Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

When Does Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle Lead to Criminal Charges in Massachusetts?

It is often very difficult to discern between genuine car accidents and collisions caused by negligent drivers. However, according to Massachusetts law, there is a clear line between accidents and negligence. For those who are accused of causing vehicle collisions, the difference between these two concepts could be significant. It makes sense to work with a qualified defense attorney in Boston and show that the accident was just that – an accident.  

What is “Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle” in Massachusetts?

Negligent operation of a motor vehicle is a criminal offense in Massachusetts. This is somewhat confusing, as “negligence” is a concept more closely aligned with civil lawsuits than criminal charges. When a defendant is successfully sued in a civil case, they are found to be “negligent,” while a defendant in a criminal case is found to be “guilty.” Perhaps a more clear word would be “reckless,” and indeed this offense is often called “reckless operation of a motor vehicle” instead. 

Negligent operation of a motor vehicle is defined according to Section 24(2)(a) of chapter 90 of Massachusetts’ General Laws:

Whoever, upon any way or in any place to which the public has a right to access, or [in] any place to which members of the public have access as invitees or licensees, operates a motor vehicle negligently so that the lives or safety of the public might be endangered, shall be punished.”

Penalties for this offense can vary dramatically depending on factors such as speed, intoxication, and whether the defendant caused injuries or death. That being said, most courts impose a mandatory minimum sentence of two weeks in jail, with the maximum sentence being two years. There is also the possibility of fines and license suspension. 

What is the Line Between an “Accident” and Negligent Operation?

The line between an accident and criminal negligent operation is very thin in Massachusetts. This makes it exceedingly important to avoid speaking to police after the crash and while you are being investigated for this alleged offense. Even a single sentence may incriminate you under the wrong circumstances. A recent case shows that when a defendant admitted he was not familiar with a particular neighborhood, the court interpreted this as an admission of guilt and convicted him of negligent operation of a motor vehicle. It takes very little for the Commonwealth to prove that you crossed the thin line between a genuine accident and negligent operation. 

Where Can I Find an Experienced Defense Attorney in Boston?

If you have been searching for an experienced defense attorney in Boston, look no further than Edward R. Molari. We know that mistakes happen when you get behind the wheel, and it does not make sense to accept needlessly excessive criminal consequences for an accident that you never intended to cause. Book a consultation today to determine the most appropriate defense strategy based on your unique circumstances. 

The So-Called Canton Cover-Up: Who Really Killed Officer O’Keefe?

One of the most complex Boston murder cases in recent years is the so-called “Canton Cover-Up” – a case involving a wife accused of murdering her police officer husband. Despite the fact that it still has not reached trial, this case has already taken quite a few twists and turns. Its outcome will highlight the relative strengths and weaknesses of potential legal strategies in a Massachusetts murder case.  

What We Know About the Alleged Murder

Officer John O’Keefe was found dead in January of 2022. Almost immediately, his wife Karen Read became a prime suspect. Police later accused her of hitting her husband with an SUV before leaving the scene. Medical examiners found no signs of an altercation but reported injuries to his right arm consistent with some kind of blunt object. In addition, they discovered multiple skull fractures. The cause of death was determined to be a combination of these injuries and hypothermia, as there had been a blizzard that night. 

The Disputed Facts

Aside from these basic facts, almost everything else about the alleged murder has been disputed. Prosecutors say that Karen’s tail light was shattered when she struck her husband and that plastic fragments were recovered near his body. The defense, however, points to footage that shows Karen striking her husband’s parked vehicle as she backed out of her residence after learning of his disappearance. 

The cause of the police officer’s death is also heavily debated. While the prosecution claims that this is a clear-cut case of a hit-and-run vehicular fatality, additional evidence has emerged that suggests different injuries. In particular, some have claimed that there are signs of some kind of animal attack – and possibly a beating from a weapon. 

A range of additional evidence is also heavily disputed, including cell phone data, witness statements, Karen’s alleged level of intoxication, and much more. In particular, court documents filed by the defense claim that the prosecution withheld crucial cell phone data for “more than a year.” The key piece of evidence here is Karen’s alleged Google search with the query “how long to die in the cold.” The prosecution claims that this search was made before the body was found, while the defense claims that she only typed in these words after she learned of her husband’s disappearance. The prosecution has also defended their decision not to provide certain documents, arguing that they simply were not relevant to the case. 

