Recent Criminal Cases
Worcester District Court, Six Member Jury Session: June, 2012: Client, a 35 year old Worcester woman and single mother to 6 children, was found Not Guilty by a jury of six women in Worcester District Court on a complaint alleging 2 counts: 1. Assault and Battery Dangerous Weapon, and 2. Assault and Battery. The alleged victim was the client’s 10 year old daughter, who testified to the jury that on Easter Sunday of 2012, she argued with her mother about cleaning her room and that her mother threw a vacuum cleaner at her, striking her in the back, for which there were no marks, bruises or required medical attention. The young girl testified that her mother spit at her and that she left the apartment and went to a neighbor’s house, where she called her father, who said that he was busy with his girlfriend, and told the 10 year old girl to get into a taxicab and go to her aunt’s house across the city. The Worcester Police were then informed of the young girl’s allegations of abuse and arrested the mother, in view of her other young children, who were thereafter removed from the mother’s custody and placed in foster care by DCF (Department of Children and Families). Attorney Cronin established during his cross examination of the young girl that she had behavioral issues at home and school, from where she had been frequently suspended, and openly defied her mother’s rules for the household. Cross examination established that the girl had manipulated the system and was playing her separated parents against one another. The government tried to prevent the mother from testifying in her own defense by filing a motion to impeach by prior conviction of assault and battery, where the mother had received a split sentence in 2009 for assault and battery upon an attacking neighbor, for which the mother received a jail sentence and probation. The Judge ruled on motion in limine that the Commonwealth would be able to impeach on this basis. Despite this adverse pre-trial ruling by a Judge who persistently tried to pressure a plea, Attorney Cronin called the mother to testify in her own defense that her daughter was manipulative and defiant and that she never struck her. On his direct examination of the defendant Attorney Cronin introduced his client’s past conviction, explaining the distinguishable circumstances and taking the wind out of the government’s sails on the prosecutor’s anticipated cross examination, which fell flat to the jury. Attorney Cronin also called the alleged victim’s 14 year old brother to testify that he was a witness and that the contact as described by his 10 year old sister never took place. Perhaps the most memorable moment of the trial occurred in the late afternoon just before Attorney Cronin’s closing argument to the jury, when the District Court Judge at sidebar, on the record and loud enough for the jurors to hear, asked Attorney Cronin: “Are you available for a sentencing hearing tomorrow morning?” To which Attorney Cronin responded, in an even louder voice so that the jury was sure to hear: “Sentencing? I don’t think we’re going to get to the issue of sentencing!” The jury was out for 15 minutes before acquitting the client of all counts. If found guilty, the client was facing a likely sentence of 2 and ½ years at the House of Corrections, in view of her prior incarceration for a similar offense. The client is now in the process of regaining custody of her children. Much to the Judge’s displeasure, the sentencing hearing never took place.
Worcester Superior Court, May, 2012: Client, a 39 year old Worcester man, was found Not Guilty in Worcester Superior Court to all nine (9) indictments alleging: Felon in Possession of a Firearm, (3 counts), in violation of M.G.L.A. c. 269 sec. 10G (a); Possession of a Firearm without an FID Card, (3 counts), in violation of G.L. c. 269 sec. 10(h); Receiving Stolen Property Valued over $250., (3 counts). After a three day jury trial, a jury of 9 women and 3 men acquitted the client, who the prosecutor had offered a plea to a sentence of 3 to 5 years in state prison. On Attorney Cronin’s advice, the client rejected the plea offer and went to trial, risking a maximum state prison sentence of 15 years in state prison if convicted. At trial the government introduced Worcester Police and State Police testimony that at the time that an arrest warrant was executed upon the client’s brother, the client was found sleeping in a bed where 3 rifles were found in bags underneath the box-spring. One of the three rifles had a positive fingerprint from the client’s left thumb, which print was stipulated to by the defense as belonging to the client. This was not a case calling for dueling fingerprint experts. Instead, Attorney Cronin caused the client’s brother to be brought in on a writ of habeas corpus from the jail where he was serving a sentence for possession of the same rifles. The incarcerated brother waived his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination and testified that his sleeping brother knew nothing about the rifles being under the bed, and had touched the single rifle the previous day while pushing it away and telling him to get rid of it. The client’s sister also testified for the defense that the client was homeless at the time, was living between two different apartments and did not have an established permanent residence at his brother’s address. The defendant did not testify. In his closing argument to a crowded Superior Court, Attorney Cronin persuaded the jury that there was insufficient evidence of a joint venture and constructive possession, that the jailed brother was exclusively responsible and that the Worcester police allowed his client to remain free for 11 days before they became aware of the latent print and forensic evidence results. If the client were guilty why didn’t he flee? And if the government was so convinced of his guilt why did they allow him to remain at liberty and not charged as a joint venturer for those 11 days? The client was blessed to have abundant family support and after the jury verdict, in the foyer outside of the 4th floor courtroom where the client stepped free and away from 4 court officers hovering to return him into custody, Attorney Cronin was asked and joined his client and a dozen family members in a spontaneous circle prayer of gratitude for the jury verdict and the deliverance of justice in this very stressful situation. “Justice the Guardian of Liberty”, inscribed on U.S. Supreme Court Building.
Worcester Superior Court, May, 2012: Business and Internet Litigation: Client, a Pennsylvania resident, was named as a defendant in a civil action brought by a Worcester County corporation engaged in the development and commercialization of human stem cell technology for regenerative medicine. It was alleged that the client, as an anonymous internet poster, had defamed the plaintiff corporation with statements and material posted on the corporation’s Yahoo message board. Attorney Cronin defended the internet poster when the plaintiff corporation brought a motion to issue subpoenas to the internet service providers (ISP’s) who hosted the listed IP addresses for the defendant. Section 631 of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, codified at 47 U.S.C. 551, authorized the issuance of Orders for the disclosure of subscriber information, permitting the cable operator to disclose personally identifiable information pertaining to a subscriber without the subscriber’s express consent. The case was settled and permanent injunctive relief now prohibits the client from posting messages on the corporation message board and from making any public statements about the corporation on any internet site, listserv, blog, or newsfeed concerning the corporation or its’ Chief Scientific Officer. Case dismissed.
