Ex-Wife Has Ken Newell Arrested Again By Holbrook, Brockton Police
Police Violate Law by Arresting Without Probable Cause
By Ed Oliver, Massachusetts News, October 16, 2001
|Ken Newell stands in chains and handcuffs after spending two nights in filthy Brockton jail because he wants to see his children.|
Even though his ex-wife has mental problems and has filed 26 frivolous charges of violence against Ken Newell over the past three years, the Brockton and Holbrook police arrested him again over the weekend after more spurious charges from his former wife.
The police in both towns know about the false reports that the wife has filed and about the courts psychiatric report which says she has mental problems.
Newell spent Saturday and Sunday night in jail before being released yesterday on his own recognizance.
This is a classic case of an unlawful arrest where the police had no probable cause to arrest, said Atty. J. Edward Pawlick, publisher of Massachusetts News.
A federal judge in Boston held last year that a policeman must carefully investigate whether there is probable cause before arresting a man who is accused by his wife of violating a restraining order.
Obviously, that was not done here by either police department or by the judge who held the probable cause hearing. This state judge cannot be sued even though his conduct borders on scandalous. But the police can, said Atty. Pawlick.
What caused Ken Newell to be thrown into a filthy jail cell for two days?
He is allowed to visit his children every Thursday and every other Saturday at a visitation center in Brockton. On that Saturday, he was to arrive at the center 15 minutes before 9 a.m. and park behind the building. He enters the building when an employee opens the back door and signals him.
The former wife is supposed to arrive with the children at 9 a.m., park in front of the building and enter through the front door.
The children get transferred to a room in the rear of the building to join with their father. The woman is supposed to wait there while Newell leaves with the children.
|Newell stands in front of the Brockton police department where he was kept in a filthy jail cell for two days even though the police knew about his wife's mental problems.||Newell points to spot on other side of fence where ex-wife was parked although she was supposed to be in the front of the building.|
According to Newell, on Saturday morning, October 13, he arrived at the Brockton visitation center at twenty minutes to nine. Another gentleman arrived a few minutes later and they stood waiting in the lot discussing flag stickers on their trucks.
Then a girl came to the back door and opened it, so we had to go in, said Newell.
As we were walking up to the door, on my left hand side, there is another parking lot about thirty feet away divided from us by a six foot high chain link security fence.
My ex-wife pulled into that parking lot, then all of a sudden backed up fast because she saw me. Then she stopped. I looked and gave a smile to my daughter. Then we walked into the building.
Newell waited inside until five past nine. The woman came out and said, Your kids didnt want to go with you. Youre going to have to wait here an additional ten minutes for the wife and kids to drive away.
He waited for ten minutes and then she said he could go, says Newell.
The rest of Newells morning and afternoon, he says, was filled with business paperwork and various errands. Newell then went to a friends restaurant where he did some work.
At quarter to five, as Newell left the restaurant, two Holbrook police cruisers drove up and blocked his vehicle.
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Newell says police informed him that he was under arrest for violation of 209A (restraining order) because he saw his wife at the visitation center.
Newell told the police he did not violate the order. He said he was at the center for the visitation and the former wife arrived early and parked in the wrong lot.
According to the police report, the employees at the visitation center agreed with Newells story. The report says, Victim Catherine was not parked in the correct parking lot.
The former wife told police that when she drove up, she saw Newell put his hands in his pockets and give her a penetrating, mean looking stare. She also complained he was six to nine feet away from her when he should be one hundred yards away.
The daughter agreed that Newell made a face, according to police. Newell explained that his former wife tries to alienate his children from him and tells their daughter what to say, a common complaint among divorced fathers without custody.
According to the police report, the former wife was upset when she went into the visitation center. She asked two employees to keep Newell there for twenty minutes while she drove away to call the police. She also told them to tell Newell that the children did not want to visit with him today.
