This past week the news and internet have been abuzz with reports regarding a Massachusets college student charged with a crime as a result of an incident that allegedly occurred at Dean College in Franklin, MA. The Milford Daily News ran a report on the case, it also received coverage on the local WBZ television news. The college student, who is originally from New York, got into a confrontation with the alleged victim, who is also a student at the college. The confrontation allegedly started because the student believed the alleged victim had stolen an expensive pair of Nike Foamposite sneakers.
The student allegedly confronted the alleged victim and then punched him in the face. In the ensuing fight the student is accused of hitting the alleged victim several more times, including using the shoes at issue as a dangerous weapon by taking them off the alleged victim’s feet and hitting him with them. As a result the student was charged with both regular assault and battery, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Police also alleged that the student took the sneakers after the assault and charged him with unarmed robbery as a result.
Immediately after the incident no action was taken by the police or the administration, but a portion of the incident was captured on video (warning graphic content) and later uploaded to the internet.
Once the footage received widespread attention the police investigated the incident, and the school immediately expelled the student and several others who can be seen in the video. The student now faces a very serious situation. Both unarmed robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon are felonies that carry maximum penalties involving state prison. As a result of the ensuing high profile media coverage it is likely his case will receive the utmost attention and care from Norfolk County prosecutors.
One interesting aspect of this case is the charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon as a result of the student reportedly grabbing the alleged victim’s shoes and then striking the alleged victim with them. In Massachusetts there are two different kinds of dangerous weapons under our law. Some items are considered dangerous per se. Dangerous per se weapons are items that are designed to produce great bodily harm or death. (for example guns, certain knives, brass knuckles, etc) However any item can be considered a dangerous weapon if it is used in a manner that makes it capable of producing great bodily harm. These otherwise harmless items are referred to as dangerous as used weapons. (For a more detailed discussion of Massachusetts law on this topic read Commonwealth v. Appleby the case is a little graphic in the details, but skip to page 303 for the discussion on dangerous per se and dangerous as used)
Sneakers have been found to be dangerous weapons by higher courts in Massachusetts several times, so it is unlikely a legal challenge will get that charge dismissed prior to trial, however because the sneakers were not used to kick, but rather used in more of a smacking fashion it may be a viable issue at trial whether or not their use in this particular case was dangerous.
The student has already paid a price for this incident. His expulsion from school and subsequent media exposure will undoubtedly make his life more difficult going forward.
If you are a college student and have been charged with a crime it is essential you get an attorney who has experience representing college students, and knows how to protect your criminal record.
I have had the opportunity to represent several college and graduate students and would be happy to use my experience as a Massachusetts felony assault defense attorney to give you a free consultation and help you evaluate the best strategy for defending your case. I am also willing to work out payment plans with college students who may not be able to make a large upfront payment for services. The consultation is completely free and there is never any obligation to hire me. You will always know the total cost of representation before you hire me, and I guarantee the price you are quoted at the consultation.