Selected Case Summaries 2011

  • 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 In 1992, before the two-trial “de novo” system was repealed in Massachusetts, the client had been tried before a judge, found guilty, and sentenced to 1 year in the House of Corrections, committed, from which he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.