Ayer District Court, Middlesex County, May, 2012: Client, a 65 year old Illinois resident who served a 7 year state prison sentence in Illinois for stealing and “chopping” cars was brought back to Massachusetts on fugitive complaints brought by the State Police Auto Theft Unit, alleging: 1. Selling a Motor Vehicle with a Defaced Vehicle identification Number, VIN, in violation of M.G.L.A. c. 266 sec. 139(b); 2. Possessing or Receiving a Motor Vehicle with a Defaced VIN; and, 3. Receiving a Stolen Motor Vehicle, in violation of G.L. c. 266 sec. 28(a). After obtaining the client’s release on bail, Attorney Cronin was able to negotiate a nunc pro tunc (now for then) sentence, credit for time served, and the client was permitted to return to Illinois without further incarceration or probationary conditions.
Worcester District Court, April, 2012: Client, a 22 year old student at WPI was charged by the Worcester Police with 2 felony counts of Assault & Battery Dangerous Weapon, and Trespass at a WPI fraternity house, where 2 “brothers” were beaten by the defendant and one incurred dental expenses of $3,300. The felony counts were reduced to misdemeanor Assault & Battery and the case was continued without a finding to be dismissed in 1 year. Attorney Cronin also represented the client at the WPI school disciplinary proceedings, and after a period of suspension, the client plans to return to WPI this summer and thereafter finish his Senior year.
Worcester District Court, March, 2012: Client, a 20 year old Worcester woman was charged with Armed Robbery and Assault and battery, Dangerous Weapon, which charges were dismissed at the request of the Commonwealth upon payment of restitution of $320.
Worcester District Court, March, 2012: Client, a 56 year old Worcester woman, was charged with a single count of operating an unlicensed private trade school in violation of G.L. c. 93 sec. 21B, the Massachusetts Anti-Trust Act, providing for penalties of up to 6 months in prison and up to a $1,000. Fine. In a criminal complaint brought by the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, working with investigators from the Massachusetts Department of Secondary and Elementary Education, it was alleged that the client had run an unlicensed bartending school known as the Boston Bartending School of Worcester. Attorney Cronin argued that the Complaint should be dismissed on grounds of statutory strict construction and principles of constitutional law. Arguing against government red-tape where it has no legitimate interest, counsel submitted that bartending is not an “apprenticeable skilled trade” within the meaning of the regulatory statute, like carpenters, plumbers, electricians or vocations leading to a state issued license or certification, based upon public safety and compliance issues with public enforcement codes. Attorney Cronin argued against unreasonable government over-regulation, in violation of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and articles 1, 10 and 12 of the Declaration of Rights for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, guarantees intended to protect every person in the enjoyment of his liberty and property, and that within those words are included the right to engage in any lawful occupation, subject to reasonable regulation. The government relented and agreed to have the case continued with no plea, no finding and no admission, continued for 6 months to be dismissed under G.L. c. 276 sec. 87.
Worcester District Court 6 Member Jury Session, March, 2012: Client, a 52 year old Worcester man, with the same name but of no relation to his lawyer, was found Not Guilty after a jury waived trial on charges of Larceny Over $250., Entering a Dwelling at Night For Felony and Trespass. The alleged 75 year old male victim testified at trial that at 4 am he was momentarily awakened for 2-4 seconds while sleeping on a cot in his kitchen. He testified that he heard a noise, opened his eyes for 2-4 seconds and saw the defendant outside on his porch. He returned to sleep and awoke at 6 am to discover $300. missing from his wallet. He reported the incident to the police, identifying the defendant as a suspect, and a warrant issued for the defendant’s arrest. Months later the victim hired the defendant to perform yard work at his house and never confronted him with the allegation or contacted the police to arrest on the warrant. During cross-examination at trial, Attorney Cronin attacked the eyewitness identification as a dream or apparition, established that other tenants on the property may have had access to where the money was kept and questioned why the witness did not contact the police when he hired the defendant to return to the property. Defendant was found Not Guilty on all counts after a 2 witness jury waived trial. Cronin the Client was released from custody on March 16 and enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day with the leprechauns.
Worcester Superior Court, February, 2012: Client, a 32 year old Worcester man was found Not Guilty by Reason of Mental Illness after a two day jury waived trial in Superior Court. The client was charged with Mayhem, Assault with Intent to Murder and Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, in connection with an attack on a waitress at the Uno Chicago Grill in Worcester in August of 2009. It was alleged that the client, a patron at the restaurant, randomly grabbed the waitress by the hair and cut her face with a box cutter. Initially the client was found not competent to stand trial, but was re-examined one year after the incident and was found to be competent. At trial, Attorney Cronin then successfully raised the Insanity Defense based upon expert evidence introduced from a forensic psychologist that the client suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, was actively delusional and was not criminally responsible for the offense. A psychiatrist retained by the prosecution concurred that at the time of the offense, as a result of mental disease of defect, the defendant lacked the substantial capacity to either appreciate the wrongfulness (criminality) of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law. Commonwealth v. McHoul (1967). Upon the finding of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, the client was committed to Bridgewater State Hospital for 6 months.
Worcester District Court 6 Member Jury Session, March, 2012: Client, a 41 year old Worcester man, was charged with Domestic Assault & Battery, and was found Not Guilty after a jury waived trial where the alleged victim raised her Fifth Amendment privilege not to testify and incriminate herself.
