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Why You Should Hire a Lawyer for a Clerk Magistrate or Show Cause Hearing in Massachusetts

952313_gavel.jpgHiring a qualified and experienced Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense attorney is very important and should be the first step any defendant should take when responding to a summons to appear before a clerk magistrate in any Massachusetts court for potential criminal charges. The clerk magistrate is the court official that will determine whether or not an application for complaint against you will be allowed or denied. If the application is allowed by the clerk magistrate, a criminal complaint will then issue and the criminal process against you will start and your case will be scheduled for an arraignment before a judge. If the application is denied this will most likely end the matter although the aggrieved party seeking issuance of a criminal complaint may still appeal a denial and request a de novo or new hearing before the judge for reconsideration of the application.

The standard for issuance of a criminal complaint is very low and the party seeking the complaint against a person need only establish probable cause that a crime occurred. This is different and much lower that the normal prosecution burden of proof standard at a criminal trial which is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. A clerk magistrate is in control of the administration of the hearing. He or she will often allow a defendant’s private attorney to question all complaining witnesses. The defense lawyer’s advocacy at the clerk’s hearing can often make or break a case and a skilled criminal defense lawyer can often convince the clerk magistrate to deny the complaint after questioning the witnesses and making a strong legal argument. Additionally, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to work out an agreement to avoid a complaint by persuading the clerk to continue the application for complaint for a period of time and if no other trouble between the parties occurs, the clerk will not issue the complaint. The bottom line is that defendants must hire competent and experienced counsel to aggressively defend their legal interests at the hearing to protect them from having a criminal record and all the negative consequences that flow from having a criminal conviction.

The old adage in the law that “he who represents himself has a fool for a client” is appropriate here. The clerks hearing is no exception. Clients must understand and appreciate that they have Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and anything that they say at a these hearings can be used against them at a subsequent criminal proceeding or trial by the prosecutor. Therefore, it is imperative to have a lawyer present at a hearing to protect your rights against self-incrimination in the appropriate circumstances while aggressively questioning witnesses to expose lies and inconsistencies in testimony that can show motive or bias in witness testimony and prevent the issuance of a complaint. At the same time, a person seeking the complaint should strongly consider hiring a competent criminal defense lawyer who understands victims rights and legal case law regarding the elements necessary to establish probable cause to issue a complaint.

Attorney Patrick J. Murphy has years of successful experience in representing clients at clerk magistrate hearings in Boston Municipal Court and other surrounding courts in Massachusetts. Attorney Murphy has re-defined show cause hearings in Massachusetts in the watershed case of Commonwealth v. DiBennadetto and was thereby instrumental in giving all Massachusetts attorneys the ability to file motions to dismiss criminal cases for lack of probable cause where no evidence exists to support a criminal case. By filing what has become known as the “DiBennadetto Motion” lawyers are now able to convince judges to dismiss cases that are unsupported by basic evidence. Winning your case at the stage of the clerk magistrate hearing can save you significant legal fees because you don’t have to hire the attorney to defend against a complaint that does not issue.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy today and hire an expert Boston, Massachusetts clerk magistrate lawyer to defend you at your show cause hearing. You may call Attorney Murphy now at 617-367-0450 or email Attorney Murphy by completing the contacts tab on the website right away for your free legal consultation.