TN, a 31 year old website developer, owns a home in Peabody. He rents out rooms in the house. A young woman and her boyfriend rented one of the rooms. Arguments developed between TN and the woman and her boyfriend. TN owns a cross-bow and a bow and arrow set. The tenants filed charges against TN alleging that TN had broken into their room and stole items from their room. The boyfriend also alleged that TN had pointed the cross bow at him and said that he would kill him. TN came to see Attorney Lewin and Attorney Lewin was confident that the charges could be defeated. A hearing before a clerk-magistrate at Peabody District Court was scheduled. An application for a criminal complaint had been filed against TN by the woman and her boyfriend. The application sought to have charges of Assault & Battery by Dangerous Weapon (the crossbow), Breaking and Entering, and Larceny Over $250.00 be issued against TN. To gain leverage TN filed an application for a criminal complaint to be issued against the tenant for larceny.

On June 6, 2017 Attorney Lewin, TN, the woman, and her boyfriend all appeared for a hearing in Peabody District Court before a Clerk-Magistrate. It was important for TN to avoid having a felony charge be issued against him because he works in high tech. At the conclusion of the hearing Attorney Lewin argued to the Clerk that none of these people should want to be in a criminal court. Attorney Lewin argued that this was really a dispute over money between a landlord and his tenants. In the end the Clerk-Magistrate denied the applications for criminal complaint. TN walked out of the Court with no criminal charges being issued against him. As a result of this disposition TN has NO criminal record.

On January 28, 2017, SI, a 49 year old federal employee living in Malden with his wife and two children, went out and had a few drinks. When he came home he went into his 18 year old son’s room and asked his son to put his Xbox down and clean his room. The son told SI that he would do it tomorrow. Well, tomorrow never comes. SI and his son got into an argument. SI grabbed the Xbox and broke it. The son told SI to go f— himself. According to the son, SI grabbed the son and pushed him into the wall. SI’s wife called 911 and the police responded. SI got arrested and charged with Assault and Battery on a Household Member. SI went to court and was arraigned and then met with Attorney Robert Lewin. Attorney Lewin had represented SI in a similar case in 2014. In that prior case Attorney Lewin was successful in not having a criminal complaint be issued against SI and in proceedings with the Department of Children and Families Attorney Lewin was successful in getting the Department to unsupport an allegation of abuse. The present case raised the issue of the right of a parent to use reasonable force to discipline a child. In a 2015 decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court ruled for the first time (in its 213 year history) that a parent may use reasonable force to discipline a minor child. The Court did not decide if a parent can use reasonable force to discipline an adult child. Attorney Lewin fully prepared a legal argument to advocate on SI’s behalf that a parent has the right to use reasonable force to discipline an 18 year old child.

On June 21, 2017 Attorney Lewin and SI appeared in Malden District Court. The case was called for trial and Attorney Lewin answered that the Defense was ready for trial. The DA folded and the case was ordered DISMISSED. SI walked out of Malden Court a very happy client (for the second time).

TQ, a 29 year old woman from India with a degree in Computer Science, was apprehended on February 14, 2017 at a store at the Burlington Mall and charged with Larceny Over $250.00. The charge arose out of her stealing a $425.00 pair of designer sunglasses. Normally, stealing at the mall results in a charge of shoplifting (a misdemeanor). In this case, however, the police charged her with Larceny Over $250 (a felony). TQ consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Fortunately for TQ the police set the charge up for a hearing before a Clerk-Magistrate. This is critical. The police have three choices at the outset of a criminal case: (1) the Police can arrest the individual in which event the person is brought before a Judge for an arraignment on a criminal complaint and a criminal record is created; (2) the Police can release the individual without an arrest and have the court issue a criminal complaint and a summons for the person to come to court for an arraignment in which event a criminal record is created; or (3) the Police can chose not to arrest and not to summons the person to court but rather the police can file an application for a criminal complaint with the Clerk-Magistrate of the Court and request that the Clerk-Magistrate set the application down for a hearing before a Clerk-Magistrate. This third option – which is rarely used when the criminal charge is a felony – gives the accused person a chance to avoid prosecution and avoid a criminal record. In this third option the Clerk decides whether or not a criminal complaint (and summons) will actually be issued against the accused. That is the option the police chose with TQ.

