Man who allegedly drove into South Boston girl declared a menace to society, ordered held for four months

A South Boston Municipal Court judge today declared Richard Higgins of Attleboro "dangerous" and ordered him held without bail for four months, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.

Higgins, who already has four OUI convictions dating to 1962, was arrested Saturday after he allegedly struck a 12-year-old on Old Colony Avenue in South Boston while under the influence of both alcohol and Vicodin.

Judge Michael Bolden ordered Higgins held under a state law that allows somebody to be held without bail if prosecutors can provide "clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community."

Innocent, etc.

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Should be used more often

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... state law that allows somebody to be held without bail if prosecutors can provide "clear and convincing evidence that no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community"

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I dunno....

I kind of like the idea of there being a pretty high bar that the state must meet, before they can lock you up without a trial.

Globe reported she was in

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Globe reported she was in pretty serious condition - fractured pelvis and other injuries. Not leaving the hospital anytime soon.

According to a quote from her mother, she didn't remember the moment of impact but came to confused and screaming.

Ugh. Whoever let this man continue to drive should be ashamed and disgusted.

I dunno

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I can't see how home confinement with GPS monitoring wouldn't do the same thing, without burdening the taxpayers with the cost of keeping someone who has not been found guilty in custody.

On a purely objective level, I don't understand the four month part. I suppose that could be the statutory limit, but how would he be less of a menace 122 days from now?

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Perhaps a bit naive

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But drinking alcohol is no crime. Driving after drinking is, but even if we remove that from the equation, so is driving with a revoked and suspended license, which is the only thing I can see being the justification for dangerousness, in that he was enough of a menace on the road to get his license taken away, yet there he was (allegedly.)

Because he can still drink and drive

That's why he cannot be trusted to go home and wear a GPS bracelet.

Would you be making this case if he had stabbed a random 9 year old several times after having been convicted of similar crimes before?

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GPS is used in similar situations

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How many violent criminals do we read about thanks to Gaffin's snooping of crime reports in which the accused was caught thanks in no small part to wearing their GPS while awaiting trial? Guys with weapons charges and sexual assault charges.

So yeah, I might make the case, or to put it another way, taking the alcohol based charge out of the equation (which I don't think are bad, but they muddy the comparison) how many people facing A&B with a deadly weapon do you think are granted some kind of bail, including home confinement? More than you'd like to think.

Again, the goal of bail is not punishment. Punishment will come (assuming the story we've heard is proven in a court of law.)

Tried everything

The Judge is saying the State already tried everything else, and believes "no conditions of release will reasonably assure the safety of any other person or the community."

In other words, GPS will work just fine - until, once again, it shows him going 60 in a 30. And by that time maybe kids are dead.

This isn't a normal 'could have happened to anyone' accident. The car he hit - so hard that he broke the axle on his truck, lost a wheel, and then kept going for half a block - was parked.

After that car, he hit a second car, struck the girl in a crosswalk, struck a third car fifty yards on, and traveled another 500 yards before the car stopped. This is not a fender-bender, oops I'll pull over.

I'm really okay with this guy staying in. Thanks, Judge.

Prior failure to keep other dangerous criminals locked up is no excuse not to keep this one in the pen.

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He isn't in jail as punishment

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He isn't in jail due to "bail" either.

HE IS IN JAIL BECAUSE HE IS DANGEROUS TO SOCIETY, WHICH WAS DETERMINED AT A SPECIAL COURT HEARING WITH A JUDGE PRESIDING.

You are completely dim about this - how many OUIs do you have?

I don't drink

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And I grasp the process that is going on.

My point is that the danger he poses to society stems from his driving habits. There are ways to ensure that he does not drive during the pretrial period, including home confinement. I mean, are you completely dim about this?

Look below, people charged with murder and attempted murder are given bail.

Uhh, no

...the danger he poses to society stems from his driving habits.

No, the danger stems from his drinking habits. Unless you have information that he drives like a maniac when he's sober, it's when he gets drunk that he becomes dangerous. An ankle bracelet won't alert that he's drunk, only that he's left home. By the time the cops catch up to him, he could have drunkenly slammed into any number of cars or people.

I disagree

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Unless there is evidence of him bring violent when he is drunk and not in a car, I would say that the driving element is the dangerous part.

I mean, obviously the issue is when he drinks then gets behind the wheel, but removing his ability to get behind the wheel does make society safer than if we just remove his ability to drink. In theory, he can get blackout drunk in his home and we are okay, so the driving part seems to be the worst for the rest of us.

But you're not doing that

By putting a monitor on him and "confining" him to his house, you're not actually preventing him from driving, or from drinking, either. Unless you post a guard outside his house to stop him from leaving, he can leave, and even drive, until they catch up to him. If you do put a guard on his house, you've re-invented a facility we already have. It's called jail, and that's where he is. Jail removes his ability to either drink or drive. Your proposal does neither.

