Masked Armed Robbery, Subsequent Offense
Lowell criminal defense attorney Ryan Sullivan represented a man accused of masked armed robbery, attempting to procure perjury, and witness intimidation in the Lowell Superior Court.
The facts alleged by the prosecution and the police were that a man went into a cellphone store armed with a kitchen knife, wearing all black, with a t-shirt covering his face. The client was arrested a mile away running from the store with a large amount of cash in his pocket. One other person was arrested at the same time and told police that Attorney Sullivan’s client was the person who went into the store to commit the robbery. A third person, who was discovered by police a few days later, also stated that Attorney Sullivan’s client was the person who committed the robbery.
Given the charges, if convicted the punish for the most serious offense would be at least ten years in prison and carries the possibility of imprisonment for life.
At trial, Attorney Sullivan attacked the credibility of the two witnesses, who entered cooperation agreements with the prosecution in exchange for a promise not to be charged for their role in the robbery. Attorney Sullivan was able to expose their inconsistent stories, their past (and recent) drug use, their prior convictions, and promises made to them by the police.
Additionally, an eye witness who testified that Attorney Sullivan’s client had the knife on that day admitted on the stand that she mistook Attorney Sullivan for the prosecutor because “her mind played a trick on her.” Knowing that the judge would be instructing the jury as to the problems with any eyewitness identification, Attorney Sullivan was able to elicit this information from the prosecution witness to show the problems with eyewitness identification testimony.
Finally, Attorney Sullivan was able to highlight that crucial DNA and fingerprint evidence collected suggested that it was not Attorney Sullivan’s client who had committed the robbery according to the government’s own witnesses. The item that was alleged to be the mask that was used in the robbery did not contain The client’s DNA, there was a fingerprint on the getaway car that did not match the client’s print, and the store was not tested for prints or DNA analysis.
The trial lasted six days, with five days of testimony from thirteen witnesses called from the government. Attorney Sullivan originally retained the services of an expert in eyewitness identification to assist in the defense (Doctor Ayanna Thomas), but as the case got closer to trial and the theory of defense became more defined, Attorney Sullivan made the strategic decision not to call any witnesses and only attack the government’s evidence. The theory proved well founded and the jury decided the verdict in less than two hours.
Attorney Sullivan’s client was found not guilty of trial of all counts. Attorney Sullivan was there when his client and family were able to embrace in celebration after a long journey ended with a positive result.
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