ANOTHER NOT GUILTY IN A HIT & RUN CASE

On Saturday morning March 2, 2019 at about 2:30 am,  DE, a 48 year old plasterer from Malden, was arrested for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident and for Failing to Identify Himself. The police responded to a one car accident on Rt. 99 in Malden. A work van full of plastering equipment was found by the police up against a utility pole. The entire front end of the van was crashed in and both front airbags had deployed. No one was in the van. The keys were still in the ignition. The police ran the license plate and the registered owner was DE who lived near the accident scene. It was 2:30 in the morning. The police got an anonymous tip that a man wearing a gray sweater was seen leaving the van and heading up the street on foot toward the street where DE lived. The police drove up the street and located DE walking. He was drunk; he was covered in plaster; and he was walking toward his home. The police asked DE to identify himself and he refused. He demanded to know why the police were stopping him. The police told him his van was wrapped around a pole and he said F___ you to the officer. The police arrested DE. He refused to say anything to the police. He refused to admit the van was his; he refused to admit that he was driving; he said NOTHING. DE was brought to the police station and again he refused to say anything. He was put in a cell and at about two in the afternoon he finally got bailed out. On Monday, March 4, 2019 DE went to Malden Court and was arraigned.

DE called Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. DE was quite familiar with Attorney Lewin as Attorney Lewin had successfully defended DE against a charge of Drunk Driving 2nd Offense that had been brought against DE by the Gloucester Police in June of 2018. That case went to a jury trial on November 28, 2018 and on November 29, 2018 DE was found NOT guilty. (To read about that case see the entry on this website dated December 4, 2018).

In any event Attorney Lewin prepared the case for trial and noted that the Commonwealth would have trouble proving that DE was driving the van at the time of the accident. The District Attorney had numerous documents from the Registry of Motor Vehicles; but Attorney Lewin noticed that the documents were not properly certified. Attorney Lewin kept that little tidbit of information to himself.

On December 10, 2019 DE and Attorney Lewin appeared in Malden Court – which was sitting in the Courthouse in Medford. Attorney Lewin had met with DE several times in the weeks leading up to the trial date. Attorney Lewin told DE that DE would not testify and that Attorney Lewin felt this would be a good case to try to a Judge – as opposed to a jury. DE agreed. The case was called and Attorney Lewin answered that the Defense was ready for trial. The Assistant DA answered that the Commonwealth was ready for trial. The trial began and the Assistant District Attorney offered in evidence the documents from the Registry of Motor Vehicles that showed that the vehicle was registered to DE. Attorney Lewin objected. The Judge asked the reason for the objection and Attorney Lewin explained to the Judge in detail that the documents were not properly certified and should not be admitted into evidence. The Assistant DA was caught completely off-guard and had no response. The Judge ruled that the documents could NOT be admitted into evidence. The State’s case fell apart. The State had NO evidence as to who the owner of the vehicle was, let alone who the driver was. The State could not prove that DE was the owner of the van. The Commonwealth called one police officer to testify but he could not testify that DE was either the owner or the operator of the van. The officer’s testimony took about five minutes. Attorney Lewin moved for a required finding of NOT guilty. The Judge found DE NOT guilty.

As DE and Attorney Lewin were leaving the Courthouse DE turned to Attorney Lewin and said “you are always ready and prepared”. DE gave Attorney Lewin a big firm handshake. It doesn’t get much better.