We can only hope that the upcoming trial answers these unresolved questions. 

Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help With Murder Charges in Boston?

The Canton Cover-Up has highlighted various strategies that a defendant may use when accused of murder. It remains to be seen whether these strategies will prove successful, but it is certainly possible that Karen Read will walk free. If you have been accused of murder or any other violent crime, you can strive for the same goal alongside a qualified defense attorney in Boston. Choose Edward R. Molari today and book a consultation to discuss the most appropriate defense strategy. 

Authorities Make Wild Assumptions About Caribbean Carnival Festival Violence

The Caribbean Carnival Festival in Boston draws thousands of visitors each year, and it provides a memorable end to the summer months with all kinds of attractions on the street. Unfortunately, these celebrations can also become violent. Recent reporting on this violence has been incredibly misleading, with both reporters and authorities jumping to wild conclusions based on questionable evidence. If you are facing false accusations of violence in Boston, a defense attorney may be the only way to clear up these confusions.  

Boston Guns – Firearms Shooting Dorchester Reports Rely on Scant Evidence

On August 28, 25 News reported that rival gangs were “staring each other down” during the Caribbean Carnival Festival in Boston. Police stated that these individuals represented an “immediate threat to the general public” and that the groups exchanged gunfire as they approached in an effort to address the situation. 

However, it should be noted that the report never actually provides conclusive statements that the gunfire was coming from these individuals. Instead, the article states that officers “heard multiple gunshots begin to ring out from the location of the group they were approaching.” Note that they are very careful to state that they did not actually see these individuals discharging firearms. Secondly, the report states that the officers “heard what they believed to be return gunfire from another location.” Again, when you examine the wording, it becomes clear that no one actually saw the individuals in question discharging their firearms. Indeed, it may very well be that these two shootings were completely independent events. 

Violence Unfairly Attributed to One Specific House in Boston

The tendency for the authorities to jump to conclusions is nothing new, and another example involves one specific house on Tiny Street. But while the story might make a good headline, there is little conclusive evidence that ties the house to gang activity. Reporters point to shell casings on the street, and cars with bullet holes parked nearby, but one of the residents at this home vehemently denies that his home is being used as a “trap house.” Instead, he accuses the reporters of fabricating stories – and he argues that it is interfering with his efforts to “get his life back together.”

If reporters were making up lies about the residences of wealthy individuals in high-income neighborhoods, they would probably be sued for defamation. 

Where Can I Find an Experienced Defense Attorney in Boston?

If you have been searching for a qualified criminal defense attorney in Boston, look no further than Edward R. Molari. Over the years, we have helped numerous defendants in the Boston area, including those accused of committing violence during street festivals. We are well aware of authorities’ tendency to jump to conclusions, and we can expose the shaky foundations that their questionable evidence is based on. Contact us today to get started with an effective defense strategy. 

How Do Prosecutors Calculate Drug Quantities for Trafficking Charges in Boston?

Trafficking charges can be quite serious in Boston, and the severity of these charges often depends on the specific drug quantities involved. But how exactly do prosecutors calculate the weight or dosage of drugs that defendants may have had at the time of their arrest? Some might assume that this is simply a matter of weighing the drugs, but the process is more complex than many realize. Judging by a recent case, some might even argue that the process is unfair.  

Sentencing for Cocaine Trafficking Depends on the Quantities Involved

On a general note, the potential sentences for cocaine trafficking depend on the quantities involved:

  • Between 18 and 36 grams: Between two and15 years in prison, suspension of driver’s license for five years, and fines of up to $25,000. A conviction could also lead to a lifetime ineligibility for a Commercial Driver’s License. 
  • Between 36 and 100 grams: Between 3.5 and 20 years in prison, suspension of driver’s license for up to five years, and a fine of up to $50,000. Possible lifetime ineligibility for a Commercial Driver’s License. 
  • Between 100 and 200 grams: Between eight and 20 years in prison, suspension of driver’s license, and potential lifetime ineligibility for a Commercial Driver’s License. 
  • 200 grams or more: Between 12 and 20 years in prison, five-year driver’s license suspension, and possible lifetime ineligibility for a Commercial Driver’s License. 

