Articles Posted in Domestic Assault Cases

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).

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.

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.

JF, a 36 year old resident alien from Russia, lived in Andover with his wife, also a resident alien from Russia. Both he and she are software engineers. On Friday evening, November 6, 2015, JF went to a retirement party for a fellow employee at a hotel in Andover. JF’s wife was angry with JF because she felt he was having an affair with another woman – an accusation that he denied. She declined to go to the retirement party with him. According to the Andover police reports at 6:40 in the morning on Saturday, November 7, 2015 the police responded to a 911 call from JF’s apartment. Upon arriving they found JF and his stunning 26 year old wife in the apartment. The police report reads: “I could hear crying coming from the bedroom so I entered the room and observed a female sitting on a mattress on the floor in the back corner of the room. .. She was crying hysterically and could barely speak. She had a laceration to her left eye that was red and swollen and a bruise at the corner of her right eye. Her face was red and appeared to be swollen.  I also observed scratches on her right arm. She had a bloody paper towel that she was patting her eye with. I asked her what happened and she replied that her husband (JF) came home at 4:30 AM drunk and they began arguing. She stated that her husband then pushed her to the ground and when she tried to get up he grabbed her by the back of the neck with one hand and was punching her in the face with a closed fist with the other hand. She was shaking and hyperventilating while trying to speak to me.” A police photographer was called to the apartment and numerous color photos of JF’s wife were taken. The police arrested JF and brought him to the Andover PD. The following Monday JF was arraigned in Lawrence District Court and his case was continued to December 11, 2015 for a pre-trial hearing. JF contacted, met with, and retained Attorney Robert Lewin in North Andover. Attorney Lewin took a detailed statement of the facts of the case and learned that in fact it was JF’s wife who had been the primary aggressor in the fight and she was the person who started the fight. In addition Attorney Lewin learned that it was JF, and not his wife, who made the 911 call to the police because he was afraid that his wife was going to kill him. Attorney Lewin filed the appropriate motions to obtain a copy of JF’s 911 call to the police. (The Commonwealth was slow to turn this over because they knew it hurt their case but the Defense got the 911 call.) In addition JF had been badly beaten and scratched by his wife and (fortunately) the police had taken photos of JF and Attorney Lewin secured color copies of those pictures. On December 11, 2015 JF and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence District Court and the case was continued for a jury trial to February 23, 2016. Attorney Lewin met with JF’s wife and established an excellent relationship with her. Attorney Lewin explained that she had both a Marital Privilege not to testify against her husband as well as a Fifth Amendment Privilege not to testify. Attorney Lewin fully prepared JF for the trial. A “mock trial” was conducted in Attorney Lewin’s office. Attorney Lewin “role played” the part of the Assistant District Attorney and prepared JF for his cross-examination by the District Attorney. On February 23, 2016 Attorney Lewin and JF appeared at Lawrence District Court and answered ready for trial when the case was called. JF’s wife exercised her marital privilege and declined to testify. The Commonwealth decided not to go ahead with the case (although they could have). Attorney Lewin moved that the charge be dismissed and the Judge ordered the case dismissed. Had JF been convicted he may very well have been deported back to Russia. JF and his wife left the Court House arm in arm very happy with the outcome.

On Sunday, January 25, 2015, TD, a 38 year old male mental health counselor, was arrested by the Methuen Police and charged with two counts of Assault & Battery on his wife. One of the counts alleged that TD had strangled his wife. On Monday, January 26, 2015 TD was brought to Lawrence District Court and was ordered detained (held without bail). A full detention hearing was scheduled for Friday, January 30, 2015. TD’s family contacted Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin obtained the papers in TD’s case from the Court and then went to the jail in Middleton to meet with TD. TD’s family retained Attorney Lewin and Attorney Lewin prepared a presentation for the Judge for the detention hearing. Attorney Lewin also met with the Assistant District Attorney assigned to the case.
Ever since the Jared Remy case (he killed his girlfriend while out on release in a domestic abuse case) the Courts have gotten much stricter in these cases. Pre-trial detention used to be very rare in these cases, now it is commonplace.
On January 30, 2015 TD was brought to court and a detention hearing was held. An agreement was reached between Attorney Lewin and the DA’s Office that TD could be released but that until the case was finished he could not go home and had to wear a GPS device. TD was released and went to live with a friend in Haverhill. The case was continued to February 13, 2015. On that date Attorney Lewin petitioned the Court to allow TD to go back home and to remove the GPS device. After a full contested hearing the Judge granted Attorney Lewin’s request and ordered that TD could go back home and that the GPS device could be removed. The case was set down for jury trial on March 30, 2015. Attorney Lewin met with TD’s wife and she signed a marital affidavit stating that she would not testify against her husband. On March 30, 2015 TD and his wife and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence District Court. The case was called for trial. Attorney Lewin answered that the Defense was ready for trial. Attorney Lewin told the Judge that TD”s wife was present in court and wished to exercise her marital privilege. The Judge had a discussion with TD’s wife and the Judge accepted her exercise of her marital privilege. The DA said the state could not go forward. Attorney Lewin then moved that the case be dismissed. The judge then ordered the case dismissed. This was significant for TD as a conviction or an admission of guilt of any type that he had strangled his wife would have cost him his job and potentially would have landed him in jail. TD (and his wife) left the Court arm in arm and happy that this ordeal was behind them.

