As the winter draws nearer, Bostonians will likely be found indoors at their favorite local bars, cozying up with pints of darker ales and hanging out with friends. Not surprisingly, as bars get busier and patrons become more intoxicated towards the later hours of the night and early morning, a friendly local watering hole may turn into the scene of a criminal offense.
Coogan’s Bar in Boston was the scene of an assault and battery incident this week on Sunday. According to WCVB.com, a fight allegedly broke out at the Milk Street establishment after the victim confronted a pair of men who were attempting to cut in line for entrance to the bar. According to a witness, the two men allegedly punched the victim in the face multiple times and then stabbed him in the torso. One of them men allegedly got into a cap and left the scene and he was later apprehended by police. He was later identified as Peter J. Damelio. The victim was transported to a nearby hospital for serious injuries. Ultimately, Mr. Damelio was charged with assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. His case is pending and he was scheduled to appear on Monday at the Boston Municipal Court.
Assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon is a serious crime in Massachusetts. However, it may be a charge that is more expansive than one might think. Generally speaking, when people think of “dangerous weapons” they probably think of either a firearm or a knife. Each state has its own laws regarding what is considered to be a dangerous weapon, and what is included may be surprising.
What exactly is considered to be a dangerous weapon under Massachusetts law is neatly summarized in the 2005 case Commonwealth v. Christopher Fettes. In this case, a 66-year-old landlady was at her apartment complex to collect rent when she encountered an unknown man with an eight-month-old pit bull on leash by his side. The landlady accused the man of allowing his dog to defecate on the property, and became upset. After the landlady walked away, she heard the man say something to the dog and let the leash loose. The dog lunged at the landlady and injured her hand, causing nerve damage.
The man was convicted of assault and battery by means of a deadly weapon and appealed his judgment. He argued that it was an error to deny his motion for a required finding of not guilty, but the Massachusetts’ appellate court affirmed the lower court. The appellate court held that a dog, can, in fact, be a dangerous weapon under Massachusetts law. The court further held that a dangerous weapon is “any instrument or instrumentality so constructed or so used as to be likely to produce death or great bodily harm.” The court concluded that it was in the jury’s discretion to determine whether the man had caused the dog to bite to woman, or whether the dog did so of his own volition, in ultimately affirming the conviction.
If you have been charged with violating Massachusetts criminal laws, you should immediately seek out the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Edward R. Molari, Attorney at Law, today for a confidential consultation.