Cutting Agents are Included in Weight Calculations

What many people do not understand about prosecutors’ weight calculations is that cutting agents are included. For example, the entire weight of a bag that contains 60% cutting agent and 40% cocaine would be used for these calculations. In one case involving Brockton drug trafficking charges, a defendant was charged with cocaine trafficking between 18 and 36 grams, even though these calculations were based on bags that contained zero cocaine. 

Fortunately, the defendant was able to work with Edward R. Molari to fight these charges. This Boston defense attorney had the bag examined by an expert, and the resulting lab report showed that the presence of cocaine was extremely low. In fact, it was so low that it was comparable to trace cocaine levels found on an average paper bill. As a result of this strategy, the weight was revised to a level under 18 grams, and the defendant received a much lower sentence with no mandatory minimum. 

Where Can I Find a Drug Crimes Attorney in Boston?

If you have been searching for an experienced defense attorney in Boston, look no further than the Law Office of Edward R. Molari. We have helped numerous defendants fight trafficking charges over the years, and we are well aware of prosecutors’ questionable processes when it comes to calculating drug quantities. With our assistance, you can push back against these strategies and fight for your constitutional rights. Book your consultation today to get started. 

Why a Judge Denied an Attempt to Dismiss Brockton Police Negligent Operations Charges

In May of 2021, the former chief of the Brockton Police veered off the road on I-495 before striking two vehicles. The police cruiser went across three lanes, and the crash injured five people – including one toddler. He subsequently faced charges for negligent driving – although he initially walked free after the crash. The case went completely unreported for months – and it was only after an NBC investigation that the incident came to light. Reporters also discovered that this police chief had been charged with negligent driving before and that he had attempted to have these charges dismissed. Now, this individual is attempting to have these new charges dismissed as well – and he is not having much success. But why exactly did a judge deny his attempt to have his charges dismissed? 

Former Police Chief Faces Overwhelming Evidence Against Him

When denying the attempt to have the case dismissed, the presiding judge pointed at various forms of evidence laid out against the defendant. This evidence includes testimony from numerous eyewitnesses who saw the police cruiser veer across three lanes of traffic before striking multiple vehicles. The judge stated that this evidence was "clearly sufficient" and specifically highlighted testimony from a Massachusetts State Police trooper who responded to the scene of the crash. 

Speaking about the crash, this State Police trooper explained:

"He essentially didn't know what happened, and I pointed out what had happened, that he came off the ramp, that he rear-ended a vehicle in the breakdown lane, and he went out into the highway and collided with another SUV. So I pointed it out to him."

Interestingly, it seems that a private citizen issued a criminal complaint against the former police chief. Initially, no police authority brought about these charges. The complaint states that:

"It seems on review that the Police Chief had absolutely no control of the vehicle at any time during the crash. The only plausible reason is that the Police Chief was, literally, asleep at the wheel. This is supported by the Chief's own statement 'it all happened so fast. I do not know what happened.'"

Evidence is an Important Consideration for Judges When Dismissing Criminal Cases

Judges must review evidence when considering whether or not to accept a petition to dismiss criminal cases. Specifically, under Commonwealth v. Daley, 66 Mass. App. Ct. 254 (2006), the "danger must come from Defendant's driving" in the case of a negligent driving charge. 

Where Can I Find a Criminal Defense Attorney in Boston?

If you have been searching for an experienced criminal defense attorney in Boston, look no further than the Law Office of Edward R. Molari. With our assistance, you can strive to have your criminal charges dismissed quickly. While this police chief might have failed to have his charges dismissed, there are many situations in which this strategy can be successful. Reach out today to discuss your legal options and get started with an effective defense strategy. 

Can You Really Go to Jail for Improper Storage of a Firearm in Massachusetts?

One of the first things people learn in gun safety courses is the proper storage of firearms. All responsible gun owners can agree that storing your firearms is incredibly important, especially if you have children in your home. But can you really go to jail for improper storage of a firearm in Massachusetts? The answer may surprise you.


