State and Federal Cases

Federal Criminal Defense Cases

Attorney Jack Cunha won two separate RICO trials in Federal District Court, Boston. In one, he successfully challenged the government’s claim that the groups involved constituted organized crime. He also successfully challenged use of the “ballistics” evidence, severely limiting the prosecution’s use it. Verdict – not guilty.
+++++In the second case, Attorney Cunha also argued 1) that the “group” was too disorganized to constitute a criminal enterprise, and 2) his client was not involved, no matter what. Verdict – not guilty.

Attorney Cunha represented a Singapore native charged in Federal District Court, Boston, with trafficking. A large Chinese vase filled with heroin had been delivered to his house. Attorney Cunha developed evidence that his client angered powerful international drug kingpins, who retaliated by sending him the vase, knowing he would be prosecuted and subject to decades in federal prison. Verdict – not guilty.

State Criminal Defense Cases

In the so-called Mattapan Massacre case, a widely publicized multiple-victim murder case in Suffolk Superior Court, Boston, Attorney Cunha represented one of two defendants. During a seven week trial, the defense demonstrated that the Commonwealth’s chief witness was untrustworthy and likely to have committed the crime himself. Verdict – not guilty.

In a first degree murder trial in Suffolk Superior Court, Boston, Attorney Cunha represented a young man charged with shooting multiple people. A different defendant had originally been convicted of the crime, but he was released when the prosecution decided to rely on a new statement from a witness who claimed to have been a participant in the shooting. Jack attacked the Commonwealth’s new witness using cross-examination and other evidence developed by investigation. Verdict – not guilty.

Rrepresenting our client on appeal from a second degree murder conviction in Bristol Superior Court, Fall River, Attorney Cunha filed a Motion for New Trial. During a five-day evidentiary hearing, Jack presented new evidence that our client had not been competent during the trial. The trial judge ordered a new trial.

The wife of one of Attorney Holcomb’s dvorce clients accused him of assaulting her during a custody transfer their young child. After Attorney Cunha successfully defended the client against the criminal charges in Boston Municipal Court, Attorney Holcomb resolved the highly contentious divorce with continued unsupervised parenting time and a satisfactory division of the assets. Verdict – not guilty.

Attorney Cunha’s client was charged with assault and battery on two different people in two different courts. After trial in each case, one in Taunton District Court and one in Dorchester District Court, Attorney Cunha’s cross-examination of the alleged victims revealed ulterior motives behind the allegations. Verdict, both cases – not guilty.

Drunk Driving/OUI

Our client was arrested outside his home and charged with OUI and leaving the scene of an accident in Cambridge District Court. He took a breath test, which indicated a blood alcohol level of .24 percent. At trial, we successfully argued that the prosecution could not prove that our client had actually driven while impaired, nor that he fled the scene of an accident. Verdict – not guilty.

In Framingham District Court, our client was charged with drunk driving after failing a breathylizer test. Using a combination of expert testimony and attack on the credibility of the arresting police officer, Attorney Cunha asserted the breath test reading resulted from illness, not alcohol. Verdict – not guilty.

Leaving the Scene of an Accident after Causing Personal Injury

In Hingham District Court, our client was charged with driving to endanger and leaving the scene of an accident after causing personal injury, a very serious offense. Attorney Cunha investigated thoroughly. He discovered that 1) the complaining witness and friends had been jumping off high rocks earlier into shallow water; 2) the complaining witness was playing sports incompatible with the supposed injuries; and 3) the layout of the scene cast doubt on the claims made against his client. Using these facts, as well as photographs and diagrams of the area, Jack effectively cross-examined the complaining witnesses and friends of the complaining witness. Verdict – not guilty.


Jack began representing our client, who was charged in federal District Court, Boston, with “carrying” a firearm in an automobile trunk. Jack fought the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court. A narrowly divided Court decided 5-4 that having a gun in the trunk of a car counted as “carrying” the firearm for purposes of the relevant federal statute. Muscarello v. United States, 524 U.S. 125 (1998).

In a case where the defendant was alleged by the government to have four predicate Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) offenses, Attorney Cunha convinced the trial court that ACCA did not apply, and received a sentence well under the minimum mandatory 15 years, and far less than the approximately 22 years the government was seeking.

In the appeal of a defendant convicted of the murder of a police officer, Attorney Cunha secured a new trial in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). Commonwealth v. Patterson, 432 Mass. 767 (2000). Thereafter, preparing for the new trial in Boston, Suffolk Superior Court, Jack challenged the fingerprint evidence that allegedly placed our client on the scene. In a second appeal to the SJC, Jack persuaded the SJC that the evidence was unreliable and inadmissible. Commonwealth v. Patterson, 445 Mass. 626 (2005). Our client was saved from a life sentence without parole.

Representing a defendant appealing from entry of a permanent 209A restraining order issued in Concord District Court, Attorney Hope convinced the Appeals Court that there is no right to a permanent order based solely on a previous restraining order having been issued. The Appeals Court vacated the order. The trial court then dismissed the case. Jones v. Gallagher, 54 Mass. App. Ct. 883 (2002).