Worcester District Court 6 Member Jury Session, March, 2012: Client, a 35 year old citizen of Panama, was found Not Guilty after a jury waived trial on charges of Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon. The prosecution had earlier dismissed an additional charge of Assault with Intent to Murder. At trial, the defendant’s wife waived her Fifth Amendment rights and recanted a previous written statement that she had given to the Worcester Police. She testified that she made up the allegations out of jealously, and that she wrapped a cable around her own neck before going to the police and reporting that the defendant attempted to strangle her. A Worcester Police officer testified that he took her initial report and observed the red marks around her neck consistent with the cable that the alleged victim handed to the police. A District Court Judge found the defendant Not Guilty. The defendant had been held on bail for 4 months awaiting trial and an immigration detainer had been lodged at the Worcester County House of Corrections. His acquittal will assist in preventing the defendant from being deported.
Worcester District Court 6 Member Jury Session, March, 2012: Client, a 43 year old Worcester man, was found Not Guilty after a jury waived trial on charges of Operating Under the Influence of Liquor, 1st Offense. At trial, a Milbury Police Officer testified that he stopped the defendant’s vehicle for marked lanes violations, then smelled alcohol and noticed defendant’s bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Defendant was polite and cooperative, but smartly refused the breathalyzer, refused to perform field sobriety and invoking his Miranda right, refused to respond to questions as to where he had been or where he was going. Attorney Cronin called the defendant to testify at trial and he testified that prior to his arrest he had been visiting his grieving mother and that his dog who accompanied him was jumping in the passenger seat, causing him to apparently go over the marked lane of the roadway. A District Court Judge found the defendant Not Guilty.
United States District Court, Worcester, November, 2011: Client, a 33 year old Worcester resident was charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana, and was released on unsecured bond subject to pre-trial probationary conditions while the case was pending for 2 years. He pled guilty to so much of the indictment alleging that he was responsible for 50 kilograms of marijuana or less, and in this case, holding defendant responsible for 10 pounds of marijuana. Based upon the results of a safety valve interview the prosecutor attempted to raise the drug quantity that defendant was responsible for to 30 pounds, increasing the sentencing guidelines from 0 to 6 months to 8 to 14 months imprisonment, requiring an argument in the sentencing memorandum for a downward departure from the advisory guidelines. Attorney Cronin argued that the revised drug quantities were unreliable and unverifiable and should not be considered as relevant conduct in sentencing. The defendant was sentenced to 3 years probation, with the first 6 months on home confinement with electronic monitoring.
Worcester District Court, November, 2011: Client, a 40 year old Virginia resident was in default since 1992 on firearm charges in Worcester Central District Court. In 1992, before the two-trial “de novo” system was repealed in Massachusetts, the client had been tried before a judge, found guilty, and sentenced to 1 year in the House of Corrections, committed, from which he appealed. The client then defaulted on his appeal to the jury session and the prosecution filed a motion to impose the primary court sentence. In the almost 20 years since his default the client had no further criminal activity and was gainfully employed. Attorney Cronin negotiated a disposition that avoided imposition of the 1 year committed sentence. Client pled guilty to an amended charged of Possession of a Firearm without an FID card and was sentenced to 2 years of administrative, unsupervised probation.
Worcester District Court, November, 2011: Client, a 30 year old Florida resident, received a summons to show cause why a complaint should not issue for the charge of Unauthorized Access to a Computer System, under Mass. G.L. c. 266, s. 120F. The complaint was denied by a clerk magistrate and was appealed to a District Court Judge, who affirmed denial of the complaint, on grounds asserted by Attorney Cronin that the criminal statute was vague in failing to define a ‘computer system’ as opposed to an account.
Worcester Superior Court, November, 2011: Client, a 44 year old Worcester man, was charged with (1) Kidnapping, (2) Aggravated Assault and Battery, and (3) Impersonating a Police Officer. The case was tried by Attorney Cronin before a 12 person jury for 7 days, and after 2 days of deliberations a compromise verdict was reached. Defendant was found Not Guilty of Impersonating a Police Officer and Aggravated Assault and Battery. Defendant was found guilty of Kidnapping and the lesser included offense of assault and battery. Client was sentenced to 4 to 5 years in state prison, where the sentencing guidelines called for a sentence of 45 to 67 months in prison.
Worcester Grand Jury, November, 2011: Client, a 33 year old nurse practitioner, was represented by Attorney Cronin regarding her appearance before a grand jury investigating allegations of child abuse. Client was a percipient witness to the aftermath of abuse and was not a target of the investigation.
Westboro District Court, November, 2011: Client, a 45 year old Grafton resident, was charged with Identity Fraud, in violation of Mass. G.L. c. 266 s. 37E. It was alleged that the client used another person’s identity to change contact information and procure a cell phone. Charges were Dismissed where the alleged victim failed to cooperate with the prosecution and the elements of fraud could not be proved by the Commonwealth.
Worcester Superior Court, October, 2011: Client, a Pennsylvania resident, was named as John Doe, a defendant in a civil action brought in Worcester Superior Court by a plaintiff human stem cell technology company who alleged that the client had engaged in a series of defamatory, malicious, derogatory and harmful acts over the internet, so as to diminish stock prices and affect investors and grants awarded to this business in regenerative medicine. The plaintiffs were granted leave to subpoena the Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) to obtain the identity of the subscriber(s) issued the IP addresses identified by the plaintiff and to provide the identity of the anonymous person(s) posting messages or comments on a Yahoo message board. Under the provisions of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, 47 U.S.C. s. 551, the ISP’s were ordered by the Court to provide the personal identity of the anonymous posters allegedly defaming the business, but only upon conditions that: (a) the ISP’s having seven (7) calendar days after service of the subpoena to notify subscribers that their identity is sought by plaintiffs, and (b) each subscriber whose identity is sought having twenty one (21) days from the date of such ISP’s notice to file any papers contesting the subpoena. After receiving the pre-disclosure notification as a subscriber, John Doe, an anonymous poster, retained Attorney Cronin to file an Objection and Motion to Quash the Subpoena. A timely Objection was filed, a hearing was scheduled and the case settled with the anonymous client not disclosing his personal identity under the terms of the confidentiality agreement.
