Articles Posted in Clerk-Magistrate Hearings

KM, a strikingly beautiful 22 year old single mom, made a poor choice of boyfriend.  She had an apartment in Methuen and he moved in with her. She became pregnant and then the boyfriend cheated on her. How did KM know? She found a video on the boyfriend’s cell phone of the boyfriend and the “other woman” having sex! In a moment of anger, KM broke the bathroom door in the apartment and put a whole in the wall. Yes, she has a temper. The boyfriend called the police. (You can’t make this stuff up.) The police came, investigated, and applied for a criminal complaint against KM for malicious destruction of property in Lawrence District Court. The application was set down for a Clerk-Magistrate hearing on January 30, 2024. KM consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover.

Attorney Lewin contacted the Police prosecutor and explained the entire episode to the police prosecutor. KM had a family member who could do repair work and could fix the door and the wall.

On January 30, 2024, KM and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence District Court for the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin explained the situation to the Clerk-Magistrate. Attorney Lewin proposed that the Clerk-Magistrate take no action on the application for criminal complaint and continue the hearing for 3 months to give KM an opportunity to fix the door and fix the hole in the wall. The Clerk-Magistrate (and the police prosecutor) agreed with Attorney Lewin’s suggestion and the hearing was continued to April 30, 2024. The Clerk-Magistrate said that if the repairs were completed before that date the no one had to come to court and the matter would be dismissed.

On August 30, 2023, NN, a 44 year old software engineer from Rowley, was on his way home at about 1:20 in the morning after a “night out”. As he prepared to make a right turn onto his street, he missed the street. So he put his car into reverse and proceeded to back up. Unfortunately, he backed up into a neighbor’s driveway, striking the front end of a pick up truck that was parked in the driveway, pushing the back end of the pickup truck into the side of the garage causing damage to both the pickup truck and the garage.  Not realizing what he had done, NN put his vehicle in drive and pulled out of the driveway and pulled into his own driveway, went in his house, and went to sleep!

Unfortunately for NN, parts of his car were left in the neighbor’s driveway and it did not take the police long to figure out that it was NN’s vehicle that had caused the damage. The police contacted NN and he made admissions to the police that he had been driving that early morning, but he had no memory of the accident. The police served a citation for leaving the scene of a property damage accident on NN, and a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing was scheduled in Newburyport District Court for October 25, 2023. NN consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover.

Attorney Lewin contacted the homeowner whose truck and house had been damaged. Fortunately for NN the cost to repair the damage to the house and the pickup truck was not great. NN did not want to be surcharged on his insurance. Attorney Lewin was able to negotiate a reasonable settlement of the damage to the truck and the house which NN was more than willing to pay. Attorney Lewin then spoke to the police prosecutor from Rowley and explained that Attorney Lewin had been able to arrange for the neighbor to be fully paid for the damage that had been caused. In return, Attorney Lewin was able to get the police to agree that at the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing the police would not be opposed to a criminal complaint NOT being issued against NN.

On Saturday, April 13, 2024, DP, a 49 year old registered nurse from Andover, went to her ex-husband’s house. She had just finished a work shift and had called her two young daughters who were at her ex-husband’s house for his parenting time. When she called she could tell that he had been drinking and was not sober. She immediately drove to his house from her work to get the girls (ages 11 and 9). When she got there and went to check on the girls, he blocked her way. She pushed him out of the way and in the process cut his lip. He called 911 and the police came. The police did not arrest her, but told her she would be summonsed to court. Shortly thereafter, DP received a notice from Lawrence District Court that an Application for Criminal Complaint had been filed against her by the Andover Police for domestic assault and battery and that a hearing would be held on May 30, 2024 to determine if a criminal complaint would be issued against her. DP consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover.

Attorney Lewin felt it would be outrageous if in these circumstances DP would be charged.  She went to the house to protect her daughters. Attorney Lewin immediately contacted DP’s ex-husband and he agreed (!) that DP should not be charged. Attorney Lewin had a lengthy communication with the Andover Police Prosecutor and laid out all the facts for him.