I'll argue this way

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If he leaves his house, he violates bail conditions and is off to jail. At least in theory, he would be motivated to stay home so he could do things like eat home cooked meals and have visitors that don't have to be screened before coming in. Heck, he could spend the whole pretrial period blotto drunk, so why wouldn't he abide?

And if he does leave the house with his GPS bracelet

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what is the probability he will be picked up by the police before he injures or kills somebody? Given his past record, I'm not comfortable with taking that risk simply to save tax dollars. The judge got it right.

There are times when protecting society in general outweighs infringing on the rights of the individual. This is clearly one of those times.

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Honestly

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You're right, but I love a good argument.

I still say, though, that of the two the driving part is worse than the drinking. Put them together, a different story altogether.

Unless he's driving inside

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Unless he's driving inside his house, the gps bracelet would alert officials as soon as he started driving, whether he was drunk or not.

And then

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He plows into somebody at the end of the driveway before anyone can get to him to pull him over.

Look, I know prisons are overcrowded with people who shouldn't be there, but there's no reason for this guy to ever take a breath outside of one again.

No one really monitors those

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No one really monitors those ankle bracelets in real time. There isn't some guy in a room watching the screen for all ankle monitors. If you violate the perimeter, there is a system notification and maybe the next day or the next, the issue gets addressed.

I agree with Waquiot, 78 year old drunk driver should be on GPS

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D.A. Dan Conley's office allowed an obviously guilty (caught on camera) foreign born, serial armed bank robber to plead guilty to "pickpocket" to avoid deportation and serve just nine months. On release, and escaping deportation thanks to Conley's "364 day" sweetheart deal, the bank robber committed the brutal murders of two South Boston doctors. Yet in a case only blocks and months away, Conley puts a 78 year-old behind bars for traffic violations before he has been found guilty? Double standard or shameless pandering? Mostly silence from the dutiful media on the absurdity.

If guilty, the elderly man should be severely punished but as I mentioned before, references to the 1960's conviction and anything prior to Melanie's Law in 2005 should be placed in proper context. Prior to Melanie's Law, it was cheaper and more reasonable for many OUI defendants to take a guilty and small fine than pay big money to a defense lawyer to fight the case, believing the guilty plea wouldn't count after ten years. Worse, many took a Continued Without a Finding (CWOF) after being told that the case would be dismissed after six months! Melanie's Law changed all of that so everything counts, even if defendants prior to 2005 were assured it wouldn't.

Also curious that a lot of hype was made of this 78 year-old losing a wheel but when that happened on a huge DPW truck in Plainville today it was dismissed as a "bad wheel bearing." Further, it's odd that the child in this case was hit by a car twice in less than a month. Bad luck or something worth looking into?

You're not helping

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But I will see your non-sequitor with this, the case of Tyshawn Cummings.

In December of 2013, Mr. Cummings was involved in a shooting that was witnessed by a Boston Police Officer.

In December of 2016, while wearing the GPS fitted as bail conditions for that crime, he graduated to murder.

The point being that GPS is used a lot. That said, I am assuming he is in Nashua Street as I type this, murder being one of those crimes where one usually doesn't get bail.

Dude you are twisted

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Are you seriously implying it's her fault, or that she purposefully got injured for some reason, she is 12. I'm a frequent reader here so I know you are a worthless troll, but to insinuate that a child who was severely injured by a drunk is at fault is pretty damn low. Even for you. Keep up the good work fish. That's some shameful sh*t.

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It should be odd that she was

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It should be odd that she was hit by drivers twice but it isn't in Boston where studies have shown the worst drivers in the nation are. Add in people with 4 OUI's living free instead of in prison where they should be and you end up with a disgusting amount of violence perpetrated by drivers.

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it should be odd?

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The first accident happened on the way to a fair in Brockton. The second as she was crossing a street in a crosswalk where she was mowed down by a drunk. There is nothing odd or suspect about that. Only for those looking to see something odd and suspect because they want to pin blame on a 12 year old for being hit by a drunk. What could possibly be worth looking into? The only possible thing worth looking into is why a guy who took 3 Vicodin pills and drank a few beers was on the fucking road in the first place. Stop this madness, it is not her fault in anyway, and not odd. It is disgusting to imply that in any way.

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Right?! I'm close to getting

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Right?! I'm close to getting hit at 3 times a week on the crosswalk near my home. It is not odd at all. One driver had the audacity to blame my black pants and that he couldn't see me not the fact that he's flying down east 8th street doing 50.

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Clarification

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I should have been more clear in my comments about oddness. I was appalled by the earlier statement from fish "Further, it's odd that the child in this case was hit by a car twice in less than a month. Bad luck or something worth looking into?" And should have more closely read kinopio's comment, which I agree with it should be odd and should have better titled my comment. To be clear when I say there is nothing odd or suspect about this I am expressly referring to the fact that the child is in no way responsible for what happened to her, just because she happened to be involved in an earlier accident, as fish seemed to suggest. Which is not to say I disagree with you, but my focus was on the audacity of a statement that suggests she was somehow responsible.