Worcester District Court, Six Person Jury Session, October, 2011: Client, a 40 year old Worcester man, was charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, first offense. There was no accident, no breathalyzer, no field sobriety tests and the defendant was first observed by the Uxbridge Police to be stopped in the break-down lane of the roadway. A six-person jury heard the case and reached a verdict of Not Guilty.
Worcester Superior Court, October, 2011: Client, a resident of North Branford, Connecticut, was charged in a shooting and attempted holdup at a Worcester tattoo shop. He was charged in 12 counts with felonious Armed Robbery, Armed Assault with Intent to Murder, Attempted Murder, and Aggravated Assault and Battery. The co-defendant was the gunman who shot the victim 4 times during the robbery, and he was sentenced to 10 to 12 years imprisonment. Mr. Cronin’s client was charged in a joint venture, and on his plea of guilty, was sentenced to 6 to 7 years in state prison, with credit for 388 days credit for time served while held on $50,000.00 cash bail. Allegations of Habitual Offender and being an Armed Career Criminal were Dismissed.
Worcester District Court, Six Person Jury Session, September, 2011: Client, a 44 year old Auburn man, was charged with Larceny Over $250., where it was alleged that he stole approximately $30,000. in motorboat parts and engines. After a two day jury trial, defendant was found guilty and sentenced to 90 days in the House of Correction, with no order of restitution, as requested by the prosecution. Defendant was released from the House of Correction after serving only 14 days of the sentence.
Worcester Superior Court, August, 2011: Client, a 22 year old Webster man, was charged in a two count Indictment with Witness Intimidation, arising out of threats made to a witness to a double murder in July of 2007. It was alleged that the client intimidated the witness by verbal threat over the telephone and by a direct, in person threats where the client patted a gun on his belt and remarked “Snitches get stitches.” The defendant admit to being guilty, and a Justice of the Superior Court adopted Attorney Cronin’s recommendation of 2 ½ to 2 ½ years and 1 day Cedar Junction (Walpole), with credit for 10 months served. The prosecution had recommended a sentence of 5 to 7 years Cedar Junction, with 3 years from and after probation.
Worcester District Court, 6 Member Jury Session, July, 2011: Client, a 39 year old Worcester man, was charged with two counts of Indecent Assault & Battery on a Child Age 14, and 1 count of Furnishing a False Name to the Police, all providing for a maximum potential sentence of 6 years in the House of Correction. The client changed his plea to guilty and received a sentence of 13 months to the House of Correction, consisting of two concurrent twelve month sentences for the sex offenses, and a 30 day from and after sentence on the false name violation.
United States District Court, Worcester, June, 2011: Client, a 41 year old Dominican national residing in Lawrence, Massachusetts, was charged in a two count Complaint in federal court in Worcester with conspiracy to distribute and distribution of heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. sections 841, 846; providing for a maximum jail term of life and a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years imprisonment, if convicted. At an evidentiary Detention Hearing before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on May 26, 2011, an officer assigned to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s Worcester High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Task Force (“HIDTA”) testified during cross-examination by Attorney Cronin that the client had been a passenger in a car and was present during a transaction where One Kilo of Heroin was exchanged for $57,000.00 in cash, delivered to a meet location in Clinton, Massachusetts. There was no evidence that the client had touched either the drugs or money, but the Magistrate Judge found that despite “relatively weak” evidence, it was a “close call” and relied upon the rebuttable presumption to detain the defendant on dangerousness grounds, 18 U.S.C. sec. 3142(e), although the evidence “may not be sufficient to satisfy a reasonable doubt standard.” On June 24, 2011, the U.S. Attorney’s office filed a Dismissal of Criminal Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 48(a), granted leave by the magistrate judge, dismissing the Complaint while stating “that based on a close evaluation of the evidence and the defendant’s role in the offense the dismissal is in the interests of justice.” Defendant was released from the federal charges.
United States District Court, Worcester, April, 2011: Client, a 47 year old Dominican native was charged in federal court with Illegal Re-entry of a Deported Alien, in violation 8 U.S.C. 1326. He had been convicted of criminal offenses, deported in 1998 and again in 2004, and had illegal reentered again in 2009. His federal guideline sentencing range was 46 to 57 months, based upon a total offense level of 21 and a criminal history category of III. Attorney Cronin argued for a downward departure from the advisory guidelines and the defendant was sentenced to 46 months imprisonment in custody of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
United States District Court, Worcester, November, 2010: Client, a 23 year old Worcester woman was charged in a two (2) count federal indictment alleging: 1. Conspiracy to Distribute Methamphetamine, more than 500 grams, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 846, and 2. Possession with Intent to Distribute Methamphetamine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). Attorney Cronin was Lead Counsel under the federal Criminal Justice Act, and the defendant was released after detention hearing with conditions under Pre-Trial Services while the case was pending for 21 months. It was alleged that this single mother had conspired with two men, one being her former boyfriend and father of her young child, to sell 1,161 grams of methamphetamine, calling for a mandatory minimum jail term of 10 years if convicted. The two men waived their rights to trial, pleading guilty and were sentenced to prison terms of 11 years and 10 years, respectively. Attorney Cronin’s client refused to plead guilty and insisted that the government prove their case at a jury trial. On November 1, 2010, a federal jury of 12 was impaneled and sworn at the U.S. District Court in Worcester before Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV. On day 3 of her Jury Trial, after the Court had ruled in favor of the defendant on pivotal evidentiary issues and motions raised by defense counsel, the government substantially reduced their pre-trial plea demands and now offered to enter into a capped plea agreement under Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(c), proposing to the Court an agreed disposition with a range of disparate recommendations; where the government would recommend 36 months imprisonment and the defendant could argue for 4 days credit time served and 3 years supervised release on the single count of conspiracy (with the government requesting dismissal of the distribution count). The client had no prior criminal record and was “safety valve eligible” with a Total Offense Level of 24 and Criminal History Category I according to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Table (U.S.S.G. Chapter 5, Part A), for an imprisonment range between 51 to 63 months. Attorney Cronin argued for the capped plea agreement and for a downward departure from the advisory sentencing guidelines, in light of the defendant’s lack of prior record and acceptance of responsibility. At the sentencing hearing on March 7, 2011, Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV, imposed a sentence that committed the defendant to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons to be imprisoned for a term of 12 months and 1 day, with 3 years of supervised release thereafter. The Judge allowed the defendant to self-report to prison within 30 days and it is expected that she will serve 10 months imprisonment before being released. Her co-defendants did not exercise their jury trial rights and instead plead guilty to mandatory minimum 10 year jail terms.
