Criminal Defense

Bomber Pal’s Lawyer Seeks to Toss Conviction for Lying (Boston Herald)

“The lawyer of Boston Marathon bomber pal Robel Phillipos argues his conviction for lying to the FBI should be tossed out because an agent coerced his confession by preying on hair-trigger emotions about the father he never knew. ´Your father would be proud. Do the right thing,´ the agent allegedly taunted Phillipos until he burst into tears during an interview five days after the April 15, 2013, terrorist attack, when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was still a 
fugitive, according to Phillipos’ 117-page federal appellate brief filed Friday by his attorney Derege B. Demissie.”

26 Face Drug, Gambling Charges (

“A series of federal indictments has charged 26 people with working for organized crime groups in Chinatown, selling drugs such as ecstasy, sending prostitutes across state lines, money laundering, and illegal gambling.  In a sworn statement released yesterday, FBI agent Thomas Conboy said the long-term investigation into the alleged crime ring has so far resulted in the seizure of $340,000, 13 guns, about 13,000 suspected oxycodone pills, and ´extensive evidence’ of illegal gambling and prostitution. ´There are a number of people involved,’ Demissie said. ´Somehow he was swept up in the charges.’” …more

New Trial Ordered in the Killing that Ignited Bloody Civil War in Cape Verdean Community (Boston Globe)

“Lopes was paroled from state prison on Aug. 6, 2015, according to the state Department of Correction. His appellate attorney, Derege B. Demissie, said he regretted the order for a new trial came only after Lopes has served a ´significant’ amount of time behind bars. ´This is a really good example of why courts should give serious consideration for a stay [of a prison sentence] pending appeal,’ Demissie said. The ruling ´´sends a clear message that court convenience never trumps a defendant’s right to a public trial.’” …more

Massive Mortgage Fraud Case Ends (Boston Globe)

The scheme — one of the largest mortgage fraud prosecutions in state history — involved inflated purchase prices, “straw buyers,’’ and phony documentation that defrauded 10 mortgage lenders and led to a swath of abandoned and foreclosed homes in South Boston, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Quincy, Hyde Park, and Cohasset….Appolon’s lawyer, Derege B. Demissie of Cambridge, said he plans to file an appeal, arguing that some of the fraudulent loan documents attributed to his client were created and submitted by others. …more

Litigious Lessor Loses a Big Case (

“FTC, class-action suits have targeted aggressive policies of office equipment lender.  Idorenyin E. Akpaffiong , a Nigerian immigrant who sells skin care products, thought she could boost sales with a machine that accepts credit card payments. She never thought the $700 machine would land her in court, damage her credit rating, and saddle her with a debt of more than $3,000.” …more

A Trinidadian Man Wins Immigration Case after Felony Conviction in the First Circuit Court of Appeals

The INS charged Herbert with being subject to removal from the United States under 8 U.S.C. § 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii) on the grounds that he had been convicted of an aggravated felony and sentenced to at least a year in prison…here the agency acted arbitrarily and capriciously in denying the motion to reopen.   The circumstances in this case were in fact exceptional. …Accordingly, we grant the petition, vacate the denial of the motion to reopen, and remand to the agency with directions that Herbert be permitted to present his claims for cancellation of removal. …more

The Stomper Has Another Day in Court, But Jury Can’t Decide (

Dennis Connolly, 53, is a self-described street alcoholic with a felony record for beating others – including fellow homeless people – and then coming back to commit further brutality after a stint behind bars.  City Weekly dubbed him the Boston Stomper in a 2005 story that chronicled his violent exploits, particularly his habit of kicking his victims.  On the count of assault with a dangerous weapon in the episode of the box cutter, the jury declared itself “hopelessly deadlocked” and unable to come to a verdict. Connolly’s lawyer, Derege Demissie, says he argued that his client did not wave the box cutter menacingly but merely produced it after the clerk asked him what else he had on him. …more