Other Post-Conviction Results

Motion to remove GPS probation condition

GPS monitoring is a standard condition of probation for most people convicted of sex offenses. We were able to convince a judge that it was not appropriate here because the unique circumstances of his case did not warrant GPS monitoring.

Motion for new trial allowed

Our client was found guilty of a sex offense after trial. A review of the trial transcripts and discovery revealed that his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to hire an expert who could have pointed out the holes in the Commonwealth’s theory of the case, and our client’s conviction was overturned.

Commonwealth v. Hamel, 91 Mass. App. Ct. 349 (2017)

The Appeals Court reversed our client’s convictions for indecent assault and battery on a person under the age of 14 when the trial court erroneously admitted the complainant’s medical records into evidence at his trial, and the prosecutor made an improper closing argument which unfairly bolstered the credibility of the complaining witness.

Commonwealth v. Sylvain (II), 473 Mass. 832 (2016)

The Supreme Judicial Court upheld the trial court’s allowance of our motion to vacate our client’s plea where his attorney gave him bad immigration advice. The SJC rejected the Commonwealth’s contention on appeal that a trial court should not have relied on affidavits and affirmed the trial judge’s findings that the evidence we presented at the evidentiary hearing was sufficient to meet our burden.

Motion for new trial allowed

Our client was found guilty of a sex offense after trial in superior court. A review of the trial transcripts and discovery revealed that his attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel by failing to hire an expert, failing to conduct any investigation, and failing to properly advise his client regarding his right to testify in his defense. Following an evidentiary hearing a superior court judge allowed our motion for new trial and our client’s convictions were vacated.

Commonwealth v. Cole, 468 Mass. 294 (2014)

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found the statutory scheme of Community Parole Supervision for Life unconstitutional, and our client and hundreds of others were immediately released from this oppressive and ineffective form of punishment. Laura represented the defendant in this case along with Beth Eisenberg from the Committee for Public Counsel Services.

Commonwealth v. Hart, 467 Mass. 322 (2014)

The Supreme Judicial Court reversed the denial of our client’s motion to vacate his plea to resisting arrest when there was an inadequate factual basis presented during his plea colloquy that he committed the offense charged. This case clarified that in addition to determining that a defendant’s plea be made voluntarily and intelligently, a trial court judge has an independent duty to determine that a sufficient factual basis for the charge exists before accepting a defendant’s guilty plea.

Commonwealth v. Sylvain, 466 Mass. 422 (2013)

In this landmark decision – the first of its kind in the country – the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court parted ways with a recent decision of the United States Supreme Court and held that non-citizen defendants in Massachusetts were entitled to the effective assistance of their criminal attorneys in providing them with advice concerning the immigration consequences of their criminal convictions prior to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision in Padilla v. Kentucky in 2010. In February of 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court, in the case of Chaidez v. United States, held that their decision would not be retroactive to cases decided before its decision in Padilla. That meant that any client who pleaded guilty before 2010 would not be able to try and withdraw their plea even if they had not received immigration advice. The SJC’s decision in Sylvain holding Padilla retroactive in Massachusetts will help a countless number of non-citizens get a second chance of remaining in the country if their attorneys had given them bad advice that affected their decision to plead guilty. I represented the defendant in this case along with co-counsel Wendy Wayne of the Committee for Public Counsel Services’ Immigration Impact Unit, with help from attorneys Jennifer Klein and Emma Winger.

Conviction vacated

Several years ago our client had pleaded guilty to a crime in district court and was placed on probation. Upon review of the police reports and a transcript of the plea, it became evident that our client had not, in fact, committed the crime he was charged with. We filed a motion to withdraw his plea which was allowed by the judge and the charge was dismissed.

Motion for new trial allowed

Our client had been convicted of a fourth offense for operating under the influence and was sentenced to two years in prison when we took over his case on appeal. A review of the trial transcripts and record revealed that the client had a viable motion to suppress his statements that his trial attorney never pursued. We filed a motion for new trial, and the district court allowed the motion and vacated the conviction. Our client was able to return home to his wife and children a year before his sentence was supposed to end.

Motions to correct sentence (2011-2014)

Before it was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Judicial Court, Community Parole Supervision for Life (“CPSL”) was one of the harshest sentences anyone could receive. It essentially put a defendant on probation for the rest of his life, during which time some of the conditions included not being able to use the internet, total abstinence from alcohol, not being able to go to the movies without permission from a parole officer, and a mandatory curfew of 10 pm to 6 am. If a violation of any of these conditions was found, the