Immediately after being retained Attorney Lewin contacted the store and he contacted the police prosecutor. Attorney Lewin confirmed that the matter was going to be set down for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin sent the Police Prosecutor a lengthy email setting forth TQ’s family and educational and employment background and the fact that she had never been in trouble before. It was critical to TQ to avoid a criminal record – especially for felony larceny; NO ONE wants to hire a thief and having a Larceny charge on your criminal record brands you as a thief. Attorney Lewin advocated hard with the Police Prosecutor to agree to a disposition of the case that did NOT involve a criminal complaint being issued against TQ.

On March 28, 2017 TQ and Attorney Lewin appeared in Woburn District Court for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin made a strong pitch to the Clerk-Magistrate not to issue a criminal complaint against TQ. Attorney Lewin was successful in getting the police to agree to ask the Clerk-Magistrate not to issue a criminal complaint. At the end of the Hearing the Clerk-Magistrate continued the hearing for four months and ordered that if TQ remained out of trouble then in four months she did not have to return to court and the application for criminal complaint would be denied and dismissed. As a result of this disposition Attorney Lewin explained to TQ the following;

On February 10, 2017, BH, a sixteen year old student at a prestigious private school, decided to have a party. BH invited a number of school age friends – and of course they brought along a few other friends one of whom brought alcohol to the party. They all drank for several hours. One of the young girls at the party apparently consumed some drugs. BH became very drunk and ultimately went out the back door of his house and collapsed in the snow. The girl left the party and went to a local store and collapsed in the store. She had to be brought to a local hospital. The police were summonsed to the house by neighbors. The rest of the party-goers scattered. The police found BH collapsed in the snow and brought him to the hospital. After investigation the police determined that the girl who collapsed in the store had been at the party and had consumed alcohol and drugs at the party. BH had hosted the party. Subsequently BH received a Notice of Complaint Application from the Essex County Juvenile Court. The police had applied for a juvenile complaint for minor in possession of alcohol against BH. BH was fortunate that the police did not charge him with furnishing alcohol to a minor (the girl). BH’s parents came to Massachusetts (they live out of state). BH and his parents met with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover.

Attorney Lewin took a detailed statement of the facts of the case from BH. It became clear the the girl had brought the drugs to the party herself and had consumed the drugs without any help or encouragement from BH. Attorney Lewin met with the police prosecutor from the town involved and advocated for the charge against BH to be “diverted” out of the juvenile justice system. The Essex County District Attorney’s Office – to their credit – has created the Essex County Juvenile Diversion Program. The program is designed to prevent first time offenders from getting a criminal/juvenile record by diverting the case out of the criminal/juvenile justice system.

On February 28, 2017 BH, BH’s parents, and Attorney Lewin appeared in the Essex County Juvenile Court, Lawrence Division, for a hearing on whether or not a juvenile delinquency complaint would be issued against BH. BH is an honor student with a brilliant future and the last thing he needed was a criminal/juvenile record. Attorney Lewin had thoroughly prepared an argument to advocate for the diversion of the case. In addition, before the hearing date Attorney Lewin had met face to face with the director of the juvenile diversion program to discuss the case with her and to seek her approval of BH’s referral to the program. At the hearing before the Clerk-Magistrate of the Juvenile Court Attorney Lewin advocated firmly for diversion of the case. The police were on board and the people from the diversion program were on board. The Clerk-Magistrate adopted Attorney Lewin’s proposal and BH’s case was referred to the juvenile diversion program.