Milford District Court, October 2010: Client, a 27 year old Milford woman, was accused of Criminal Harassment and making Annoying Telephone calls. A Harassment Prevention Order had issued against the client under G.L. c. 258E. At a hearing seeking extension of the order, after Attorney Cronin cross-examined the complainant, a judge found that the allegations did not satisfy the definition of harassment and denied extension of the Order. A Clerk Magistrate then denied issuance of a criminal complaint against the client.
Worcester Central District Court, October 2010: Client, a 41 year old Marine Corps veteran was charged with violation of an Abuse Prevention Order under G.L. c. 209A. Client had battled drug and alcohol addictions and had served a total of 50 months previous imprisonment. Despite the government’s recommendation for incarceration, Attorney Cronin persuaded the judge to order a suspended 2 year sentence, with one year probation, conditioned on completion of the Mission Direct Vet program and reside at Veteran’s, Inc. in Worcester, with drug and alcohol treatment and an order to stay away from the victim.
Worcester Superior Court, October 2010: Client, a 44 year old Southbridge woman was on from and after probation after having completed a 4-5 year state prison sentence for Armed Assault with Intent to Murder. While on probation she was charged with new crimes of Escape from Custody and Assault and Battery with Dangerous Weapon. Based on the new offenses the government requested that her probation be violated and that she be sentenced to an additional 5-7 year state prison sentence. After a disputed evidentiary hearing in Worcester superior court, a judge found that the defendant was in violation of probation and sentenced her to 1 ½ to 2 years in state prison.
Worcester Superior Court, October 2010: Client, a 37 year old Worcester man was charged with 6 indictments, alleging: (1) Possession of a Firearm without an FID card, (2) Possession of a Firearm with 3 prior violent felonies, (3) Improper Storage of a Firearm, (4) Possession of a Class D Substance, (5) Possession with Intent to Distribute a Class D Substance (9 pounds of marijuana), (6) Conspiracy to Violate Controlled Substances Act. Attorney Cronin’s Motion to Suppress the Search Warrant was denied after a judge found that defendant had no standing to contest the search, where he had no legitimate expectation of privacy in the vehicle searched, not being owner or passenger at time of the search. Attorney Cronin then filed a Motion to Dismiss the Firearm Indictments, and a judge allowed the motion on grounds that “There is no basis in the evidence presented to the Grand Jury from which knowledge of the firearm may be inferred and thus constructive possession cannot be established.” On the remaining drug counts the client was sentenced to credit for time served and 2 years from and after probation.
Worcester Superior Court, September, 2010: Client, a 21 year old Worcester man, was held and charged with 7 firearm indictments and 4 drug distribution indictments. The firearm counts alleged Possession of a Firearm, Carrying a Firearm, Possession of a Firearm with 3 prior violent crimes (a 15 year sentence), Carrying a Firearm with Ammunition, and Possession of a Firearm with no Identification Card. In a Motion to Dismiss the Firearm Counts based upon the insufficiency of evidence presented to the Worcester Superior Court Grand Jury, Attorney Cronin argued that the co-defendant was observed at all relevant times to be the only person in possession of a white plastic bag, later found to contain the firearm. At the time of his arrest, this white plastic bag was found in the restaurant booth where the co-defendant was sitting. There was no evidence presented that Mr. Cronin’s client had knowledge of the contents of the bag. The grand jury heard no testimony of friction ridge analysis and a grand juror asked “Did you ever identify the palm print?” The officer replied “No palm print was taken . . ..” The grand juror then asked “Both individuals were observed holding the bag at different times?” The officer responded “No.” Attorney Cronin argued that “The grand jury heard no reasonably trustworthy information sufficient to warrant a prudent man in believing that the defendant had committed or was committing an offense, and the indictment was fatally defective.” Commonwealth v. McCarthy, 385 Mass. 160, 164 (1982). A Justice of the Superior Court agreed, and allowed the Motion to Dismiss the Firearm Charges, stating in a written decision: “Evidence of the concerted action of the defendants in terms of street and drug transactions is not without more evidence that the (defendant) knew of the existence of a firearm in the possession of (the co-defendant).” The four drug distribution indictments remain pending.
