A 58A Dangerousness Hearing is one of the most powerful tools in the district attorney’s arsenal. Above all, that piece of paper allows the police to hold the defendant in custody. No bail or GPS bracelet. Nothing. A 58A dangerousness motion must be filed at the arraignment. Moreover, the district attorney files this motion if they believe the defendant is a danger to any other person in the community. Certain crimes qualify for 58A. They can be as simple as assault and battery. If a district attorney files a 58A you need to be ready to respond and go on the offensive.
What happens during a 58A hearing?
First, a district attorney has a minimum of three days to prepare for a full evidentiary hearing. The defense can ask for up to seven days. In some cases the defense can ask to hold it longer, for strategic reasons. The minimum three or seven-day delay is to prepare for the full 58A evidentiary hearing.
It is at this hearing that a kind of “mini-trial” takes places. The defense has an opportunity to:
Second, at that hearing, the normal rules of evidence do not apply. Both parties may offer hearsay evidence, as long as it is reliable. Next, the court considers a number of factors to determine what to do if the person is released:
What else happens at a 58A hearing?
Additionally, a judge will make a decision. The defendant will either be:
Lastly, the judge will find:
However, if the judge finds no conditions of release, the defendant is held without bail for a minimum of 120 days. Further, if the judge finds some conditions of release, they will be imposed at that time. They could include:
Finally, there is an appeal process if you are held without bail called a bail review. In other words, this provides a safety valve for a person found to be dangerous or whose release poses a danger to the community.
UPDATE: INCREASE ON DANGEROUSNESS HEARINGS
Read here a Mass Live article where the newspaper investigated the recent trend upward in dangerousness hearings in Massachusetts. The article outlines which counties use the statute more and why the trends have been increasing. As the article states, there are many people that are held on 58A danger holds who go on to be exonerated. Attorney Barabino has first-hand experience of trying cases where the individual was held under the statute only to be fully exonerated by a jury.
IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE 58A DANGEROUSNESS QUESTION, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.
CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.