Last month Boston Firefighter Kenneth Veiga, a 24 year veteran, was facing potential charges for threats he made against his department following a requirement that he see a predetermined physician in order to return from his paid leave.
Veiga allegedly told his commander that he was thinking about smashing a fire truck into a wall, and further that, “I am Army trained and have weapons and ammunitions (sic) in a storage locker. Dorner will be child’s play.” The reference to “Dorner” being that of the former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner who killed several people last month, resulting in a man hunt and standoff prior to killing himself earlier last month. Boston Police also said Veiga additionally stated that he was “upset with City Hall, Fire Department Headquarters, and the Firefighters Union Hall.”
It was reported this week that no charges will be filed in the case.
Under Massachusetts law, in order to be criminally liable for making a threat, the prosecution must prove that a person has done all of the following:
- the defendant expressed intent to injure a victim and/or his or her property;
- the defendant intended to convey this to his victim;
- the injury or harm that was threatened, would be a crime if carried out; and
- the threat was expressed in such a way as to give the victim reasonable fear or apprehension that the defendant had the intent and ability to carry out what was threatened.
Thus, comments made merely in jest or as an expression of frustration, may not rise to the standard required under criminal law. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that in its case against a defendant, the government must prove each element beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, based on the limited information and evidence reported, it isn’t that surprising that the case was not pursued.
The standard, defined by case law, is addressed in Chapter 275 Section 2, et seq. of the Massachusetts General Laws. If found guilty, a person could face a potential fine of up to $100 and up to six months in prison. Probation or a suspended sentence are also potential outcomes in threat cases.
If you are being accused of having made a threat, whether in Boston or throughout Massachusetts, you will need a lawyer with a strong reputation and experience to provide you with the most aggressive and persuasive defense strategy. Criminal threats in Massachusetts are a serious crime and can result in jail time.
Therefore, it is critical that you immediately contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy. We have vast knowledge and criminal defense attorney experience within the greater Boston area, and can help successfully defend against criminal threat charges. Attorney Murphy can help craft a solid defense aimed at eliminating your charges or otherwise minimize any harmful legal consequences to avoid jail time or other harsh punishment. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy today through our website, or by calling 617-367-0450 24/7.
More Blog Posts:
Massachusetts Pretrial Diversion Program Helping Veterans, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published February 26, 2013
Massachusetts to Establish Anti-Crime Task Force, Boston Criminal Defense Lawyer Blog, published February 20, 2013