On May 30, 2024, DP and Attorney Lewin (and DP’s ex-husband) appeared at Lawrence District Court for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin had DP’s ex-husband testify that he did not want a criminal complaint to be issued against DP. Attorney Lewin explained all the circumstances to the Clerk-Magistrate. The Clerk-Magistrate agreed with Attorney Lewin and denied the application for criminal complaint and dismissed the case.

On January 11, 2024, JM, a 20 year old sheet metal worker, was on his way to work at 6:45 in the morning. He was driving on a street in Andover when a Town Forestry truck with a chipper attached pulled in front of him. He braked but could not stop and struck the rear of the chipper. He kept driving and left the scene without stopping and giving his info. Several hours later, after talking the situation over with his father, he drove to the Andover PD and self-reported the accident. The police told him he should have stopped at the scene and they gave him a citation for leaving the scene of an accident! (Only in Andover would the police cite someone who 3 hours after the accident self-reported the accident.)

As a 20 year old driver, JM was facing a substantial loss of license if charged and convicted. JM and his father contacted and hired Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover.  Attorney Lewin advised JM to immediately request a clerk-magistrate hearing which JM did. Attorney Lewin contacted the Andover Police Prosecutor and pointed out that within three hours of the accident JM self-reported the accident and identified himself as the driver of the car. Attorney Lewin did some investigation and it turns out that although there was clearly a collision between JM’s vehicle and the chipper, the chipper had not sustained any damage. One of the elements of the crime of Leaving the Scene (Hit and Run) is that there must be some damage to the other vehicle. JM’s vehicle was damaged, but it turns out that the chipper had sustained no damage. Attorney Lewin was able to get the Town Forestry Assistant Manager to confirm that there was no damager to the chipper. Attorney Lewin notified the Police Prosecutor that there was no damage to the chipper.

On April 25, 2024, JM and Attorney Lewin appeared at Lawrence District Court for the Clerk-Magistrate hearing.  The case was called and JM and Attorney Lewin walked into the hearing room. The Assistant Clerk-Magistrate and the Police Prosecutor were present in the room. It was obvious that the Clerk-Magistrate and the Police Prosecutor had discussed the case. The Clerk-Magistrate turned to Attorney Lewin and said what would you like me to do. Attorney Lewin said dismiss the case. The Clerk-Magistrate then said “I am entering a finding of NO probable cause and NO criminal complaint will be issued. This matter is dismissed” The hearing took about 30 seconds.

LS, a 17 year old high school student, took one of his family cars and decided to do a time trial on an Andover Street. He had three other kids in the car with him. Going around a corner at a high speed he lost control and crashed into a stone wall. Fortunately for LS no one was hurt and the other three kids in the car took off. A neighbor called the police and the Andover Police arrived shortly thereafter. LS was cited by the police for speeding and negligent operation. LS and his parents met with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately told LS to file the citation at the Clerk-Magistrate’s at Lawrence Juvenile Court. The filing of the citation at the court preserved LS’s right to a Clerk-Magistrate Heating BEFORE a juvenile complaint was issued against him.

Negligent Operation is what is called a Chapter 90 Offense; Chapter 90 is the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle law. Juvenile’s, with no prior court involvement, are typically eligible for consideration into the Juvenile Diversion program. The Juvenile Diversion Program causes a criminal (juvenile) charge to be “diverted” out of the criminal justice system. As a matter of practice, however, Chapter 90 Offenses (such as Negligent Operation in this case) will not be diverted.

After being hired, Attorney Lewin went over to the Juvenile Court in Lawrence to review the court papers and get a copy of the police report. The Clerk-Magistrate informed Attorney Lewin that the police had not yet filed their paperwork at the Court. There is a little known rule called the “6-Day Rule”. The Motor Vehicle Law contains a provision that the police must file their paperwork at the court within 6 business days of the violation. When Attorney Lewin saw that the police had not filed their paperwork (on the fourth business day), Attorney Lewin called LS and his parents and told them we are doing to go silent and wait and see if the police file within the 6 business days. And wait they did. Finally on the 15th business day after the violation the police filed their paperwork at the Court. Attorney Lewin immediately filed a Motion to Dismiss the case for violation of the 6 day rule.