Newell was kept at the Brockton police station from Saturday through to Monday. There was blood on the walls and floor in the holding cell. He was told the previous occupant smashed his head on the wall and was bleeding. Nobody cleaned up the mess.
The cell was very filthy. There was urine on the walls, spit on the walls, plus the blood and everything else. The toilet reeked. There were ants floating around on the floor and I slept on a hard wooden board, said an unshaven Newell after he was released.
Attorney Chester Darling told MassNews he had sought relief on Saturday from the weekend judge, who is available on weekends for women seeking help on restraining orders. He learned that the judge helps only women, but not men.
Darling, through the state police barracks at Middleboro, said he sought to explain to Judge Diana L. Maldonado about the ex-wifes history of abusing the court system. But was informed by state police that Judge Maldonado would not call him.
Newell stood with his hands and feet shackled at his arraignment Monday in Brockton District Court. He was released on his own recognizance and his case was continued until Nov. 30.
The federal judge who held last year that a policeman could be liable for doing what the Brockton and Holbrook police did to Ken Newell was Judge Edward F. Harrington.
The facts in Newells case appear to be stronger for the father than they were in JudgeHarringtons case.
The policeman there argued to Judge Harrington that he had followed Massachusetts law. He claimed he had investigated the case thoroughly and had good reason to arrest the plaintiff because he had obtained a copy of the restraining order, researched the law, consulted with both his supervisor, Sgt. Robert Nochnuck, and the clerk magistrate of the Lawrence District Court, Keith E. McDonough, before issuing a warrant for the arrest of the plaintiff.
However, the father-plaintiff, James Nollet, argued that under a 1991 opinion, Lewis v. Kendrick, from the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston, the policeman should have realized that the accusation by the ex-wife was totally unsupported and unverifiable and therefore did not constitute probable cause. He argued that the police can not arrest as soon as they hear an accusation from a woman without determining that there was probable cause to arrest.
He also argued to the judge that the policeman made no attempt to talk to him and hear his side of the case before issuing the warrant for his arrest.
In this case, the harassment of Ken Newell is legend in both towns and the police know all about it.
In the case cited last year from the Court of Appeals, the court said that an asserted victim of a crime is a reliable informant even though his or her reliability has not theretofore been proven or tested, but, if possible to do so, the officer must verify the facts and cannot take the word of just the alleged victim.
Nollet sought damages for false arrest and false imprisonment. He told the court in his original Complaint, [T]his is urgent because [plaintiff] believes Defendants illegal warrant and arrest was not an isolated incident, but rather is something that happens frequently and routinely in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in that men are always arrested, even without Probable Cause, as soon as police officers understand that it is an accusation of Domestic Violence or violation of a Restraining Order that has been made. It is Plaintiffs belief that police officers everywhere must be sent a message that constitutionally sub-standard arrest cannot and will not be tolerated, even if such arrests are performed to attempt to alleviate the serious problem of Domestic Violence.
The last time that Newells former wife called the police was on November 30 last year, when she told a Plymouth police officer that Newell was following her in his truck. Newell was, in fact, out with friends that evening in another town. The police officer noticed that her story did not add up after questioning her and he wrote in his report: "At this time I asked Ms. Newell to fill out a victim statement form. Ms. Newell was adamant about not filling out the form. Ms. Newell further stated that she does not want any further police services. Due to the inconsistencies of Ms. Newell's statement and the lack of cooperation, this officer is not seeking any charges in this incident."
When the couple first separated, the court psychologist, Dr. Krock, advised Newell, to leave the state and his children. Ken, you have to understand one thing. You will never win, she said, continuing, The best thing for you to do is let your wife have everything she wants. Give the kids to your wife and leave the state for a few years. Then come back and everything will be calm.
Attorney Chester Darling tells Massachusetts News, This case during the weekend is another instance of an abuse of the court system by women who deliberately manipulate it to their advantage and to the disadvantage of their children. Its always the children that get hurt in these procedures, and its my intent to bring an abuse of process action against this person to stop herfrom this illegal activity.