Worcester Central District Court, August, 2010: Client, a 24 year old Milford man, was charged with Armed Robbery (punishable by life sentence) in Worcester. The complaint alleged that the client entered the victim’s apartment, struck him in the head with a brick and stole his wallet and money. At the time of the arrest the defendant was on a suspended 6 month sentence, which 6 month sentence was then imposed on his new arrest for armed robbery. After lengthy negotiations, the District Attorney’s Office reduced the Armed Robbery to Larceny from the Person, giving the District Court final jurisdiction over the case. Without a plea agreement, Attorney Cronin argued for a 6 month concurrent sentence, while the DA requested a one year sentence to the House of Corrections. Splitting the difference in half, a District Court Judge ordered that the defendant be sentenced to Nine (9) months in the Worcester County House of Corrections.
United States District Court, Worcester, July, 2010: Client, a 29 year old Worcester man was charged in a single count indictment alleging Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Cocaine, in violation of 21 U.S.C. 846 (Class B). It was alleged that during nine (9) transactions the defendant had purchased a total of 150 grams of cocaine powder for redistribution. The client had no prior criminal record and was “safety valve eligible” with a Total Offense Level of 13 and Criminal History Category I according to the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines Table (U.S.S.G. Chapter 5, Part A), for an imprisonment range between 12 to 18 months. There was no Plea Agreement and Attorney Cronin argued for a downward departure from the advisory sentencing guidelines, in light of the defendant’s lack of prior record and acceptance of responsibility. Judge F. Dennis Saylor, IV, imposed a guideline sentence and ordered that the defendant be imprisoned for 12 months and 1 day, with three years of probation upon release. On this 12 month sentence defendant will be parole eligible in 10 months, and with 3 months credit for time served, he will serve an additional 7 months in prison from the date of sentencing. Defendant was one of 11 individuals charged; 2 other defendants have entered guilty pleas and await sentencing, while the remaining 8 defendants are scheduled for jury trial in Worcester Federal Court in January of 2011.
Board of Registration in Nursing, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Suffolk County, No. 2008-0707-LN001, Boston, MA, July, 2010: Client, a 59 year old Leicester woman licensed to practice as a Licensed Practical Nurse since 1977, was alleged in May of 2008 to have forged a prescription for medication for her personal use, using a prescription form pre-signed by a physician at the Fallon Clinic and filling in the medication, dose and number of refills, then faxing the completed prescription to a pharmacy to be filled. The Board of Registration in Nursing brought an Order to Show Cause complaint, alleging five (5) counts of violations from accepted standards of nursing practice. Through Attorney Cronin acting in her defense, the client denied the allegations, and urged that the Board continue its investigation to consider further mitigating information provided in defense. In their findings dated July 21, 2010, the Board determined that the client’s conduct did not warrant disciplinary action as a result of her remediation efforts and dismissed the complaint without prejudice.
Worcester Central District Court, June, 2010: Client, a 29 year old Worcester woman, was charged with Assault & Battery / Dangerous Weapon, to wit: an aluminum baseball bat, upon her former boyfriend, who unreasonably insisted upon defendant’s guilty plea with anger management as a condition of probation. After a three witness jury-waived trial (without a jury), a District Court Judge found the defendant Not Guilty.
Worcester Superior Court, Civil Action No. 08-1993B, May, 2010: Client, an 81 year old widow from Shrewsbury, fell when leaving the newly opened Price Rite Market on Gold Star Boulevard in Worcester. Her Complaint alleged that the property owner in the midst of renovations failed to properly mark elevation changes and failed to install a railing to assist in stepping off a curb in the exit area. A railing was installed after the plaintiff’s fall. The plaintiff’s injuries required surgeries for a torn rotator cuff and patellar fracture to the right knee. She also fractured the upper bridge of her mouth and required post and core treatment for a new bridge. Mediation failed and the case was scheduled for jury trial in Worcester Superior Court. The case settled before trial for $85,000.00; made possible by a significant reduction of the medical expense lien of MSPRC CMS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Worcester Superior Court, Grand Jury Appearances, April, 2010: Client, a Massachusetts corporation, with a principal place of business in Worcester County, received a Subpoena Duces Tecum from the Worcester County Grand Jury regarding the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Office investigation of alleged PCB dumping at a Leominster construction site. The client appeared as a witness and was not the target of the investigation. Attorney Cronin assisted the client in producing responsive business records and appeared before the Grand Jury with the company’s President, who fully cooperated with the government investigation and provided testimony as to the chronology of their work on the site. Attorney Cronin also appeared before the March, 2010 Grand Jury, representing a witness to a Home Invasion case, regarding her “Advise of Rights” and Fifth Amendment issues relating to her testimony.
Fitchburg District Court Jury Session, March, 2010: Client, a 27 year old inmate at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, MA, was serving a 4to 4½ year state prison sentence out of Hampden Superior Court for Unarmed Robbery and Kidnapping. Due to the severe overcrowding of inmates, the prison mandated double bunking and the prisoners protested by staging consensual fights between inmates in their cells. The Boston Globe reported that the number of assaults “spiked at the maximum security facility in Shirley and plunged at the Walpole prison after the state’s most dangerous prisoners were transferred from Walpole to Shirley.” (Boston Globe, Nov. 22, 2009, p. B4.) Mr. Cronin’s client was charged in the Clinton District Court with 4 counts of assault & battery upon fellow inmates, and 1 count of assault & battery on a correctional officer, who alleged that the client threw a tray of food that struck him in the foot. The case was transferred to the Fitchburg District Court Jury Session, where upon advice of counsel, the client rejected the prosecutor’s offer to plead to a 6 month from & after sentence. On the date of scheduled jury trial, two of the assault & battery “victims” had been released from custody and the other two refused to testify for the prosecution, stating that the contact with the defendant was consensual. The correctional officer failed to appear despite subpoena, and the prosecutor dismissed all counts brought against the defendant.
