The attorney for Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara, who is facing a litany of charges in connection with a car crash earlier this summer, is arguing that the case against his client should be dismissed because investigators failed to give her a citation that underpins the allegations.
“[I]t was the obligation of the Boston Police Department to give a copy of the citation to the defendant at the time and place of the offense,” Carlton E. Williams wrote in a motion. “This was not done. The proper remedy for this oversight is dismissal.”
Lara was arraigned last month on nine charges in connection with a June crash when authorities said she slammed an unregistered and uninsured car into a Jamaica Plain home while speeding with a revoked license. The 33-year-old councilor pleaded not guilty to the charges, which included negligent operation of a motor vehicle, assault and battery on a child with injury, operating a motor vehicle after suspension, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.
Williams and Lara were in West Roxbury Municipal Court on Wednesday morning for a pretrial conference. While Williams did not make his argument before the judge, his rationale was laid out in a court filing in which he stated a “very clear requirement that a citation alleging motor vehicle infractions must be given to the violator at the time and place of the offense or offenses.”
Williams referred to that regulation as the “no fix” rule, since it is supposed to guarantee “the uniform treatment of alleged violators by ensuring that traffic tickets cannot be fixed after they are issued.” Williams asserted that the citation for the crash was not mailed to Lara, nor was it handed to her.
Prosecutors opposed Williams’s motion to dismiss in their own filing, arguing that “the seriousness of the defendant’s accident put her on notice of the likelihood of forthcoming citations.” Additionally, prosecutors said any delay in delivering citations to Lara was justified by the need to investigate further. Police, according to that motion, mailed citations to the address Lara gave on the day of the crash, and more were mailed with additional charges in early July.
On a “clear and dry” June 30 afternoon, police said Lara was driving a Honda Civic down Centre Street during rush hour at twice the speed limit, going at least 53 miles per hour with her 7-year-old in the back seat. The crash sent Lara’s son to Boston Children’s Hospital, where he received several stitches.
Police contacted the state Department of Children and Families because Lara’s son was riding without a booster seat, which is required for children under age 8 or who are under 57 inches tall, according to the police report.
Lara’s Wednesday court appearance came weeks before a preliminary election. In that race, she faces William King, an IT director who lives in West Roxbury, and Benjamin Weber, an attorney who lives in Jamaica Plain.
The next court date for the case is Oct. 20.