Significant Criminal Litigation
- 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.
Case Name: Commonwealth v. B.R.
Court: Worcester Superior Court
Judge: Hon. Elizabeth Butler
Attorney Cronin successfully defended a charge of aggravated rape in Worcester Superior Court. The case was significant because the Superior Court Judge conducted a lobby conference before impaneling the jury, and (inappropriately) informed defense counsel that if the jury came back guilty, she would sentence each of the two defendants to life in prison. Attorney Cronin’s client rejected a plea offer of 3 -5 Cedar Junction, and the case was tried before a jury for one week. After two days of deliberations the jury returned not guilty verdicts on all counts.
Case Name: Commonwealth v. L.M.
Court: Worcester CDC Jury Session
Judge: Hon. Paul LoConto
Docket No. 0862CR10161
On January 8, 2009, Attorney Cronin was lead trial counsel before a six member jury for the defendant charged with Assault and Battery, Assault and Battery Dangerous Weapon. Three witnesses testified for the prosecution, and Judge LoConto allowed defendant’s Motion for Required Finding of Not Guilty at the close of the Commonwealth’s evidence. The Jury was discharged and the defendant was found not guilty.
Case Name: United States of America v. X.S.
Court: U.S. District Court, Worcester
Judge: Hon. F. Dennis Saylor, IV
Docket No. 05-40037-FDS
In November of 2006, Attorney Cronin was appointed to represent this defendant from the federal Criminal Justice Act list in the Worcester Federal Court. Defendant Sida was one of twelve Laotian co-defendants charged in a complex conspiracy with smuggling large quantities of drugs from Canada into the United States. On January 31, 2007, Attorney Cronin was lead counsel in a Motion to Suppress Statements on grounds of alleged Miranda violations. On August 1, 2007, after a change of plea on 4 of the 21 counts, the defendant was sentenced by Judge Saylor to a term of 57 months, finding that the defendant was entitled to a four level adjustment for minimal participant (as a “mule” not knowing the type or quantity of his load), instead of a two level adjustment for minor participant.
Case Name: Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. G.S.Jr.
Court: Worcester Superior Court
Judge: Hon. Kathe Tuttman
Docket No. WOCR2007-0282
On March 13, 2007, Attorney Cronin was appointed under Superior Court Rule 8 to represent this defendant, charged with Armed Robbery and other life felony offenses. On September 7, 2007, Judge Kathe Tuttman heard testimony from three witnesses and denied Defendant’s Motion to Suppress Witness Identification Procedure. The case was disposed of on October 9, 2007, when Judge Maureen Hogan adopted an agreed upon recommendation for a sentence of 4-5 years at Cedar Junction.
Case Name: United States of America v. M.E.R.S.
Court: U.S. District Court, Worcester
Judge: Hon. F. Dennis Saylor, IV
Docket No. 06-40004-FDS
In April of 2006, Attorney Cronin was appointed under the federal Criminal Justice Act panel to represent the defendant charged with a one count indictment of Illegal Re-entry of a Deported Alien, in violation of 8 U.S.C. sec. 1326. The defendant also had cocaine trafficking offenses pending in Worcester Superior Court. The defendant plead first to the federal charges and faced the state charges upon completion of his federal term. On November 6, 2006, the defendant was sentenced to 33 months in federal prison.