Two Boston men were caught by police after a citizen tipped-off investigators. As a result of the tip, police recovered a handgun and crack cocaine when they arrested the pair on Monday, August 8, 2011 as reported in the Boston Herald. Both men pleaded not guilty to firearm and drug charges but were held on bail of $25,000-$30,000.
How will their lawyers likely handle defending them? One area that an aggressive and relentless Boston, Massachusetts criminal defense attorney must vigorously explore in this case is the nature of the tip from the informant, in this case, a citizen as indicated by the Boston Police. In the criminal law area of stop and search or frisk, the veracity, reliability and basis of knowledge prongs must be applied to the tip information. This information must be determined to justify the use of the tip by police to make a stop and/or seizure of evidence by police. If the proper protocols are not followed the lawyer may be able to suppress any evidence from the stop.
How did the tipster, a citizen, learn what he or she claimed to know? Was there any personal observation made by the tipster? What is the tipster’s veracity? In other words, was the tipster credible and worthy of belief under the circumstances with the information provided? Is the citizen providing the tip named or unnamed? Where the identity of an unnamed citizen is not revealed, that person actually is an anonymous informant and different rules apply. Anyone can call the police and make up an accusation. Where the identity of a concerned citizen in not provided to police, the citizen is an unknown informant and his or her reliability must be shown.The reliability of that citizen must be demonstrated by the prosecution an a hearing on the motion to suppress. Commonwealth v. Rojas, 403. Mass. 483, 485 (1988).
In general, people stopped for questioning on the street by police do not have any legal obligation to cooperate with police inquiries. The person stopped by police does not have to answer any questions asked of him and may simply decline to listen and go on his way. He may not be detained even for a moment without a reasonable and objective basis for a stop by the police. A person’s refusal to answer police question, without more evidence, does not give the police cause to detain the person. Florida v. Royer, 460 U.S. 491, 501 (1983).
Attorney Patrick J. Murphy has been practicing criminal law in Boston for nearly twenty years. He has been very successful in defending such cases and having gun and drug evidence suppressed by the court through pre-trial motions on behalf of his criminal law clients. If you have been stopped and detained by the police and have had any criminal charges filed against you contact the law office of Patrick J. Murphy today to discuss the specifics of your case and receive a free legal consultation. Attorney Murphy can be reached at 617-367-0450 or by filling out the form on the contacts tab on the website.