Man Faces Up to 12 Years After Boy Fatally Shot by Improperly Stored Firearm


A man in Boston is now facing a maximum sentence of 12 years after a fatal accident involving improper storage of a firearm. The 22-year-old defendant stored his firearm in a fanny pack in a residence where a 12-year-old child had easy access to it. All reports seem to indicate that the child accidentally shot himself in the chest with the weapon after taking it out of the fanny pack. The gunshot wound proved to be fatal. 


As a result, the defendant has been charged with improper storage of a firearm near a minor, an offense that comes with a maximum prison sentence of 12 years. The minimum sentence is 1.5 years in prison. Alternatively, a jail sentence of between 1 and 2.5 years may be possible, plus a fine of up to $15,000. 


How Should I Store My Firearm in Boston?


Massachusetts has strict guidelines on how guns should be stored. You essentially have two options: Install a locking device directly onto the firearm itself, or lock the firearm in some kind of container. If you choose the second option, you do not need to install a safety lock on the firearm itself. In addition, authorities in Massachusetts "recommend" that you store ammo and guns separately – although this is not explicitly required. 


A safety device installed directly onto the weapon must prevent the firearm from discharging. There are specific firearm locks available, and these may be installed directly onto the trigger guards. With the trigger disabled, the firearm is not operable. A gun lock may also be looped through the firearm in a manner that holds its bolt open, preventing the firing pin from moving forward. Many gun owners use bike locks in this manner. Some might argue that a zip tie is also acceptable, although it is best to use a more secure option. Guns may also be "disabled" by removing certain components and storing them separately. For example, you might remove the bolt on a bolt-action hunting rifle. However, authorities in Massachusetts make it clear that a locking safety device is the only acceptable option. 


One might argue that if the aforementioned defendant had put a simple lock on the zip of his fanny pack, he might have avoided the tragedy. However, it is not clear whether this locked fanny pack would classify as a proper "container" under Massachusetts law. In reality, the wording refers primarily to gun safes or hard-shelled, tough gun cases. 


Where Can I Find an xperienced Defense Attorney in Massachusetts?


If you have been searching for a Boston defense attorney who can help with firearm offenses, look no further than the Law Office of Edward R. Molari. We know that it might seem ridiculous to face charges simply because you forgot to secure your firearms on a single occasion, but legal consequences are a real possibility in this situation. Book your consultation today to discuss potential defense strategies geared toward your unique situation. 

Alleged Cover-Up By Federal Criminal Police: Murder Suspect Sues for Wrongful Conviction

Facing accusations for crimes you did not even commit is a nightmare that most people prefer not to think about. But for many people in Boston, this experience becomes an inescapable reality. Today, the Boston Police Department is facing a lawsuit after a man falsely accused of shooting his cousin was exonerated. Unfortunately, this innocent individual had already spent almost two decades behind bars before finally walking free. What happens if you find yourself in a similar situation?


BPD Faces Federal Lawsuit for Wrongful Conviction


The BPD is facing a number of shocking allegations in connection with this lawsuit. These include witness tampering, concealment of evidence, and other offenses. The police seemed to have been intent on putting the plaintiff behind bars, even if it meant paying off witnesses and tipping the scales of justice against him. 


The plaintiff is now 25, having spent most of his youthful years in prison. In 2021, he was finally released from prison after key documents surfaced. These documents showed that police had concealed evidence from prosecutors that implicated another suspect. In addition, the police seem to have paid witnesses to testify against the plaintiffs. Those who refused to participate in this kangaroo court were threatened with criminal charges. Police also promised to drop charges against at least one witness in exchange for his favorable testimony. These actions helped condemn the plaintiff to a prison sentence. 


In an official complaint filed against the BPD, the plaintiff's legal counsel stated:


"The BPD's lawless culture further resulted in a pattern, practice, and/or custom of deliberately fabricating and coercing evidence as well as withholding exculpatory evidence. "Defendant City of Boston had notice of a widespread practice by its

officers and agents under which individuals suspected of criminal activity, such as Shaun, were routinely deprived of exculpatory evidence, were subjected to criminal proceedings based on false evidence, and were deprived of their liberty without probable cause, such that individuals were routinely implicated in crimes to which they had no connection and for which there was scant evidence to suggest that they were involved."


