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Lowell Superior Court / Marlborough District Court

April 2019

Attorney Sullivan represented a woman who was on probation for larceny over $250 (the law has now changed so that it would larceny over $1,200 today) who was previously placed on probation for the crime of taking over $2,000 worth of items from a local department store. The woman was placed on probation for three years, but unfortunately within a few weeks of being placed on probation, she was accused of two new offenses for shoplifting. As a result of picking up the new offense, the probation department sought that she be detained (or otherwise held without bail) pending a hearing on whether she did violate her probation. Given the circumstances, the client was taken into custody. While in jail, family members reached out to Attorney Sullivan asking him to take the case. Since there had been some delay between when she was initially held and when the family contacted Attorney Sullivan, her prior attorney and the probation department had discussed possible outcomes. Everyone expected that the judge would impose a lengthy jail sentence because of the new offenses.

Attorney Sullivan worked with his client, gathered records of her mental health treatment, spoke to her husband and her adult children, and was able to compile several different records from her psychiatrist, treating physician, and other professionals relating to her substance-abuse and mental-health treatment. Attorney Sullivan also took over the new charges of shoplifting in the Marlborough District Court, in order to try and reach a complete resolution for all charges facing his client.

The new offenses pending in Marlborough with her prior attorney resulted in the judge stating that he would be imposing a lengthy jail sentence if the client agreed to plead guilty. With that in mind, Attorney Sullivan sought to handle the probation violation hearing in Superior Court first, where the maximum penalty was five years in state prison. The prosecutors and probation apartment were asking for a sentence of close to the maximum, since the client had a past history of similar offenses. Attorney Sullivan submitted a lengthy memorandum with exhibits, making out a case for why jail time was not appropriate. What Attorney Sullivan conveyed to the judge was that his client had never had an attorney look into her history of childhood trauma which led to her medical diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and kleptomania. Attorney Sullivan was able to show that when his client was on her medication, she was able to control her impulses (essentially if she was unmedicated, she would take items that she didn’t even need simply because of a past mental health disorder that had gone largely untreated her entire adult life). The Lowell Superior Court Judge kept her on probation with increased mental health treatment. This paved the way for her to be released from custody if she received a similar result in Marlborough.

Armed with this first victory, Attorney Sullivan updated his memorandum and explained to the Marlborough District Court (which has a maximum penalty of only two and a half years in the house of correction), that his client’s exposure, if she was found in violation of her superior court probation in the future far exceeded what the punishment that could be given for this case. After a lengthy argument, the judge accepted the defense recommendation and Attorney Sullivan’s client was released from custody and reunited with her toddler and infant daughters, her husband, and her adult children.

Not every case can end in a dismissal or not guilty verdict. This client’s previous attorneys believed she would be sentenced to a long jail term. This case is a victory because despite that concern, with hard work and a compelling argument, the client was reunited with her family. She was given the opportunity to pursue mental health treatment that she needs in order to avoid any future shoplifting or theft offenses. The prosecutors had a strong case against her with video and other evidence. This case was a success because the client got an outcome that allowed her to continue living her life.

All cases are different and not all results can be the same. What might be a good outcome for you could be a terrible result for another person. Attorney Sullivan often speaks with his clients and potential clients about the differences in favorable outcomes for each person. Having a conversation with a lawyer who is willing to work any possible avenues to achieve the desired result can make a huge difference in your case. If you want to speak with Ryan Sullivan anytime, call or text (617) 997-7597 or e-mail him today.

Client Reviews

Great lawyer he has helped my family immensely. Very capable and dedicated. A lawyer who actually cares and an all around good person.


Ryan Sullivan is a very knowledgeable attorney. He is one of my go-to professionals when I am seeking insight on more complicated criminal matters. Without any reservations, he has my vote of confidence.

Ilya Liviz

Attorney Ryan Sullivan is professional, knowledgeable and compassionate.

Millie Cardello

My mom was involved in a horrible accident and we eventually found out she needed a lawyer. We had no idea who to contact and a mutual acquaintance recommended Attorney Ryan Sullivan. After our first meeting with Ryan we knew he was the attorney for our case. His communication and knowledge...

Heather R.

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