SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 28, 2014

Woman gets probation for lying about baby's injuries

(Continued)

Defense attorney Sam Gates said Rodriguez, a young single mother, was “pressured” by her boyfriend and made the wrong choice. “Lying to the police is wrong,” Gates acknowledged. “She did so in the face of pressure from an individual who is not of the highest character.”

Jose Rodriguez is currently in custody on unrelated drug charges; his attorney said his case on charges of lying to police in connection with the incident is still pending.

But a felony conviction for Lidia Rodriguez would have “disastrous” consequences, Gates argued. She would lose her subsidized housing. And while she hopes to return to working as a teacher’s aide, the pending case has already posed an obstacle, he said.

Instead, Gates asked Lauranzano to impose a continuation without a finding in the case and then dismiss it after a period of probation and mental health counseling.

The judge told the lawyers and Rodriguez that he’d make a decision after lunch, then decided to impose a guilty finding and a year of probation, with conditions that include counseling and compliance with any conditions set by the DCF.

But the decision may not be final. Rodriguez’s attorney spoke to the judge out of earshot of the rest of the courtroom. Then, as Gates walked back toward his client, Lauranzano advised him to make sure he files his request within 60 days.

That is the time frame during which a lawyer may file a motion asking a judge to change a sentence or change a guilty finding to a continuation without a finding, something known as a “revise and revoke.”

“Mark it up anytime,” the judge said. “Just make sure you file that within 60 days.”

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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