in expert testimony. Battered Women’s Syndrome is most often discussed when a woman murders her abusive partner. However, it can also be used to explain irrational behavior that stems from a fear of abuse.


Dr. Lenore Walker is largely credited with creating the term in the 1970s to describe the psychological damage and behavior traits that are common in women who are repetitively abused by a partner. Currently, there is a circuit split in the federal courts regarding the issue of whether expert testimony explaining a psychological phenomenon known as Battered Women’s Syndrome, be admissible in trial. 

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a dangerousness hearing provides a prior opportunity for cross examination under the Sixth Amendment in the case of Commonwealth v. Carlos Rodriguez, decided on September 22, 2016.  The Court upheld a conviction for domestic assault and battery without the testimony of the victim, despite its holding that the victim statements to the police were testimonial because the defense lawyer had an opportunity to cross examine the victim at a dangerousness hearing.

In this case, the defendant went to trial in the Springfield District Court for assault and battery As is common in domestic cases, the victim declined to testify.

Often, when someone is charged with domestic assault and battery, the person charge will assume that the case will be dropped if the victim does not wish to testify. In fact, the Commonwealth can still prosecute the case as this recent case illustrates.

A display of talent erupted in a display of violence at Mount Ida College recently, as more than 100 people were involved in a brawl following a talent show being held in Carlson Hall.

Our Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers understand one man was arrested for assault on a police officer, while several others were issued citations for disorderly conduct.

We don’t know what sparked the disturbance, but we do know that police officers from five agencies were called to respond, due to the large number of people involved. At least one K-9 unit was called to help break up the crowd, following the event held by the school’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Police reported pepper spray was used on at least one person.

In cases like these, it can be difficult for prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person arrested is the person who actually committed the crime.

Barring video surveillance evidence, what you have is a scene of mass chaos. You have a situation where officers are focused on calming an unruly crowd. In the midst of that, it can be tough for any person to definitively say one person committed the crime over the 99 others present.

This is something defense attorneys could use to a client’s benefit, particularly if the individual facing charges has never been in any trouble before. Officers frequently make arrests to bring an end to the disturbance — with little regard for the challenges of proving the case in court.

According to school officials, it’s not clear whether those who were cited or arrested were students. A separate investigation has been launched by the school to make that determination and determine whether suspension or further disciplinary action is warranted.

Assault charges can result in serious consequences even when they don’t involve a police officer. However, the punishment is amplified, according to Massachusetts General Law Part IV, Title I, Chapter 265, Section 13D, if the alleged crime involves “a public employee when such person is engaged in the performance of his or her duties.” While the crime carries a maximum of 2.5 years in prison regardless, an assault or battery against a public employee is supposed to garner a minimum of 90 days (or three months) behind bars.

This is not only a major disruption to your life, it’s a permanent scar on your criminal record.

That’s why it’s so critical to not automatically just plead guilty. A good attorney can often work to have such charges dismissed before the case gets anywhere near the trial stage.

With a disorderly conduct citation, the defendant is not actually “arrested,” but it is given a notice to appear in court. People think that because these are misdemeanor charges that it isn’t necessary to hire a lawyer, and they simply pay the fine. Prosecutors count on this, because otherwise, he or she has to prove that you:

  1. Recklessly or purposely created a risk of public harm or annoyance, AND
  2. You engaged in fighting or threatening, violent behavior or created a hazard or physically offensive condition with no legitimate purpose.

Particularly in cases like this, where you have literally dozens of people involved in a chaotic disturbance, it will be tough for prosecutors to prove that one person caused more of a problem than the next.

At the very least, these individuals – and anyone facing similar allegations – should consult with an attorney to review their options.
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A Marlborough man is being held in connection with an alleged domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend, reports The MetroWest Daily News.

Charges of assault and battery in Westborough are typically filed by authorities in cases where there is some type of fight or domestic dispute. The severity of injuries sustained by the alleged victim goes a long way toward prosecutors determining what type of charge to bring.

This is a commonly filed charge in domestic assault and battery incidents in Massachusetts. And these charges, while somewhat common, can be some of the most difficult cases to bring for prosecutors. Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers have seen that many times, the charges come down to one person’s word against another’s, which can be tough for jurors to determine.

When police are called to a person’s house after an alleged victim calls 911 to report a domestic incident, they have to make a snap judgement, based often on which person seems most credible, who is bigger and who has more scratches or bruises. This is a difficult task and many times, police take the stereotypical way out and choose the man as the suspect and the woman as victim.

Jason Cavooto, 36, is charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery and threatening to commit a crime, the newspaper reports. He is already facing charges of running a methamphetamine lab out of his shed and carrying a gun without a license. The case is being heard in Middlesex Superior Court.

In this case, a Marlborough District Court judge ordered him held without bail after it was discovered he had the open case in Middlesex Superior Court. Bail was initially $10,000.

According to the newspaper’s account Cavooto’s girlfriend told police that they were sitting with a friend at their house when she said something to him. He cussed at her and punched her in the arms and stomach, which caused her to throw up, she said. He allegedly backhanded her, which knocked her out.