On September 19, 2023, BL, a 60 year old nurse from Methuen, went to a store in Haverhill,. As she pulled down the street in the front of the store her passenger side outside mirror struck the driver side outside mirror of a car parked on the street.  All of this was captured on an on street video camera. BL continued down the street a short distance and then parked. BL is then seen walking over to the struck vehicle, looking at it the mirror was hanging down by a wire), and then continuing to the store. She is then seen leaving the store with three other people, walking over to the struck vehicle, and then walking to her vehicle and drive away. She did not offer her information. The incident was reported to the police. The police viewed the video. Her license plate number had been written down by someone at the scene. The police cited BL for leaving the scene of a property damage accident and her case was set down for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing on December 8, 2023.

BL contacted and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately obtained copies of the police report and contacted the Haverhill Police and was able to obtain from the police a copy of the on street video and a copy of the photos of the struck video. BL could not afford to lose her license as she is a private duty nurse who travels everyday from Methuen to Merrimack to care for a patient. A conviction of a hit and run property damage case carries as 60 day loss of license. Attorney Lewin advocated on BL’s behalf with the police to agree to a disposition where BL would not be charged.

The hearing was a zoom hearing. Prior to the hearing Attorney Lewin had obtained and electronically filed at Haverhill District Court a notice that the man whose car had been struck  had been fully compensated for the damage to his vehicle by his insurance company. On December 8, 2023, Attorney Lewin and BL appeared on the zoom along with the Clerk-Magistrate and the Police Prosecutor. Attorney Lewin advocated strenuously to the Clerk-Magistrate not to issue a criminal complaint against BL.

On August 22, 2023, QG, a 48 year old executive administrator for a high tech company, got caught shoplifting in Target in Danvers. She had picked up a number of items and went to the self check out machine. She put several low cost items thorough the scanner and simply put the other items in a shopping bag without scanning them or paying for them. She then headed for the exit. As she was leaving the store she was stopped by a loss prevention officer and returned into the store. Unfortunately for QG, she had been observed shoplifting on prior occasions and the loss prevention officer recognized her from previous video tapes. The Danvers police were called to the store and told QG that she would receive a notice from Salem District Court.  QG then received a Notice of a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing to take place on October 24, 2023. QG became very concerned that if her employer learned of this that she would be fired. QG contracted several lawyers and had a free initial zoom consult (1 1/2 hours) with Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. QG retained Attorney Lewin.

Attorney Lewin immediately obtained copies of all the court papers and police reports. Attorney Lewin then called the Police Prosecutor and advocated with the prosecutor to resolve the case at the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing without a criminal complaint issuing against QG.

On October 24, 2023 Attorney Lewin and QG appeared at Salem District Court for the hearing. Attorney Lewin advocated for the clerk to not issue a criminal complaint against QG. The Clerk-Magistrate asked the prosecutor for his input. The prosecutor told the Clerk that he had spoken with Attorney Lewin and that he had no objection to a criminal complaint not issuing against QG. The Clerk-Magistrate then said he would continue the hearing for 3 months without issuing a criminal complaint and if there were no reports of QG breaking the criminal law then at the end of the three months no one had to come to court and the Application for Criminal Complaint would be denied and dismissed.

On December 10, 2022, at 4:00 am after a night out with friends, ND, a 25 year old man from Methuen, was driving to his home in Methuen when he struck a parked car in Haverhill. He was able to pull his car into an adjacent parking lot in Haverhill. He then left his car there and walked away from the scene. He called a family member who picked him up in Haverhill and brought him home to Methuen. The police responded to the accident scene. They found ND’s car and ran the plate and it came back to ND. Meanwhile, ND’s family member called the police to report the accident and to report that ND had been driving the car at the time of the accident. The police issued a citation to ND for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage accident.

ND and his family contacted and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin instructed ND to immediately take the citation and bring it to Haverhill District Court to request a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin explained to ND that a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing is an opportunity to “kill the case” before it goes to a criminal complaint. ND immediately brought the citation to Haverhill District Court and requested a hearing.

