It was November 17, 1991 around 6:50 or so when I was approached at gun point by two undercover officers and told to turn around and put my hands on top of my head. They were then pulled down behind my back as my rights to remain silent were read to me and being handcuffed at the same time. I remember asking "what is this for?" and I was told "you'll see", as I was being dragged to the backdoor of the unmarked police car. After being put inside of the car I was then driven to what was then called Boston City Hospital, where I was then brought into a room and identified as Sam by the officer to an alleged shooting victim, who in turn stated the words, "that's him?"which was more of a question than a statement.
No photo array, no line up, it was a face to face encounter conducted by the police. The part of this story that has never came to light is that when I was arrested for this shooting I had a receipt along with all the items on that receipt in a bag and the time on that receipt was the same time that the victim said I allegedly committed the shooting. These were also written into my booking sheet because I was allowed to bring them to my cell that night. The next morning I was arraigned on the charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, being a handgun, assault with intent to murder, three counts each, and one count of possession a handgun.
Judge Spurlock ordered me held on $5000 bail and my counsel requested two bail reduction hearings based on the lack of evidence and identification. My bail was reduced to $2500 and I was released that day. Some 37 days later I was indicted on all 7 counts and re-arrested on December 24, 1991. I was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court where my bail was raised to $30,000. Needless to say, my family couldn't make the bail, so with what money they did have they hired attorney Barry P. Wilson to defend me.
His first move to request a bail reduction happened in February of 1992 and was denied due to the prosecutor, Robert Joska, informing the court of a pending indictment against me for an armed robbery arriving soon. To date I am still confused as to who and what. Not to mention, how did I commit an armed robbery? The facts and reports differ from court and police reports. I was summoned to court in October/ November of 1991. This being Roxbury district court, the case was dismissed due to a victim no show. Me being young and unknowledgeable, I relied on what my lawyer, Mr. Wilson told me, which was I had been indicted on those same charges that was dismissed in Roxbury district court. I asked how and I was informed that the district attorney could indict a ham sandwich if he wanted too. I was never given nor did I see any paperwork pertaining to the armed robbery charge in Suffolk superior court. I was denied access to any grand jury minutes and any interviews conducted in regards to these investigations. Counsel's word was all I had and I now sat in county jail awaiting a trial on 8 indictments with a bail of $32,500, because when I got arraigned for the armed robbery charge the judge placed an additional $2500 to the existing bail, that I could not afford to post.
Over the course of 108 days Mr Wilson filed motions pertaining to the assault with intent case and I was told by Mr Wilson that the commonwealth had failed to respond to the motion so the court is calling for a hearing on April 9, 1992, and if the commonwealth doesn't have something to show that I would then be able to seek release. I had a good chance at going home that day, but to my surprise I was not brought to court on April 9, 1992, instead, A.D.A Tochka went to see a different judge, so I was brought into court on the 10th of April, which took me to prison instead of home. Attorney Barry Wilson came to the court cell block and said the witnesses are here and the commonwealth is moving forward with trial today. Also, they just informed him that I was indicted for a shooting involving a guy named Mark Crump. I'm not only lost and confused, but afraid for my life at this point, because now my lawyer who said the charges that I could prove that I was not present for and go home after, was now telling me that I could get 40 to 60 years for, or I could take a plea offer of 15 to 20, which I said no to.
He left the block but came back within minutes and said here's the deal. You are looking at 30 to 40 years for armed robbery and 40 to 60 years for the shooting, not to mention the new indictment you have. Look at your buddy Gary Bon, who just got 30 to 40 years in this same court days before we were having this conversation. He now goes on to say "I got you down to a 10 to 15 year sentence" and the deal is if you take the plea on one case it has to be on them all and if you go to trial on one it has to be on them all. My alleged co-defendants had to plea as well, it was called a global "package plea". My co-defendant David Walker said no to the deal and counsel left again only to return within minutes where my alleged co-defendant David Walker's plea went from 10 to 15 down to 8 to 10 years. Victor Rontas and I went from 10 to 15 down to 10 to 12 years, allegedly due to having more indictments.
