Criminal Defense

The firm is often retained by clients facing criminal charges in federal and state courts, as well as charges brought by regulatory agencies.  From cases connected to the Boston Marathon bombing to RICO charges involving events going back decades, John Nardizzi has led numerous complex criminal defense investigations.

A vigorous defense is a necessity: the exoneration of thousands of innocent people who were convicted of crimes they did not commit shines a troubling light on the criminal justice system.  To test prosecution claims, the firm locates and interviews witnesses, and utilizes an extensive array of news archive and court databases to develop background on various parties.

  • White collar crime (securities, anti-trust, healthcare, tax, mail fraud)
  • Major crimes (homicide, kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary)
  • Wrongful convictions
  • RICO / racketeering
  • Professional misconduct (doctors, lawyers, investment advisors)
  • College disciplinary hearings, private school investigations

Case studies listed below are proof of our dedication and successes:


Assault charges - Dismissed: We were part of the defense team whose work led to sexual assault charges against actor Kevin Spacey being dropped in Nantucket.

Plea deal - voluntary manslaughter: Client whose second-degree murder conviction for shooting an off-duty Revere police officer was vacated by the state appeals court, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and will avoid a new trial. Robert Iacoviello, now 30, was convicted in 2010 of shooting off-duty Revere Police Officer Daniel Talbot, killing him, on Sept. 29, 2007. The conviction was overturned in 2016. The evidence at trial proved that Iacoviello was summoned to the area by an associate who had exchanged words with Talbot and his group, which included Revere police officers who were drinking near a baseball field that night. The Massachusetts Appeals Court reversed the jury’s verdict in 2016, finding that the trial judge did not instruct jurors on self-defense and manslaughter.

Not guilty - manslaughter : In the landmark Walczak case, the Commonwealth first had a murder indictment tossed out by the Supreme Judicial Court, which held that mitigating defense evidence must be presented to a grand jury in a case involving juvenile defendants. The DA refiled on manslaughter charges. At trial, the jury carefully examined the investigation done by the defense, which showed two men had ambushed a young man on a dark street corner, forcing him to defend himself.

Acquittal in murder case: After 15 months of intensive defense investigation, a jury found our client not guilty on all charges in the murders of four people, including a two-year-old boy, during a robbery in September 2010. Boston media reported on the intense pressure facing families of both the victims and accused during the 6 week trial.

The defense investigation focused on the role of Kimani Washington, a career criminal whose story about participating in the armed robbery but leaving the scene before the murders, never made sense to most court observers. Eyewitness accounts described a silver/gray SUV with blue license plate driven by a bald headed man racing from the scene -- a match to Kimani and a Ford Edge he stole from a victim. Moreover, Kimani’s story changed repeatedly. Evidence showed he held a grudge against one defendant and had slashed his face with a cane--a stark contrast to his description of their relationship as “beautiful”. Defense lawyers Jack Cunha and Helen Holcomb were able to use the evidence to thoroughly impeach Kimani at trial. They also pointed to mistakes such as the Boston Police arresting Kimani just a few hours after the murders, holding keys to a silver SUV--but incredibly, failing to test him for gunpowder residue. Photos of the SUV were taken by some of the police-controlled security cameras dotting Mattapan, but they were not preserved by police.

Kimani later fled to New Hampshire where he was arrested. This case illustrated most graphically the problem with rewarding a cooperating witness of Kimani’s ilk with a deal that cut decades off a prison sentence for murder, if he had faced a jury.

Aggravated assault charges dropped : Our client was attending a university function when he was charged with assault and battery. There were no witnesses the event. An exhaustive review of the complainant’s pre-event remarks and behavior showed numerous inconsistencies in her testimony.

• Three federal trials end in acquittals for clients

In December 2005, Nardizzi & Associates completed the defense investigation in the
last of a trilogy of federal trials involving clients since mid-2003. In each case, our client was acquitted after the investigation exposed major factual flaws in the testimony of government witnesses.

Two cases were some of the largest RICO cases brought in Boston, with defendants and lawyers forced to sit in impromptu desk arrangements in the crowded courtroom. The federal cases generated considerable controversy in the community. In the end, juries agreed with the defense, acquitting 3 out of 6 defendants of almost all charges in one case, and acquitting the 3 other defendants of various charges as well. [
USA v. Monteiro, Campbell et al.] Two other cases resulted in either acquittals, or charges being dropped. [USA. v. Green, Washington, et al.] The defense investigation exposed serious flaws in the prosecution's case. The defense investigators discovered inconsistent prior statements by cooperating witnesses, and damaging background information on the government's own witnesses.

The cases had their backdrop in a series of shootings in the Cape Verdean community. Chief Judge Lynch of the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit summarized:

“In the early 1990s, Augusto "Gus" Lopes, his younger brother Nardo Lopes, and Bobby Mendes belonged to a group whose activities centered around Wendover Street in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. In 1995, Nardo Lopes was charged with the murder of Mendes and fled Boston. Gus Lopes, who was in prison at the time of the killing, vowed to eliminate any potential witnesses to his brother's crime and to exact revenge on members of the Wendover group who remained sympathetic to Mendes and who harassed Lopes's relatives.”