Attorney Lewin contacted ND’s insurance company to make sure that the owner of the parked car had been paid for the damage (total) to his car. This is important as the Clerk-Magistrate will want to know if the “victim” has been fully compensated for his loss. Attorney Lewin was able to get written confirmation of payment from the insurance company. Attorney Lewin also ran a copy of ND’s driver history and it was clean. This is important as the police will give the Clerk-Magistrate a copy of the driver history at the hearing and it is important to know ahead of time what it shows. In addition, Attorney Lewin ran ND’s criminal history and it only showed one minor criminal case that had been dismissed seven years previously. Attorney Lewin also reached out to the Haverhill Police Prosecutor to discuss a resolution of the case that would not involve the issuance of a criminal complaint against ND.

BX, an attractive 30 year old female nurse at a large Boston hospital, had a whirlwind romance with DD, a 33 year old male engineer. They had a first date in October 2022 and by Thanksgiving they were talking of marriage. They went to NY and looked at Diamond Rings at Tiffany’s. He brought her to meet his family. He went to her parents to get permission to marry her. The two planned a trip to the Caribbean where they would seal the deal. Two days before they were to leave to go on the trip they got into an argument. The argument was over his failure to get rid of body soap in the shower that belonged to one of his former girlfriends. (He just could not let go of the memories that fragrance triggered!) Well BX got very angry with him and according to the police report she hauled off and slapped him twice across the face. She then left his place. He then called off the planned engagement and went to the Caribbean by himself.  When he returned, his car, which he had left parked in the street, had several new dents in it that were not there before he left. He went to the police and reported the damage to his car and the two slaps to the face. The police applied for a criminal complaint against BX for Assault & Battery on a Household Member. (The police could not charge BX with the damage to DD’s car, as there was no evidence at all that she had caused the damage.)

BX is an emergency room nurse at a major Boston Hospital. A charge of Assault & Battery would cause her problems with the Board of Registration in Nursing and with her employer. It was critical to BX that a criminal complaint not be issued against her.  BX had had a previous run in with the criminal law, and had hired Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover to represent her in that prior case. Attorney Lewin was successful in defeating that prior case at a Clerk’s Hearing. Once again BX turned to and retained Attorney Robert Lewin for help.

Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the Cambridge police prosecutor and explained the details of the relationship between BX and DD. Attorney Lewin advocated with the police prosecutor for no criminal complaint to be issued against BX. Attorney Lewin obtained the police reports and reviewed them in detail with BX. Attorney Lewin fully prepared BX for the Clerk-Magistrate hearing and prepared her to testify.

On September 3, 2022 NB, a 19 year old college student from Lawrence, drove to the Wendy’s at the Loop in Methuen. It was close to 11:00 pm at night and there was a large gathering of young people in front of the theatre. NB was going a little too fast for the liking of the police and he got pulled over. When he put the window down the police spotted an open can of beer in the center console next to NB. The police ordered NB out of the car. A series of field sobriety tests was administered to NB and he passed them with flying colors. He had had nothing to drink. The police cited him for the open container violation. NB requested a hearing.

NB (and his father) consulted with and hired Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. It turns out that NB’s father had been working on the car and had put an open beer in the cup holder while he was working on the car. When he finished working on the car he left the can of beer in the cup holder. When NB took the car later that night to go to Wendy’s he did not notice the can.

On November 15, 2022, NB and his father and Attorney Lewin appeared at Lawrence District Court for the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. The police prosecutor from Methuen was present at the hearing. The police prosecutor read the citation but had no other report from which he could recite the facts as to what actually happened. When the Police Prosecutor was done the Clerk-Magistrate looked at Attorney Lewin and asked what if anything he had to say. Attorney Lewin smiled and said to the prosecutor “I know when to keep my mouth shut. The police did not present any narrative or evidence as to what had happened; therefore NB is entitled to be found NOT Responsible.” The Clerk-Magistrate then turned to NB and said to him: “Today is your lucky day. I find you NOT Responsible.” NB and his Dad left the courthouse thrilled.

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