Can I Keep Fighting My Charges Even Behind Bars?


This story shows that it is possible to continue fighting your charges even after you are placed behind bars. Not only that, but the story shows that it can be incredibly beneficial to continue searching for evidence. Although no one can take back the many years this plaintiff spent in prison, he will likely receive compensation when this trial goes before a jury (or is settled out of court). 


Where Can I Find a Qualified Defense Attorney in Boston?


If you have been wrongfully accused of a crime you did not commit in Boston, the obvious choice is to get in touch with a qualified defense attorney at your earliest convenience. With help from a lawyer, you can fight wrongful accusations and avoid prison time in the first place. Alternatively, you can continue fighting for your rights if you are already behind bars. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan. 

Footprints Lead to Murder Suspect: But is This Evidence Really Admissible?

The average person's understanding of the criminal justice system is based on what they see on TV. In this highly-polished, carefully-choreographed world, detectives are portrayed as technological savants and logical geniuses. Scientific evidence in the form of fingerprints, DNA, and ballistic data is always irrefutable. 

In reality, criminal justice is rarely straightforward. Evidence may point in one direction but may not provide a conclusive link between suspects and their alleged crimes. Unfortunately, this doesn't stop authorities from perpetuating causal links that do not exist. Concerns on this subject have been raised after bloody footprints led investigators to a suspect in Newton. But putting aside the sensational headlines, how reliable is this evidence?

Investigators in Newton Rely on Footprints to Track Down Suspect 

On June 27, it was reported that an arrest had been made in connection to a random, triple murder in Newton. Police apparently examined bloody footprints in order to track down a suspect, and they seem confident about the reliability of this evidence. One investigator stated:

"Like fingerprints, the skin of people's feet is unique and leaves an impression that can be compared."

Police eventually located the suspect "staggering" down a road and took an impression from his feet. This apparently provided them with a clear match to the footprints found at the murder scene. 

Are Footprints Admissible Evidence?

But despite the confidence expressed by the authorities, questions may be raised in court about the reliability of this evidence. Consider the fact that in 2017, the American Association for the Advancement of Science issued a report on this subject and found that:

"[...] examiners should avoid claiming that they can associate a latent print with a single source and should particularly avoid claiming or implying that they can do so infallibly, with 100% accuracy."

The reality is that fingerprint (and footprint) examination is not the "exact science" that authorities purport it to be. If examiners cannot claim to be 100% accurate in their findings, then by very definition, it cannot be used to determine a suspect's guilt. Remember, the prosecution must establish their guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." Even a 1% chance of an inaccurate fingerprint examination could create sufficient doubt. 

Remember that while the science behind fingerprint examination is questionable at best, the science behind footprint examination is virtually non-existent. Criminal responsibility may be called into question in the aforementioned triple-murder case – even if the suspect did, in fact, commit the crime. 

Get in Touch With a Criminal Defense Attorney in Massachusetts Today

If you have been accused of a serious crime in Massachusetts, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Choose the Law Office of Edward R. Molari, and you can approach this situation with a measure of confidence and efficiency. The reality of criminal justice is far different from what you see on television. The only way to get a sense of how this system really works is to speak with an experienced attorney. Book your consultation today to get started. 

The Jack Jones Airport Scandal: Will He Be Convicted?

The United States is one of the few places in the world where law-abiding citizens are allowed to bear arms. While this is true, there are certain locations that Boston firearm owners should be wary of. Perhaps at the very top of this list is Logan Airport. While it is acceptable to transport firearms by plane with the right permissions, you may face consequences if you give no prior warning of your firearms after these items are discovered in your luggage. This is a legal issue that NFL player Jack Jones is currently facing. But how bad is it? Was this just an honest mistake? Will he be convicted of crimes? 

Jack Jones Caught with Two Loaded Firearms at Logan Airport

The TSA has announced that Jack Jones was caught with two loaded firearms and an undisclosed amount of ammunition at Logan Airport. He is now facing a number of charges, including unlawful possession of a firearm, carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a large-capacity feeding device, and possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card. Shortly after the TSA discovered the firearms in his luggage, the athlete was taken into custody. 