Worcester District Court, January, 2010: Client, a 46 year old Worcester woman, was found Not Guilty after a 3 witness jury waived trial on allegations of Assault & Battery Dangerous Weapon. It was alleged that she struck her 16 year old daughter with a broom after the daughter argued that she did not want to be baptized as a Pentecostal Christian. The Judge sitting in Worcester Central District Court found the defendant Not Guilty after he was persuaded by Attorney Cronin that the battery force was justifiable as a method of teaching and discipline authorized by a parent, without intending harm to the child.
Worcester District Court, January, 2010: Client, a 26 year old Worcester woman, charged with Assault & Battery found Not Guilty after 3 witness jury waived trial. Attorney Cronin persuaded a Judge in Worcester Central District court that the victim and witnesses could not identify defendant as the assailant in the melee, and the defendant was thereby found Not Guilty. The Commonwealth also dismissed charges of breaking and entering in the nighttime and malicious destruction of property.
Worcester District Court, January, 2010: Client, a 42 year old Roxbury man, has 5 of 7 charges dismissed, pleading guilty to 90 days in the House of Correction, credit 90 days served while held on bail on a charge of Receiving a Stolen Motor Vehicle. Defendant was released from Massachusetts custody, remaining held for the states of New Jersey and New York on Fugitive from Justice complaints.
Worcester District Court, February, 2010: Client, a 20 year old New Hampshire man was a full-time student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) charged with a single count of Criminal Harassment upon a fellow student who was his former girlfriend. The case was placed on Pre-Trial Probation status, under G.L.c.276, section 87, with no plea and no finding, to be dismissed in 9 months upon compliance with anger management counseling and stay away order. The defendant with no prior record will be permitted to return to school in January of 2011, remaining with no record of conviction, as the charges will be dismissed.
Worcester District Court, February, 2010: Client, a 22 year old Worcester man was charged with 3rd Offense Cocaine Distribution and School Zone Distribution of Cocaine, facing a minimum mandatory 7 year state prison sentence. Defendant had previously served a 2 year committed House sentence for the same offense conviction. Attorney Cronin persuaded the prosecution that warrantless search issues if brought before the court on a motion to suppress, might yield no conviction. The Commonwealth agreed to a sentence of 1 year to the House of Corrections, committed, credit 2 months served.
Ayer District Court, December, 2009: Client, a 21 year old Lunenburg man was charged with Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, first offense, after having being stopped for speeding by the Townsend Police. Attorney Cronin’s Motion in Limine to exclude from evidence the marijuana found on his client was allowed, as the small amount was only the subject of a civil citation and the substance was never tested and confirmed to be a controlled substance. The defense stipulated to the elements of public way and operation, but disputed that consumption of alcohol diminished the defendant’s capacity to operate a vehicle on the night in question. The defendant testified that he had 3 beers prior to driving and did not have an impaired ability to operate. After only 10 minutes of deliberation, a jury of six found the defendant not guilty after a three witness trial before Judge Peter Kilmartin.
Worcester District Court, December, 2009: Client, a 41 year old Worcester woman was charged in 1994 with Assault & Battery with a Dangerous Weapon and Breaking & Entering in the nighttime. The client was in default for 15 years, and after retaining Attorney Cronin, had the default removed and warrant recalled. After two court appearances the charges were dismissed at the request of the Commonwealth.
Worcester District Court, November, 2009: Client, a 34 year old Worcester woman was charged with Assault & Battery upon her former sister-in-law, who showed no physical sign of injury and declined medical treatment at the scene of arrest. Attorney Cronin was able to persuade the prosecution to dismiss the case on the scheduled jury trial date, based upon the defense of self-defense, the fact that the client had no prior criminal record and the Court’s acceptance of the Accord & Satisfaction settlement agreement reached between the parties.
Worcester District Court, November, 2009: Client, a 25 year old Worcester man was charged with felony Unarmed Robbery of a liquor store, an offense potentially punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for life. The prosecution agreed to reduce the charge to misdemeanor Larceny Under $250.00, and upon the defendant’s admission, the Commonwealth recommended 9 months committed to the House of Correction. Attorney Cronin persuaded the Court to adopt the defendant’s sentencing recommendation and he was sentenced to 4 months in the House of Corrections with credit for time served.
Worcester District Court, November, 2009: Defendant, a 32 year old Worcester man was charged with violating his Level III probation, based upon urine samples testing positive for drugs and failure to comply with the terms of his probation. Defendant suffered from bipolar and schizo-affective disorder and was recently released from an inpatient drug treatment facility, where he addressed the dangers of mixing prescription drugs with alcohol and illicit drugs. Instead of imposing a 2 year suspended House of Correction sentence, Attorney Cronin persuaded the Court to terminate probation unfavorably, and the defendant was discharged and released from the terms of Level III probation.
Worcester District Court, November, 2009: Defendant, a 30 year old Worcester woman, was charged with Threatening to Commit a Crime, to wit: Assault & Battery. Attorney Cronin persuaded the prosecution to dismiss the charges upon the defendant’s payment of $100.00 in court costs.
Worcester District Court, November, 2009: Defendant, a 32 year old Worcester man was charged with Domestic Assault & Battery upon his live-in girlfriend. At a three witness jury waived trial, the alleged victim testified under Attorney Cronin’s cross-examination that the defendant, “kind of pushed” her, but was unsure what part of his body made contact with her. She also admitted that she had initiated the argument by throwing items at him. The defendant testified and denied that he ever touched the alleged victim. The Judge, sitting without a jury, found the defendant not guilty and he was discharged from the allegations.
Worcester District Court, October, 2009: Defendant, a Maryland resident, retained Attorney Cronin to vacate a 2002 default warrant on unresolved charges of shoplifting, providing a false name upon arrest and using a false liquor ID. Defendant was a citizen of Ghana and her application for green card was pending. A conviction would have potential immigration consequences, including deportation, denial of naturalization as a U.S. citizen, or exclusion from citizenship. Attorney Cronin argued that the defendant was married to a U.S. citizen, her two children were U.S. citizens and that since 2002 she had become a gainfully employed full-time certified nurse’s assistant. The Court was persuaded to dismiss all charges upon her payment of $200.00 in Court costs.