We were also told this is it, take it or suit up for trial. Out of duress and utter fear we all took the plea, threats were made and conversations were drowned out by fear. I had a child on the way and made it known that although 10 to 12 years was long, that 30 to 60 would shatter any chance of being a part of my child's life, and Mr. Rontas understood that, because he too had a child on the way, so Mr. Walker did what we asked and or to put it in a better phrase, begged and threatened. So on April 10, 1992 I plead guilty to 11 indictments, 4 counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, 4 counts of assault with intent to rob/murder, 1 count of armed robbery, and 2 counts of possession of a firearm. I was sentenced and sent to M.C.D Walpole, then moved to Concord medium, where I contacted Mr. Wilson and informed him that something wasn't right.
I questioned who were these alleged witnesses and how did he know they were who they said they were? From my knowledge, Mr. Wilson had not spoken to any witnesses, so how would he know what anyone looked like? Needless to say, we went back and forth and Mr. Wilson filed a motion requesting to be removed from the case. I called him and asked him what is the motion for? His reply was due to my family being done with payment and my case being closed. He said nothing else. But a few weeks later I received another motion. This one was a revise and revoke with an affidavit stating that my sentence was illegal and that he had the information. No words or conversation and that was the last I ever heard from him.
In August 1992, I filed a new trial motion and a motion for appointment of counsel. I wanted to ask the court how I got a sentence for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault with intent to rob / murder on the same person? Which charge is it? How is it both? I was confused. I never heard back from the court. Then on April 20, 1993 I was brought back into court and told by attorney John Galvin, that I was there for my new trial motion which made me happy until he said you've been indicted for firing a firearm within yards of a building in connection with your Mr. Crump shooting that I was already sentenced for. He stated, "Here's the deal, you plead guilty today and the commonwealth will run the sentence concurrently retroactive, so you won't do a day over what your already doing, and the commonwealth takes your new trial motion and you don't file anything else in the courts."
So I did and the court gave the 484 days jail credit and I went back to jail as if nothing ever happen. I found out 7 years later that no victim ever testified to any armed robbery charge against me. There was no victim at the grand jury and the commonwealth sentenced me in the absence of an indictment for the Mark Crump shooting. Also, there was no indictment on April 10, 1992, in fact the commonwealth didn't get the indictment until 5 days after I was already sentenced.
I have come to find out that the courts not only falsified an arraignment for the mark crump shooting for July 9, 1992, but they also falsified counsel paperwork and court trips to and from court. John Galvin was not my defense counsel from July 9, 1992 to April 19, 1993. My first meeting with him was on April 20, 1993. I have come to find out that my attorney, Barry P. Wilson, withheld information from me that showed I was not guilty of the Mark Crump shooting. There was a police report written by officer Marilyn Hilton that clearly stated the victim Mark Crump was shot by two people each with a different earlier weapon, height, and weight of both suspects, and no description given matched me. The witness was never brought to the grand jury or turned over to me, nor was any of that information turned over to me before the plea. I was also lead to believe that the armed robbery indictment was based on the alleged witness testimony. When in fact it was based on a police officer's testimony, who was a non-witness and never turned over any paperwork of any alleged investigation and/or any photo array or interviews. I was denied my due process rights of the 14th amendment and right to effective assistance of counsel. To date I have not found a case where anyone is granted jail credit for a case that they were not being held on. I was awarded 484 days jail credit for a crime that I was not in custody for, December 23, 1991. The guilty parties who have all played a part of this wrongful conviction is as follows:
1. Robert Tochka, Assistant District Attorney
2. Jamie Coffey
3. Mary Ames
4. Francis O'Meara
5. Frederick Waggett, Police Officer
6. Robert Merner, Police Officer
7. Barry R. Wilson, ESQ., Defense Counsel
8. John Galvin, ESQ., Defense Counsel
Sam Smith asserts there are many documents related to his litigation and important to his defense that have been "lost".
Review this PDF to see one example.
Stay tuned for more information.