Nurse Charged With Larceny From A Disabled Patient Found NOT Guilty After 2-Day Jury Trial

DC, a male nurse in his mid thirties, was employed at an agency that provides care for disabled adults. Care is provided in the patients’ homes and patients are also brought to a center where there are day activities for them. DC began caring for Paul (not the patient’s real name) in 2014. Paul suffered from Klumpke paralysis and had virtually no use of his hands and arms and also suffered from some mental disabilities. DC had earned a Bachelors Degree in Nursing and from his earnings as a nurse supported himself, his wife, and two very young children. Paul had a can in his bedroom in which he kept cash. In July of 2019 Paul reported to his father that he (Paul) had witnessed DC reach in to the can and remove $1,200.00 in cash from the can which Paul said DC then put in his pocket. Paul’s father reported this to the Police. The police came out to Paul’s house and interviewed Paul. The interview was recorded. Paul told the police in that interview that the theft had occurred during the previous Fall (i.e. the Fall of 2018) and that DC had taken the money and purchased a wood stove with it.

The police went to Newburyport District Court and took out a criminal complaint against DC for Larceny Over $250 from a Disabled Person. (The statute has now been changed from $250 to $1,200). The charge is a felony and a conviction would cost DC his Registration as a Nurse and a conviction certainly would have meant jail. DC consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin explained to DC that the case would take a great deal of preparation and would require a jury trial. There were a number of witnesses who had to be interviewed. Attorney Lewin’s investigator (a retired Chief of Police and former president of the Massachusetts Association of Private Investigators) did yeoman’s work in locating the witnesses and getting statements from the witnesses that would prove very helpful at the trial. DC provided Attorney Lewin with hundreds of pages of text messages between DC and Paul over a period of 3 years. Never once in those three years of text messages did Paul ever mention anything about DC stealing money. DC provided Attorney Lewin with twelve months of voice messages left by Paul on DC’s phone. Never once in any of those voice messages did Paul ever mention anything about DC stealing money. (Attorney Lewin has been practicing criminal law since 1971 and no client has worked as hard as DC did in helping to prepare his defense.) With Covid-19 it took 20 months to get a trial date. On May 4, 2021 a trial date of October 9, 2021 was set. That date got pushed back to November 9, 2021. In the weeks leading up to the trial Attorney Lewin and DC spent hours and hours preparing for the trial. Attorney Lewin interviewed and re-interviewed DC and his wife to prepare them for testifying in court. All of the recordings of the voice messages were readied to be played for the jury. All of the text messages were transcribed.

On November 9, 2021 all the parties appeared at Court ready for trial. A Jury was empaneled. The trial began. Paul and his father and the lead police investigator testified for the Commonwealth. Attorney Lewin called DC’s two supervisors, a co-worker who also had treated Paul, DC’s wife and then DC himself. DC was the last witness and his testimony finished at about 4:00 PM on November 9. On November 10, 2021 the parties all returned to Court. Attorney Lewin made a very forceful closing argument for a not guilty verdict. The Assistant District Attorney made a forceful closing argument for conviction. The Judge gave the jury their instructions and the Jurors went to the jury room to deliberate at about 11:30 AM. At 1:00 PM the court recessed for lunch. At 2:00 PM when all parties returned from lunch the Court Officer informed the Court that the Jury had reached a verdict. The jurors filed into the Courtroom. The Clerk instructed DC to stand. DC stood and the Clerk asked the foreperson of the Jury: “Madame foreperson has the jury reached a verdict.” The foreperson answered “Yes” The Clerk asked: “What say you, is the Defendant Guilty or Not Guilty of Larceny over $250 from a Disabled Person?”. The foreperson answered: “NOT guilty”

It took 20 months from arraignment to jury verdict. DC grabbed and hugged Attorney Lewin and burst into tears. His two and a half year ordeal from originally being accused to being acquitted was over. The threat of going to jail was over. The threat of being a convicted felon was over. The threat of losing his Nursing License (Registration) was over. The threat of financial ruin was over. It was a great day for DC and his family.

The NOT guilty verdict was the result of a lot of hard work by both lawyer and client, lots of preparation, and 50 years of skill and experience as a criminal trial lawyer that Attorney Robert Lewin brings.

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