These charges would suggest that Jones is in serious trouble. The lack of a firearms license suggests that he did not legally have a right to possess these weapons. The possession of a large-capacity magazine may make these consequences particularly serious. It is now reported that he faces a total of nine gun charges. One has to wonder whether these weapons were obtained legally. 

Are Large-Capacity Magazines Allowed in Massachusetts?

While a large-capacity magazine may be legal in Jones’ home state of Arizona, they are not legal in Massachusetts. In Boston, gun owners are limited to pistol magazines with a capacity of 10 cartridges or rounds. One of the most popular pistol magazines in Arizona is a 30-round, extended magazine – which is completely illegal in Massachusetts and Boston. In a somewhat obscure fashion, Massachusetts has exempted magazines manufactured or possessed before September 13th, 1994. However, it is unlikely that Jones’ magazine falls into this category. 

 Was it an Honest Mistake?

Jones’ decision to arrive at the airport with two unlawfully-possessed pistols and a large-capacity magazine may be more understandable than many give him credit for. Arizona is much more supportive of gun rights compared to Massachusetts, and he may have been confused about these legal differences. In addition, he may have genuinely forgotten that he put these guns in his luggage. Mistakes happen, and sometimes defendants can escape consequences if they can show that the guns were not carried “knowingly.”   

Where Can I Find a Firearms Lawyer in Boston?

If you have been searching for an experienced firearms lawyer in Boston, look no further than the Law Office of Edward R. Molari. As a Boston criminal defense attorney with many years of experience, Edward R. Molari has dealt with many cases involving firearms possession. We know that honest mistakes can often lead to unintended legal consequences, and we can defend your rights. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective defense strategy. 

Multiple Attorneys Face Sex Crime Charges in Boston

There is always a sense of shock when attorneys are charged with crimes in Boston. These individuals are closely linked with the law itself – and to see them breaking the law is surprising, to say the least. Some might argue that along with judges and juries, attorneys are tasked with ensuring the integrity of our legal system. Two attorneys recently faced sex crime charges in Boston, and these stories show that anyone can find themselves in court with serious allegations, even if they genuinely did nothing wrong.  

Lawyer Arrested on Sexual Assault Charges

On June 5, it was reported that a corporate attorney had been arrested for sexual assaults that allegedly occurred 15 years ago. He has pleaded not guilty to three counts of aggravated rape, two counts of kidnapping, one count of assault with intent to rape and one count of indecent assault and battery. Three women have come forward, alleging that the man held them at gunpoint before sexually assaulting them. A fourth woman claims that she was attacked by the man while jogging but managed to escape. 

FBI agents apparently collected a drinking glass from the lawyer's office and used it to compare DNA evidence found at the crime scenes. The defendant's defense attorney points out that if this DNA evidence was obtained without a warrant, it should not be admitted in court. The defendant has been suspended from his job pending the outcome of the criminal case. 

Another Lawyer Found Not Guilty for Similar Charges

On June 9, another Boston attorney was found not guilty of two counts of rape. The alleged victim claims that she was sexually assaulted during the morning after partying with the man and another female friend. Apparently, the prosecution failed to present a convincing case, and the defense exposed several inconsistencies in the victim's recollection of the event. 

It is worth mentioning that numerous observers seemed completely confident that the man would be found guilty. This should serve as a cautionary tale not to jump to assumptions, as the only real way to determine the validity of allegations is through the official legal process. Media reports and rumors can sensationalize these stories – especially when attorneys are involved. The headline of an attorney being charged with rape is often seized upon with enthusiasm by journalists without any consideration for the actual evidence. Although juries can be influenced by these "juicy headlines," a solid defense attorney can cut through to the underlying truth.  

Where Can I Find an Experienced Defense Attorney in Boston?

If you find yourself facing serious charges in Boston, it is time to get in touch with a qualified criminal defense attorney. Choose Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law, and you can get started with an effective defense strategy right away. Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty – and your right to an attorney is something you should take full advantage of. Reach out today to get started.