Later that night, according to police, he punched her in the mouth and split her lip. He is accused of throwing her into the kitchen table, cutting her back and breaking a mirror. He also allegedly grabbed her by the throat and choked her the next morning. When he called the next day, he allegedly threatened her and while the phone was still connected, told a friend he was going to kill her.

In Massachusetts, in order to find a person guilty of assault and battery, the state has to prove three specific elements:

  • That the defendant touched the person without having the right to do so
  • That the defendant intended to touch the person
  • That the touching either was likely to cause bodily harm or was done without consent

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An off-duty Mansfield police officer was credited with breaking up a daylight brawl between three men who had tire irons and a knife, the Taunton Daily Gazette is reporting.

Self-defense is one of the most commonly acknowledged theories of defense portrayed on television criminal shows and in novels. But in assault and battery charges in Attleboro, can also be a legitimate defense. In this case, the presence of weapons will complicate the defense and will likely enhance the charges faced by the defendants.

If someone is attacked, either with fists or weapons, they have a right to defend themselves. If you are arrested, the skills of an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer can aid in explaining this to a jury. Too often, police just make an arrest, regardless of who is right or wrong at the scene.

When violent acts take place, police can sometimes have a tough time sorting out the pieces. If the victim and suspect are both pointing fingers at each other, it can be independent witnesses, video surveillance or even physical evidence that can point to the truth. A skilled lawyer can get to the bottom of the case.

In this case, according to the newspaper, Michael Dutra, 56, and John Carveiro, 48, allegedly told police they thought Reginald Jenkins, 44, had stolen $50 they accidentally dropped outside a package store. When they realized the money was missing, they remembered seeing Jenkins reach down in the parking lot and pick something up, the police report states.

They drove around hoping to spot Jenkins and they found him walking in a nearby parking lot a few blocks away. They allegedly both got tire irons from their pickup truck and began swinging at Jenkins. He also got a tire iron from the pickup truck and tried to defend himself, but was hit in the head and arm. He was also stabbed in his back by someone carrying a knife.

Police say that an off-duty police officer from Mansifled, Jeffrey Danner, was driving nearby and saw the brawl as it took place. Once Jenkins hit the ground, Danner pulled up, exited his vehicle, pulled out his badge and a handgun and ordered them to stay put.

Carveiro was charged with two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of carrying a dangerous weapon and one count of disorderly conduct.

Jenkins is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct. The newspaper didn’t have details of the charges Dutra faces.

In this case, according to the newspaper and police reports, it appears clear that Jenkins was the victim and yet he faces charges. Had the other two men not allegedly stopped to start the fight, he wouldn’t have been involved. And after they grabbed weapons, he would have been foolish to stand by and allow them to beat him.

One can only hope that Jenkins gets an experienced and dedicated Massachusetts criminal defense lawyer to straighten things out with the prosecution in order to avoid any long-term consequences as a result of these charges.
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The alleged attackers of a man beaten at the Comcast Center in Mansfield entered innocent pleas in Attleboro District Court recently, The Sun Chronicle.

The newspaper reports that the 19-year-old victim was beaten so badly he was initially put into a medically induced coma at Boston Medical Center to aid his breathing.

Doctors also removed a spleen ruptured from repeated punches and kicks, the article states. The six suspects are charged with felony assault charges.

Felony assault charges in Attleboro are typically filed when a weapon was used or when the defendant suffers serious injuries.. How charges are filed can have a big impact on a sentence. An experienced Attleboro Criminal Defense Attorney can sometimes succeed in arguing for lesser charges.

According to the news article, the beating happened during a Tim McGraw concert and one witness described the beating as being so loud she could hear it over the music. The victim said he made a comment to a woman about her tattoo before he was attacked by several people he didn’t know. Witnesses allegedly pointed out the suspects.

All six are charged with aggravated assault and battery with disorderly conduct. Anderson is also charged with aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon — a shod foot — according to the article.

Some of the suspects say witness accounts vary, which may make the case tough for prosecutors. Another says they may have been involved in a fight, but not the larger beating alleged by police. Self-defense is being alleged as well.

In cases where there are many witnesses and many suspects, the facts can be difficult to prove. Being able to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that each particular suspect was involved, can be a tall order.

Many times, the state will try to convince some of the least-culpable defendants to enter into a plea agreement in exchange for a lighter sentence so that prosecutors can use their testimony against the co-defendants. If the alleged suspects didn’t provide statements to police, it only bolsters their case because they haven’t implicated each other in the crime.

Assault and battery charges in Massachusetts can be punished by up to 2 1/2 years in prison and a $1,000 fine. Assault or battery with a dangerous weapon is a felony punishable by up 10 years in prison. It’s obvious that these charges are serious and can have long-term implications.

In this case, one of the defendants is charged with using his foot as a dangerous weapon. It can be debated whether or not a person’s foot should be considered a “dangerous weapon.” If not, it’s possible to have the charge downgraded to a less-serious charge or have it thrown out altogether.

That’s why hiring an experienced attorney is critical. Debating the issues, investigating the facts and finding holes in the state’s cases can make a big difference in whether a defendant is convicted and the potential penalty he serves.
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