CN, a 15 year old boy in the 9th grade at a local well to do Essex County high school, was in a dating relationship with 14 year old girl. In the fall of 2014 CN and the girl were “making out” According to the girl, CN stated that it would be fun to have rough sex and he scratched her on the back and hit her three times in the stomach. She told him to stop and she says that he did not. About one month after this incident the girl stated that she and CN had sexual intercourse. Word of this was spread to the school authorities who in turn notified the police. The police interviewed CN. CN told the police that he had never gotten physical with the girl and that the scratches had been an accident when he held her too tight. The police re-interviewed the girl. She stuck to her story and showed the police photographs of the injuries she allegedly sustained from CN. In addition she told the police that when she and CN would make out he would call her names like slut. Lastly the girl showed the police text messages from other girls stating that CN did the same things to them.

The police filed an application for a juvenile complaint for assault and battery against CN in the Essex County Juvenile Court. CN’s parents retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover to represent CN. The application for complaint was scheduled for a hearing by the Clerk-Magistrate of the Juvenile Court. Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the police prosecutor and the coordinator of the Juvenile Diversion Program and advocated for CN’s case to be “diverted” out of the Criminal/Juvenile Justice System. The Essex County District Attorney’s Office runs a Juvenile Diversion Program. The purpose of the program is to allow a juvenile – in an appropriate case – to avoid having a criminal/juvenile record. If a juvenile is accepted into the Juvenile Diversion Program, the Juvenile Court Proceedings are suspended, no arraignment tales place, and no criminal/juvenile record is created. Upon successful completion of the Juvenile Diversion Program the criminal/juvenile charges are dismissed without any arraignment having taken place and no criminal/juvenile record is created. Because of the nature of the allegations made by the girl the police were hesitant to recommend diversion and actually wanted CN to be prosecuted in juvenile court for the alleged assault and battery. Attorney Lewin explained to CN and his parents that the case had to be prepared as if it were going to go to trial, but at the same time efforts to get the case diverted would continue. Attorney Lewin had several meetings with the police prosecutor and the Juvenile Diversion coordinator and advocated zealously for the case to be diverted.

On December 10, 2014 CN and his parents and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence Juvenile Court. Attorney Lewin had had CN enroll in counseling with an adolescent counselor prior to the court date and Attorney Lewin had secured a favorable report from the counselor. At the hearing the Police were still somewhat reluctant to wholeheartedly endorse diversion, but they did not oppose it. The Clerk-Magistrate said she would recommend the case for diversion, but that the Diversion Coordinator would have the final say as to whether the case would be accepted into the diversion program. Because there was an allegation of boyfriend/girlfriend abuse everyone in the “court system” was reluctant to let the case go into diversion. Ultimately the Diversion Coordinator agreed that CN would be a good candidate for diversion and the case was accepted for diversion. CN is in the diversion program now and is doing well. The diversion program is designed to run for four to six months. It typically includes the Juvenile writing a letter on better decision making and – in a case of domestic violence – it almost always includes a program of counseling on teen dating violence.

On July 14, 2014, JC, a 46 year old housewife from Tewksbury got drunk. When her husband got home from work she attacked him ripping his shirt off and throwing things at him. He called 911. The police responded. Photographs were taken by the police of the husband and of his torn shirt. JC was arrested. This was her second arrest for assaulting her husband. In 2013 she had been arrested and charged with domestic assault & battery by means of a dangerous weapon. In the 2013 case JC retained Attorney Robert Lewin and Attorney Lewin was successful in getting that case dismissed. Following her arrest she was brought to the Tewksbury Police Station; she was booked and held for court. JC again retained Attorney Robert Lewin. JC was arraigned and released and her case continued for a pre-trial hearing. Attorney Lewin met with JC’s husband and he agreed to exercise his marital privilege. In Massachusetts a spouse (husband or wife) may refuse to testify against their spouse at a criminal trial. The marital privilege only applies to testifying at a criminal trial. JC and Attorney Lewin appeared at Lowell District Court for the pre-trial hearing. JC’s husband was present at the pre-trial hearing and was prepared to exercise his marital privilege at the pre-trial hearing. The Judge ruled that the privilege could only be exercised at the trial and the case was continued to October 3, 2014 for trial.
On October 3, 2014 JC and Attorney Lewin appeared at Lowell District Court; the case was called and Attorney Lewin answered ready for trial. JC’s husband was present and was called forward. He exercised his marital privilege and the privilege was accepted by the trial judge (who happened to be the same judge who had refused to accept the privilege at the pre-trial hearing). The Assistant District Attorney stated that without the husband’s testimony the Commonwealth did not have sufficient evidence to prosecute the case and the case was dismissed. In this case there was a recording of the 911 call made by JC’s husband to the Tewksbury Police Department. In that recording the husband tells the police that he had been attacked by his wife, that she had ripped his shirt off, and that this had happened before. Normally speaking, 911 recordings are not admissible; they are hearsay evidence. One of the exceptions to the hearsay rule is that if the 911 call contains an excited utterance or if the statements made to the police are made for the purpose of quelling an ongoing emergency situation or for the purpose of determining if a person is in need of medical care then the contents of the 911 call are admissible at trial and can be used as evidence against the accused. Attorney Lewin prepared a lengthy and detailed Motion to Exclude the contents of the 911 Recording. The District Attorney agreed with Attorney Lewin’s analysis of the law and thus the Commonwealth did not go forward with the trial. JC was very fortunate that her husband did not want to go forward and she was fortunate that Attorney Lewin was able to convince the DA that the contents of the 911 call would not be admitted at trial; for the second time she walked out of the Lowell District Courthouse a free woman.