Articles Posted in Pretrial Diversion

KC, a 27 year old mechanic from Hampstead, NH, got caught purchasing heroin during a police surveillance operation at a hotel in Andover. He was arrested on Saturday, December 26, 2015 and released to appear in Lawrence District Court for an arraignment on December 29, 2015. KC retained Attorney Robert Lewin to represent him and to appear in Court with him for his arraignment on December 29, 2015. KC’s timing was excellent. KC had no criminal record and is a Veteran. If his arraignment actually took place on December 29, 2015 then a criminal record would be created. It was important to try to avoid an arraignment from taking place.

Attorney Lewin had no less than three approaches to avoiding the arraignment. First, KC, as a Veteran who served in combat, was eligible to have his case diverted out of the criminal justice system under the newly passed Massachusetts Valor Act. Secondly, the Essex County District Attorney’s Office has a drug diversion program for first time drug offenders with no criminal record. Thirdly, Chapter 111E of the Massachusetts General Laws also provides a framework for diversion of drug cases out of the criminal justice system.

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On February 17, 2015, DR, an 18 year old senior at a local high school was in the back seat of a car with several friends. The boys were drinking. The car was parked in an area that was closed and the police approached the car and observed DR kicking what appeared to be a bottle of whiskey under the front seat. DR was ordered out of the car, admitted to the police the bottle was his, and was charged with being a minor in possession of alcohol. He was not arrested; the police applied for a criminal complaint against DR and a hearing before a Clerk-Magistrate at Lawrence District Court was scheduled. DR had been accepted to a number of colleges and was still waiting to hear from other schools and was concerned that this case would get onto his criminal record and could affect his ability to go to college. DR’s parents retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the police prosecutor from North Andover and explained the situation to him and advocated for the case to be diverted out of the criminal court system and to be sent to the “juvenile” diversion program. Even though DR was not a juvenile, the Essex County Juvenile Diversion Program will accept young adults in certain cases. Attorney Lewin also spoke directly with the people from the Diversion Program and they agreed that DR was an appropriate candidate for the diversion program.On March 26, 2015 DR, his mother and father, and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lawrence District Court for the Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin made a full presentation to the Clerk-Magistrate of all the good qualities and accomplishments in DR’s background and why he merited this opportunity to keep his record clean. The Police and the Clerk-Magistrate agreed and the Clerk-Magistrate diverted DR’s case out of the criminal court system and referred DR to the Diversion Program. As a result of this disposition NO criminal complaint was issued against DR and NO criminal record was created. It is as if the incident did not happen. DR and his parents left the Court very relieved.

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