On January 14, 2017 DM, a 28 year old male social worker, met his 28 year old girlfriend after she finished work as a waitress. They met at a bar in Salem. They had a few drinks and then moved to a second bar where the drinking continued. At closing time they left the bar and after picking up roast beef sandwiches headed back to DM’s apartment in Beverly. They had recently made a commitment to one another that they would not see other people romantically and they both stated they wanted to make a real go of the relationship. They arrived at DM’s apartment, went in, and began to eat their sandwiches. It was a good night; but then the girlfriends phone started buzzing. It was 1:30 in the morning. DM grabbed the phone and ran into the bathroom and locked the door. He looked at the most recent string of text messages and they were from a man that the girlfriend had been seeing. He knew she was not being sincere with him. DM was angry and hurt and came out of the bathroom and demanded that she leave. The girlfriend grabbed DM’s Christmas tree and threw it to the floor causing it to break. She then grabbed the corner of DM’s wide screen TV. DM ran over and grabbed the other corner of the TV. The girlfriend claimed that DM then pushed her down a flight of stairs. DM claimed she tripped and fell down the stairs. In any event she did end up down the stairs and her teeth had actually punctured through her lower lip. There was blood on her clothes and on the wall. She got up an left the apartment. She drove herself to the hospital. Her lip was sutured and photographs were taken of her face and lip. The hospital report stated that she was intoxicated and reported that her blood alcohol level was over twice the legal limit.

The next morning she went to the Beverly Police and reported the incident. The police obtained a warrant for DM’s arrest and he was taken into custody and arraigned in Salem District Court and held on $1,500.00 bail. His family posted the bail and he was released.

DM consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin and DM went over the facts of the case in great detail. DM was able to get a picture of the broken Christmas Tree and the damaged television. Photos were also taken of the location of the television right at the top of the stairs. Attorney Lewin pointed out to DM that his girlfriend had a Fifth Amendment privilege to not to testify. If she did testify she could incriminate herself in no less than three crimes: malicious destruction of the Christmas tree, malicious destruction of the television, and operating under the influence. Attorney Lewin went to the Court and filed a Motion for permission to contact the girlfriend. (The Judge, at DM’s arraignment, had ordered DM to have no contact – directly or indirectly – with the girlfriend.) The Judge granted Attorney Lewin permission to contact the girlfriend. Attorney Lewin did contact the girlfriend and explained to her how her testifying against DM could put herself in trouble. Attorney Lewin followed up the phone conversation with a letter to the girlfriend explaining in detail her Fifth Amendment privilege not to testify in the case.

On December 31, 2016 (New Years Eve day) WQ, a 27 year old software engineer who is a resident alien from Russia, got into an argument with her husband. The couple live in Andover, MA. WQ lost control and physically attacked her husband scratching his face and arms and back. He fled the house and went to the police station. He told the police he did not want her arrested. The police photographed his injuries and then went to the house and arrested WQ. She admitted to the police that she had scratched him but she said it was in self-defense.

WQ consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin of North Andover. Attorney Lewin was quite familiar with WQ and her husband as Attorney Lewin had represented her husband one year earlier in a domestic assault charge that had been filed against the husband by WQ. (See the posting on this blog dated February 24, 2016). The husband agreed to have Attorney Lewin represent his wife in this case.

After reviewing the facts it became clear to Attorney Lewin that a good case of self-defense could be made out by WQ. Attorney Lewin thoroughly prepared WQ for trial based on self-defense. Attorney Lewin and WQ had two lengthy trial preparation sessions during which Attorney Lewin prepared WQ for her testimony in Court.

On December 10, 2016 TD, a 63 year old corporate executive living in Andover, MA got into an argument with his wife. She claimed that TD grabbed her by the wrists and pulled her to the floor. She got on the phone and called 911; he grabbed an extension line and the two of them told the police that each had been assaulted by the other. The police responded to the house, spoke to each of them separately, and TD got arrested. TD and his wife had a long history of assault charges and abuse prevention orders (restraining orders) between them. TD consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin of North Andover.

Attorney Lewin took a completely statement of the facts from TD and a complete history of TD’s relationship with his wife. It became clear that TD was the victim and that his wife suffering from mental illness. It became apparent that TD’s wife had attacked TD with a Swiffer Mop and then pulled TD’s hair at which point TD did grab his wife’s wrists in self defense.

Attorney Lewin advised TD to take the case to trial and the case was set down for trial on March 13, 2017 in Lawrence District Court. TD and Attorney Lewin met in Attorney Lewin’s office for two  1 1/2 hour trial preparation sessions. TD was thoroughly prepared for all the questions that Attorney Lewin would ask at the trial. In addition Attorney Lewin prepared TD for cross-examination (questions that TD would be asked by the prosecutor). On March 13, 2017 the TD and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence District Court and answered ready for trial. Attorney Lewin had pictures of the Swiffer Mop. The prosecution then announced that they were declining to prosecute and the case was dismissed. (This was the third domestic assault and battery case in the last two weeks that Attorney Lewin was successful in getting dismissed.)

