Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Justice Delayed

Soksot Chham Eastern Hampshire District Court Monday morning

I was a little surprised on Monday morning to see a familiar face in the District Court lock up, which is a more secure area used to present alleged criminals to the judges for arraignment or other procedural matters.

In this case Soksot Chham, brother of Soknang Chham who has been indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Joselito Rodriguez, was standing before Judge Thomas Estes for what is known as a "bindover hearing," something I'm told is rather rare these days in District Court.

According to the DA's office:

A bindover hearing is also sometimes called a probable cause hearing and yes, it is an evidentiary hearing to determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe the defendant has committed the alleged crime.  If probable cause is found then the case is “bound over” to the Superior Court. 
The Commonwealth had simply asked Judge Estes for a "continuance" because there had been some problems gathering evidence from Arizona authorities who had originally arrested the brothers.

Of course what got my attention is in his brief presentation Mr. Chham's lawyer suggested the state's time is up and he closed with a request the case against his client be "dismissed."

Judge Estes acknowledged the law concerning this situation is not overly clear but he did ascertain that he could allow one -- and only one -- continuance, so he continued the bindover hearing to February 28th.

Judge Estes felt the need for the delay was not the Commonwealth's fault and that the Chham bothers had help create the situation by running to Arizona immediately after the incident.

But as the players all started to leave the ever affable Judge seemed to suggest he would not see them again, thus telegraphing a likelihood the Commonwealth will bring that evidence to a grand jury for an indictment prior to February 28th thus sending the case to Superior Court.

The wheels of justice turn slowly but as a result they usually get it right.  And the occasional bad guy who goes free on a technicality is the (small) price we pay for living in our free society.  


Dr. Ed said...

Prediction: He will go free on "speedy trial" and "due process" grounds. It'll go to the SJC but racism will be drawn in here.

That presumes he's even convicted -- if I'm not mistaken, the state has to prove that he knew his brother was a fugitive from justice and/or he helped destroy evidence, etc.

There was no public notice he was wanted, rumors were running wild, and we STILL don't know what was really behind all of this. Can you prove he didn't tell his brother that he claimed to be fleeing for his life, would be the next victim?

So AZ authorities find him with his brother, who has a warrant out on him. That ALONE is not a crime, or Billy Bulger would be in jail.

Dr. Ed said...

On a related matter, isn't some of Amherst's public safety budget Homeland Security money? Amherst just lost it due to sanctury city status...

Anonymous said...

Ed, please crawl back under the rock that you live under in Maine.

Anonymous said...

I think we need to remember that a dastardly crime was committed here-substance abuse related murder/ terrorism-many people have to live in fear of drug crime related violence-everyday-every way-kinda like the ex Greenfield police chief who hid the hit & run DEI drunk driver whose crash crippled me for life-sabotage of justice for a crime IS a violent crime that endangers society by promoting criminality and depriving us of any hope justice will be done- knowing obstruction is tantamount to murder for victims/ society-that are denied due protection from further violence !!!?@&$$$

Anonymous said...

Your comment that the justice system gets it right most of the time is far from supported by facts.

Pot....drunk drivers in your next post....USA is more of a prison state than China

They are trying, but they do not even catch 50% of murderers or rapists and then they wrongfully convict 1 out of 25 of those. We all know it is easier, safer and more profitable to go after speeders and petty crimes.

Statistically most crimes, even most violent crimes, are not solved. This means more murders are free than are locked up folks. We lock up 1-2 kids per classroom within 10 years of them getting out of school.

At least it is far safer today to let your kid go out and play alone vs. the 60s, 70s and 80s. Another fact folks get backwards.

Anonymous said...

As a crippled for life victim of a hit & run DWI drunk driver-who basically got off free with just a mere token 300 hours of pooper scooper " Community service" while my body-life 8 years in abusive nursing home-also staffed by in-sympathetic substance abusers-fired on the spot drunk-and loss of ny family fortune-homestead-right to get married-have kids-and I- not the perp-had my right to drive permanently stolen-J have come to vastly appreciate the abusive and lackadaisical attitude our culture-hence the system-takes toward enforcing violent substance abuse related crime.I guess-The states now legal pot for example.drugs are without the perception of consequence to the populist masses-our bad-everything can change in an instance.....should some inebriate destroy your life-like mine !!!???@&$$$$

Anonymous said...

Society does not think drugs are without consequence ....society has decided that the consequence is worth it....good or bad. I think that drugs are more a part of human nature, have been part of our lives way longer than driving and will be around way after. Sorry you got hurt, but it was one person that did that to you, not society or policy. We all know the risks when we get in the car or even go near the roads...and kids get driven around for no reason all the time, risk accepted. Roads are 2x as safe as 20 years ago, half the accidents per we are doing much, much better than just a few years back.

Anonymous said...

Time to do your homework-it is sad such deficits of reasonable introspection are so readily apparent to all walks of life..Hmmmmm !!!

Dr. Ed said...

November, December, January.

It's been damn near three full months and we haven't been told what it is he allegedly did. That's what Monday's hearing was about, a basic civil right.
Yes, I believe he belongs in jail, but protecting his civil rights protects ours.

Let's go down the list: In addition to this unspecified crime, we have:

1: No explanation for the shooting itself.

2: No arrests of the other Ninjas in the hatchet attack.

3: No arrests of the victim/drug dealers.

4: No arrest of the driver of the truck that took out the bus stop.

All we have is a slick DA who says nothing and orders cops to do likewise.

Dr. Ed said...

And Larry, other than being Irish, how is he better than the last one?