According to an article in the MetroWest Daily News, a Framingham man allegedly assaulted his father at their home on June 24th. The article states that at the time of the alleged incident, the man was out on bail on another case – a stabbing from last March. As part of his conditions of release on the stabbing case, the man was on GPS and house arrest. Prior to the incident with the man’s father, the man and his attorney went into court to ask the judge to remove the order for house arrest so that the man could get a job. The judge denied the request. Later that same day, the man was reportedly drinking at his house and got into an altercation with his father. According to the man’s father, the man became angry and yelled, attempted to punch his father, and threatened to kill him. The man’s father called the police, who subsequently arrested the man and charged him with one count of assault and one count of threats. As a result of the new charges, the man was held in custody.
While there are several different avenues that the man’s attorney may explore to obtain a favorable outcome, one that should definitely be considered is an accord and satisfaction. An accord and satisfaction, laid out under G. L. c. 276, § 55, is an agreement between an alleged victim and a defendant documenting that the alleged victim has received “satisfaction” for any injury caused by the defendant. Satisfaction can be almost anything, for example a written apology, assurances that the conduct will not be repeated, money damages, the return of property, or even an agreement to enter and complete substance abuse programming. To obtain an accord and satisfaction, the alleged victim must appear before the court, acknowledge in writing that he has been satisfied, and inform the court that he wants the case to be dismissed. While an accord and satisfaction can only be sought where the defendant is charged with certain misdemeanors for which the defendant is liable in a civil action, both the assault and threats charges that the man is facing are misdemeanors for which an accord and satisfaction could be obtained.
Once an accord and satisfaction has been obtained, it is up to the judge whether to dismiss the case. Some of the factors a judge may consider in evaluating an accord and satisfaction may include the criminal history of the defendant, especially the nature of past charges, the adequacy of the “satisfaction,” the relationship of the parties, mitigating factors that led to the charged conduct, and any voluntary programs which the defendant has successfully participated in or completed. Given the fact that the alleged victim in the case is the man’s father, and the fact that the charges are relatively minor, there is a good chance that the court would be willing to dismiss the charges if the father agreed to an accord and satisfaction. Since an accord and satisfaction does not constitute an admission of guilt, it would certainly be in the man’s best interest for his attorney to try and work out this type of resolution. Any attempt to try an accord and satisfaction may have to happen quickly as there has been significant discussions in the legislature about abolishing accord and satisfactions in cases alleging domestic violence. Also the fact that the man was out on bail when this incident occurred may make a judge more reluctant to consider an accord and satisfaction as a method of disposition.
If you or a loved one is facing misdemeanor charges and there is a possibility that alleged victim is not be interested in pursuing the case, it is in your best interest to have an attorney explore the possibility of an accord and satisfaction for you. Attorney Daniel Cappetta is an experienced attorney who knows the ins and outs of the criminal justice system, and who will explore any and all avenues to get you the best possible outcome for your case. Call him today for a free consultation.