ED, a 61 year old financier, lives on the first floor of a two family house in North Andover. His brother and father live on the second floor. ED and his brother have been on bad terms with one another for years. On February 19, 2017 ED went upstairs to the second floor apartment to check on his father. ED and his brother got into an argument. The brother called the North Andover Police and told the police that ED had pushed the brother to the floor. The police came to the house and spoke first to the brother. The brother repeated that he had been pushed to the floor by ED. The police then went and spoke to ED. ED told the police that there had been an argument and that the two brothers had pushed one another. The North Andover Police filed applications for criminal complaints for assault against both brothers. The applications were set down for a hearing on March 16, 2017.

ED consulted and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. ED had no criminal record and worked in banking and was at risk of losing certain banking and finance licenses. Attorney Lewin learned that ED and his brother do not talk to one another. Attorney Lewin reached out to the brother and spoke with the brother. Attorney Lewin impressed upon the brother that criminal court is a place where no one wants to be if it can be avoided. The brother agreed with Attorney Lewin’s assessment of the situation.

On March 16, 2017 ED and Attorney Lewin and ED’s brother appeared in Lawrence District Court for the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin indicated to the Clerk-Magistrate that neither brother wished to go ahead. The Clerk-Magistrate dismissed both applications for criminal complaint that had been filed by the North Andover Police.

WX, a 32 year old professional nanny, was hired by a well to do family in Essex County to work as a nanny for their four children. WX worked for the family for 18 months and a strong relationship developed between WX and the entire family. WX was terrific with the children, one of whom was physically disabled. WX and the Mother of the children developed a frienship. The mother bought very high end children’s clothing and accumulated a great deal of new expesnive children’s clothes. WX is a single parent of two of her own children and financially was having difficulties. WX began to steal some of the clothing from the family and over a period of about two months stole in excess of $1,700.00 of the clothing. WX began to sell the clothes online. The mother discovered the online sales of the clothes that she had bought. WX had taken photos (to display the clothes online). Unfortunately for WX she had taken the photos of the clothes in the home where she worked and the mother immediately recognized her home in the pictures.  The mother reported this to the police. The police called in WX who confessed. WX received a Notice of Complaint Hearing from Lawrence District Court for Larceny Over $250. WX spoke with several lawyers and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover.

Attorney Lewin explained to WX that if there is anything that helps make these cases go away it is being able to pay the restitution ($1,700.00 in this case) without delay. Attorney Lewin immediately reached out to the police prosecutor and to the investigating detective and advocated for a disposition of the case at the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing that would not involve the issuance of a criminal complaint. WX was very lucky: (1) Larceny Over $250 is a felony and is an arrestable offense and she could have been arrested the day she walked into the police station. The police did not arrest her; (2) Larceny Over $250 – being a felony – is a crime for which there is no right to a hearing before a Clerk-Magistrate to decide if a criminal complaint will be issued. Normally when a person is accused of Larceny Over $250 the police either arrest or have the Court issue a summons. In WX’s case the police did not arrest nor did they request a summons. (A summons means that a criminal complaint issues without a hearing and a criminal record is created when the person appears in Court for an arraignment on the summons.) The police requested that a hearing take place to decide whether or not a criminal complaint would be issued against WX. Attorney Lewin recognized that this was unusual and felt that perhaps the police and/or the victim family would be willing to resolve the case without a criminal complaint being issued against WX. Attorney Lewin advocated hard with the police to agree to settle the case at the hearing without a criminal complaint actually issuing against WX.

