Posts tagged "Unitt"

Commonwealth v. Unitt (and six companion cases) (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-017-17)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030;   16-P-29                                         Appeals Court   COMMONWEALTH  vs.  PETER J. UNITT, THIRD (and six companion cases[1]).     No. 16-P-29.   Middlesex.     December 7, 2016. – February 28, 2017.   Present:  Cypher, Maldonado, & Blake, JJ.   Bail.  Forfeiture Proceeding.  Practice, Criminal, Restitution.  Restitution.     Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on September 23, 2010.   A bail forfeiture proceeding was had before Sandra L. Hamlin, J.     Dennis M. Toomey for Peter J. Unitt, III. James E. McCall for Lee Peck Unitt. Melissa Weisgold Johnsen, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.     BLAKE, J.  The married defendants, Peter J. Unitt, III (Peter), and Lee Peck Unitt (Lee), jointly operated a law office in Woburn prior to their arraignment on numerous crimes related to the theft and embezzlement of their clients’ funds.[2]  Their adult children, Jade Unitt (Jade) and Peter Unitt, IV (Peter, IV), posted bail on their behalf.[3]  Neither defendant defaulted, and each subsequently was convicted of a subset of the charged crimes.  This appeal presents the question whether, where no default occurred, a judge of the Superior Court had the authority to order that the bail posted on the defendants’ behalf be forfeited and applied toward the restitution they owed.  Because we conclude that under the circumstances presented by this case, the judge did not have such authority, we reverse the order of forfeiture. Background.  On October 18, 2010, both Peter and Lee were arraigned on multiple indictments in the Superior Court, at which time bail was set at $ 50,000 cash for each defendant.  On December 9, 2010, Jade, the defendants’ adult daughter, posted bail on behalf of Lee and was named as surety on the recognizance.  On February 16, 2011, Peter, IV, the defendants’ adult son, posted bail on behalf of Peter and was named as surety on the recognizance.  Both recognizance forms, which are identical, warn the surety of the risk of forfeiting the money posted for bail if the defendant defaults, but list no other potential risks of forfeiture. Between their arraignments in 2010, and their convictions in 2013, each of the defendants appeared for court as required under the recognizances, thereby satisfying the conditions of their bail.  In April of 2013, a jury convicted Lee of four counts of larceny and one count of embezzlement.  Thereafter, the judge adjudicated her […]


Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm

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