Dorchester murder witness put in jail for refusing to testify could face more jail time, court rules

A man thrown in jail for refusing to testify against four men charged with murdering a teenager in 2007 can be tried for contempt of court and face additional jail time, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled today.

Admilson Vizcaino would not face double jeopardy on contempt charges because the judge in the 2010 trial never formally entered her decision to jail him during the trial as a "sentence" in the court docket, the state's highest court ruled.

In 2008, Vizcaino, then 16, was one of five people indicted for the stabbing death of Terrance Jacobs at Blue Hill Avenue and Wilcock Street the year before.

Prosecutors dismissed the case against Vizcaino after realizing that he was a witness, not a participant, but then subpoenaed him to testify at the trial of the remaining four defendants. When he refused, citing the Fifth Amendment, prosecutors agreed to grant him immunity from any prosecution.

But then he still refused to testify, citing possible threats to himself and his family. The judge put him in jail for the duration of the trial and said prosecutors should bring a formal contempt charge against him, which they did.

The four men were convicted of second-degree murder.

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Comments

anon

reading comprehension failure?

Prosecutors dismissed the case against Vizcaino after realizing that he was a witness, not a participant

If you're poor and live in the city, it's kind of hard to not bump into the murdered buddies still out on the streets.

Checking the body count in Dorchester, BPD isn't exactly good at preventing murders either. If you don't feel safe in your community and don't fell the cops can protect you, why are you going to stick your neck and your families out for... justice?

That's a utter failure of the state and BPD right there.

The Dead Kid's Family

surely appreciates these excuses.

The decision says this trial was at least five weeks long. Sounds like a lot of other people stuck their necks out ... for justice.

chicken-egg problem

Easy to say from the comfort behind a computer screen and living in a good neighborhood. Harder to do when you know BPD can't be everywhere and know sticking you head out is a bad idea.

Southie was that way in the past. It's much better now. Took a lot of work on both sides, and included a not so perfect FED involvement that's still being debated and dealt with.

I know

But it has to start somewhere...

And wait, I thought Allston was a "dangerous" neighborhood. At least all the suburbanites keep telling me this...

correct answer

"the city"

aka, "not the suburb town I live in" :)

We got it good in Boston in the 21st century, but there's still some trouble spots that need community rebuilding and lots of attention. Unfortunately the response is usually sweeping things under the rug, unlike when a grandmother in Southie is killed in a freak crime and all hell comes down.

The bad areas of Boston need to hold their pols feet to the fire to ensure the same sort of firestorm happens in their neighborhoods. Apathy breeds complacency and crime moves in.