On February 16, 2017 Attorney Robert Lewin and WX appeared at Lawrence District Court for the hearing. Also present were the Husband and Wife from whom WX had stolen the clothes and the Police Prosecutor. The hearing proceeded. The purpose of a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing is simply for the Clerk-Magistrate to determine if there is probable cause to issue a criminal complaint so that the case can proceed in regular criminal court. In an appropriate case – even when there is probable cause – the Clerk-Magistrates have the discretion to not issue a criminal complaint. Attorney Lewin explained to the Clerk-Magistrate and to the Husband and Wife from whom the clothes had been stolen that WX was prepared to pay the $1,700 in restitution immediately. The police (and to everyone’s surprise) the Husband and Wife were agreeable to a criminal complaint not being issued against WX. The issuance of a criminal complaint would have ruined her career as a nanny. No one wants to hire a thief; and having a charge of Larceny Over $250 on your record brands you as a thief. The Clerk-Magistrate hearing the case was at first extremely reluctant to not issue a complaint. He spoke of the breach of trust and the amount of money involved and the taking of pictures of the clothing in the victim’s home. The Clerk-Magistrate gave WX a long lecture, but in the end he went along with Attorney Lewin’s request to not issue the criminal complaint. The Clerk-Magistrate continued the hearing for six months. He ordered WX to pay the $1,700.00 immediately – which she did. He ordered her to perform 20 hours of community service and to not violate the criminal law.

In the late summer of 2016 NU, a 31 year old technician from Lowell and his then girlfriend KD were going through a breakup in their relationship. The biggest issue in the breakup was a “custody dispute” over who was going to get the dog. (You could not make this story up.) KD wrote to Judge Judy (the TV Judge) and told Judge Judy about the case. Judge Judy wanted the case for TV and flew both NU and KD to California where the two of them AND THE DOG appeared on the show. Judge Judy ruled that KD had not made out her case that the dog was hers and the dog remained with NU. On October 15, 2016 NU and the dog flew back to Massachusetts. On October 16, 2016 NU and the dog were in NU’s apartment. NU began receiving text messages from KD that she needed to see the dog and have “one last reunion with the dog”. KD pleaded that she was heartbroken and wanted to see the dog. NU said no. KD’s text messages continued and then she began calling him and then she told him that she was outside his apartment building in the street and would he bring the dog out. NU relented and brought the dog outside. KD and NU went to a bench in a park across the street from NU’s apartment building. KD’s car was parked in the street in front of NU’s apartment building. Suddenly NU grabbed the dog and ran through the park toward another car that was parked across the park. As she approached that other car the back door of the car opened and a man reached out for the dog. A second man was sitting in the driver’s seat of the running car.  KD claimed that NU pushed her to the ground injuring her arm and leg and grabbed the dog and then ran back to his apartment with the dog. KD called the Lowell Police who responded. KD told the police the dog was hers and that NU had pushed her to the ground causing her to injure her arm and leg. The police went to NU’s apartment; the police arrested NU!! The police charged him with Assault & Battery on his ex-girlfriend. The police seized the dog and gave the dog to KD. NU was held in the police station overnight and was brought to Lowell District Court on the next morning and was arraigned. The case was continued for pre-trial hearing.

NU, after speaking with several lawyers, met with Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover and hired Attorney Lewin. NU vehemently denied pushing or touching KD in any way. NU said KD got injured when she fell trying to run to the car with the dog.

On January 18, 2017 the case was called for jury trial in Lowell District Court. Attorney Lewin answered that he was ready for trial. Attorney Lewin then told the Judge that the two men – both of whom were present in Court and ready to testify for the Commonwealth – and KD had engaged in a criminal conspiracy to steal the dog from NU. Attorney Lewin said that each of the three witnesses for the Commonwealth could themselves be prosecuted for the crime of Conspiracy to Steal and that each of the three witnesses should be warned of their right not to incriminate themselves. The Trial Judge agreed and the Judge appointed three separate attorneys to speak to the three witnesses. Attorney Lewin explained to each of the lawyers the circumstances showed overwhelmingly that the two men and KD had conspired (agreed) to go to NU’s apartment in Lowell, to lure him and the dog outside, and then to grab the dog, throw the dog in the awaiting car with the two men, who would then drive off with the dog. Within ten minutes the two men let it be known that they would exercise their right not to incriminate themselves and NOT testify in the case. It took another twenty minutes and then KD (the ex-girlfriend) saw the light and she decided not to testify. The case was called again by the Judge and the DA told the Judge that their three witnesses were declining to testify and the Commonwealth could not go forward. Attorney Lewin immediately moved for a dismissal of the case and the case was ordered dismissed.