Attorney Chris Spring’s client was found not guilty today of assaulting another man with a knife in downtown Lowell.
On September 7, 2021, the police were called to investigate a disturbance near Central Street in Lowell. The responding officer found our client and another man (named Miguel) circling one another in the middle of the street. Our client was brandishing a knife. The cop ordered the men to separate and our client began backing up. Meanwhile, Miguel continued to try to approach our client. At some point, Miguel turned and began to aggressively approach the cop. After telling Miguel several times to stand still, the officer finally had to tase him. After being tased, Miguel fell to the ground but within 10 seconds he stood back up and tried to again attack our client. The cop tased Miguel again. At that point, our client and Miguel were both handcuffed and taken into custody. Our client was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon (the knife) and disorderly conduct.
It was clear from the police report that Miguel was the aggressor and our client was simply defending himself. However, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office refused to dismiss the charges against our client and the case was tried in Lowell District Court. Miguel did not show up for the trial, so the prosecutor attempted to prove the charges against our client by having two police officers testify about their observations. The cops acknowledged during their testimony that Miguel appeared to be the primary aggressor. Miguel did not follow instructions to back away from our client and he did not follow instructions to stop fighting. Further, we elicited the testimony of an independent witness who said Miguel followed our client into a building, kicked in a door leading to a bathroom where our client was hiding, and sprayed our client in the face with a fire extinguisher. The police officers confirmed our client was covered with powder from the fire extinguisher. The independent witness also told the police our client attempted to escape Miguel by running out of the building after he was sprayed by the fire extinguisher, but Miguel chased him outside and continued to try to attack him on the street. It was clear from the testimony of the Commonwealth’s witnesses that our client was the victim and never should have been charged with a crime. It took the Lowell District Court jury about an hour to find our client not guilty of both charges.
This case highlights the importance of hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney, even if the charges appear to be completely bogus. Anybody who objectively reviewed the facts of this case would conclude that our client was improperly charged, as Miguel was clearly the primary aggressor and our client was simply defending himself. However, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office has a well-deserved reputation for refusing to dismiss cases even when it is clear the defendant was wrongly charged. Anybody who is charged with a crime – particularly in Middlesex County – should hire an aggressive criminal attorney to contest the charges.