Worcester District Court, October, 2009: Client, a 49 year old Worcester woman, was charged with being a disorderly person, and Lewd, Wanton and Lascivious Conduct. It was alleged that she had engaged in public sex acts with a male co-defendant. Attorney Cronin was able to persuade the prosecution that it was impossible to observe the complained of conduct from the stated look-out observation place and the case was dismissed. The client was thereby spared the requirement if convicted of registration as a sex offender under Massachusetts law.
Worcester District Court, October, 2009: Client, a 21 year old Worcester man was charged with felony Armed Carjacking and Assault by Dangerous Weapon. Attorney Cronin persuaded the prosecution that his client was extremely inebriated, and as a drunken passenger in the vehicle, was not an active participant in the alleged joint venture. The felony was then amended to misdemeanor Larceny, keeping jurisdiction within the District Court (without proceeding to the Grand Jury or Superior Court) and the client plead to a term of supervised probation.
Worcester District Court, October, 2009: Client, a 35 year old Leominster woman, was charged with Identity Theft, in violation of G.L. c. 266 section 37E. Attorney Cronin persuaded the judge to dismiss the charge where there was no evidence that the defendant had posed as another person with an intent to defraud.
Worcester District Court, September, 2009: Client, a 31 year old Worcester woman, was arrested at her boyfriend’s apartment where a search warrant was executed, yielding 41 grams of cocaine. Attorney Cronin was able to demonstrate to the Court that his client was merely present and was not a target in the search warrant affidavit. Charges of Cocaine Trafficking (calling for a 5 year minimum mandatory sentence) and Distribution of Cocaine in a School Zone (calling for a 2 ½ years in the House of Correction, from and after the 5 year sentence) were dismissed at the request of the Commonwealth, with the grateful consent of the defendant.
Worcester Superior Court, August, 2009: Client, a 38 year old Fitchburg woman, was previously convicted and placed on supervised probation for White Collar Embezzlement and Conspiracy, as a joint venture participant in stealing over $500,000.00 from her former employer. While on probation she was newly arrested and charged with Operating Under the Influence of Intoxicating Liquors in the Fitchburg District Court, and she was acquitted after trial on this new charge. In a contested probation violation hearing in Worcester Superior Court, the Judge chose not to impose probation’s recommended 2 ½ year House of Correction sentence, and instead extended the client’s Level III probation, conditioned on her successful completion of an inpatient sober house for women in Fitchburg.
Worcester District Court, August, 2009: Client, a 19 year old Worcester man, was a passenger in a vehicle stopped by the Massachusetts State Police for defective equipment violations. The police observed a small amount of marijuana on the client’s pants and said that he consented to a search of the glove compartment of the vehicle that he was a passenger in. Attorney Cronin’s Motion to Suppress argued that there was no consent to search and that the warrantless search violated the 4th Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. After 2 scheduled hearings where the arresting officer failed to appear the prosecution agreed to dismiss the charges of Possession of Ammunition without and FID Card.
Worcester District Court, July, 2009:Client, a 29 year old Cotuit woman, was charged with 3 counts of being a common nightwalker, engaging in sex for a fee. She had previously served 1 year in the House of Correction for the same charges. Attorney Cronin successfully persuaded the judge to permit the client to avoid jail by completing a pre-trial intervention program as a condition of pre-trial probation. Upon completion of the program the charges were dismissed.
Worcester District Court, June, 2009: In a case originating from Judge allows defense Motion to Suppress Search of Automobile Trunk, filed by Attorney Cronin, as not pertaining to instrumentalities of any suspected crime, a search conducted in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 14 of the Massachusetts Declarations of Rights. Firearm Charges Dismissed.
Worcester CDC Jury Trial Session, May, 2009: Client, a 65 year old Paxton man, in a 2 car motor vehicle dispute, was charged with chasing the alleged victim’s car for several miles after a traffic dispute. The elderly defendant had a heart attack upon arrest and was arraigned by a Judge at Worcester Memorial Hospital, while represented by Attorney Cronin, who persuaded the judge to release the defendant on personal recognizance. On felony charges of Assault & Battery/Dangerous Weapon: To-Wit: Motor Vehicle (2 counts), the defendant faced a potential of 10 years in the state prison. Road rage is alleged and after a three witness trial a six member jury returned a Verdict of Not Guilty. The acquitted defendant was discharged from his arrest.
Other recent Criminal Jury Trials:
- Commonwealth v. BA, (2008) Fitchburg Jury Trial. Judge Elliot Zide, OUI Liquor 2nd Offense, Verdict: Not Guilty.
- Commonwealth v. SL, (2008) Fitchburg Jury Trial, Judge Andrew Mandell, OUI Liquor, Jury Verdict: Not Guilty.
- Commonwealth v. KC, (2007) Fitchburg Jury Trial, Judge Elliot Zide, OUI Liquor, Jury Verdict Not Guilty.
- Commonwealth v. JL, (2006) Fitchburg Jury Trial, Judge Andrew Mandell, Assault & Battery/Dangerous Weapon, Jury Verdict Not Guilty.
- Commonwealth v. TJ, (2006) Fitchburg Jury Trial, Judge Edward Reynolds, ADA David Ferracco, Assault & Battery/Dangerous Weapon, To-Wit: Chair: Jury Verdict: Not Guilty.
- Commonwealth v. JM, (2004), Fitchburg Jury Trial, Judge Andre Gelinas, Assault & Battery, Jury Verdict Not Guilty.