Threat to Sue is Witness Intimidation, Not Protected Speech

On October 22, 2014, In an unpublished opinion in Commonwealth v. Simeone, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled that a person who threatens to sue a witness in a criminal case with the specific intent to impede or obstruct the witness from participating in a criminal proceeding can be found guilty of Witness Intimidation under G.L. ch. 268 § 13B. In this case, the defendant in a criminal proceeding admitted to saying to a witness "[w]ait until [your] court date, [I'm] going to make sure [you] get screwed,” and also admitted that he…Read more

Federal Judge Upends §1983 Civil Rights Jury Verdict Because of Pretrial Probation

PRETRIAL PROBATION AND §1983 CIVIL RIGHTS CLAIMS In a decision published September 30, 2014, United States District Court Judge O’Toole reversed a jury’s determination that the plaintiff was wrongfully arrested because the defendant participated in Pretrial Probation in Massachusetts State Courts. Kennedy v. Town of Billerica (Civil Action No. 10-11457-GAO).  The decision notes the lack of First Circuit law on this issue, and cites a circuit split regarding whether pretrial probation is the type of “successful termination” that can permit bringing an action for wrongful arrest under.  42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pretrial Probation…Read more