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In-Person Program

Hardly Common Defenses to Common, But Hard, Criminal Cases

Swatting the Commonwealth's slam dunk

Thursday, 11/19/2009, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
MCLE, Lower Level Seminar Room, Boston
4 substantive credits, 0 ethics credits
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Product Description

Why attend?

How frequently do criminal defense attorneys take on cases which, at first blush, appear hopeless? The hand-to-hand drug deal to an undercover cop. The cold hit DNA match in a child rape case. A failure to register prosecution where the Commonwealth produces documents proving the defendant moved from his registered address without notifying the authorities. Our first reaction to receiving such a case is often, "This case must plead." But sometimes they dont. Or cant. Mandatory minimums, lifetime parole, immigration consequences, or the clients factual innocence often stand in the way of a pretrial disposition. Have no fear. These cases can be fought, and even won.

At this seminar, a panel of criminal defense attorneys who have "been there and done that" share with you their creative approaches to defending the proverbial Commonwealth slam dunk case. Specific scenarios we explore: Hand-to-hand drug sales to undercover police officers and defenses of misidentification, duress, and entrapment; Failure to Register cases and defenses built on technical deficiencies of applicable statutory provisions; Legal challenges to trespassing cases involving public housing authorities; Statute of Limitations defenses to sexual assault (and other) prosecutions; Self-defense and Adjutant evidence in Assault and Battery on a Police Officer cases Written materials include pretrial and trial motions which you can then tailor to your own cases.

You will learn...

  • How do you investigate and present a battered womans/duress defense in a drug (or any other) case? What records must you obtain? How do you get funds for an expert? How should you work with a client to present such a defense when the client is still under the influence of her batterer?
  • When is mistaken identification a viable defense to an alleged hand-to-hand sale? What pretrial motions should you file for discovery purposes and to seek to suppress identification evidence? Should you hire an expert? What issues might that expert address?
  • What is the required threshold showing to permit you to present an entrapment defense? Does your client need to testify to support an entrapment claim? Does the law in Massachusetts recognize so-called "sentencing entrapment"-enticing the defendant to sell more drugs or to sell in a school zone in order to increase the penalty?
  • What have the appellate courts said about the deficiencies in the failure to register statute and how can you build a defense based on those statutory problems? When should you raise these issues before trial in a motion to dismiss and when is it better to save your challenges until the required finding stage of the trial?
  • What is the law, current and developing, in Massachusetts regarding the pleading requirements for raising a statute of limitations defense? Who bears the burden of proof and on what issues?
  • What are the myriad legal challenges you can raise to a trespassing prosecution when the no trespass notice was issued by a housing authority and not the actual tenant? How has one housing authority responded to these challenges?
  • How can you investigate the violent background of a police officer? When you learn of such a history, what motions must you file to obtain more discovery or to present such evidence at trial in support of a self-defense claim to a charge of ABPO? Does Adjutant apply to a resisting arrest charge?

Agenda and written materials

  • Defenses to Hand-to-Hand Sales to an Undercover Case: Misidentification; Battered Woman/ Duress; Entrapment
  • Adjutant and Self-Defense in ABPO Cases
  • "Technical" Defenses in Failure to Register Cases
  • Statute of Limitations Defense
  • Challenging Trespass on Public Housing Cases
  • Question and Answer for the Panelists
  • "Ask the Experts" Q&A Session

Table of Contents



Margaret E. Fox, Esq., Good, Schneider & Cormier, Boston
Lisa M. Polk, Esq., Committee for Public Counsel Services, Somerville
Robert F. Shaw, Jr., Esq., Cambridge
Cora Vestal, Esq., Committee for Public Counsel Services, Roxbury
Joshua J. Wood, Esq., Benzaken & Wood LLP , Brockton



  • $195
  • $175 MCLE Sponsor Members
  • $185 MBA/BBA Members
    For new lawyers admitted after 2005, pending admittees, and law students who are$125 MCLE Sponsor Members
  • $145 MBA/BBA Members
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