Patrick Noonan Proves His Client’s Innocence And Wins Not Guilty Verdicts In Drive-by Shooting

July 27, 2018
Commonwealth v. Ritch Dorce
Brockton District Court

IN A RARE CASE WHERE A DEFENDANT CONFESSES TO A CRIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA, ATTORNEY PATRICK J. NOONAN PROVES HIS CLIENT’S INNOCENCE AND WINS NOT GUILTY VERDICTS IN A DRIVE-BY SHOOTING.

Brockton Superior Court. Photo: Mass.Gov®
Brockton Superior Court. Photo: Mass.Gov®

On December 31, 2016, there was a New Year’s Eve party at a home on Orchard Ave. in Brockton. Police received several 911 calls reporting multiple gunshots fired at the home. One call reported that six gunshots were fired. One bullet traveled through a bedroom where a young child had been sleeping. Upon arrival the home, police interviewed several witnesses who lived in the home and were present for the party. Two of the witness immediately informed police that they had Snapchat videos posted by the person who committed the shooting. The Snapchat videos were posted from the account of Ritch Dorce, the Defendant in the case. One video physically showed Dorce present at the party. Another video showed Dorce sitting in the car, holding a firearm, and confessing the shooting. Dorce states: “I just got jumped, but, ayy, it’s OK. I just emptied all my shells. I ain’t got no more shells. But, ayy, I’m about to go back and get some more.” Dorce is then seen releasing the magazine to the firearm. Police interviewed approximately nine individuals who were present at the party. Some witnesses told police that Dorce got into a physical altercation with others at the party over marijuana. Some witnesses reported that Dorce was in the company of approximately 4-5 other males who were also involved in fights with others at the party. Some witnesses reported that Dorce, and the males with him, retrieved baseball bats and damaged a vehicle with bats. Some witnesses reported that Dorce was seen holding a taser. Some witnesses reported that Dorce threatened to come back and shoot the house up. Two witnesses stated that they were outside when they observed two vehicles drive by and fire shots at the house. One witness identified Dorce as sitting in one of the vehicles, which was involved in the shooting. Police obtained search warrants for Dorce’s Snapchat account, which confirmed that Dorce had in fact posted the incriminating videos on his Snapchat account. Police obtained search warrants for Dorce’s cell phone, GPS, and tower locations for his cell phone, which allowed police to locate Dorce and arrest him. Dorce agreed to videotape interview with police. In the interview, Dorce admitted that he posted the video but Dorce maintained that he was not the shooter. Dorce admitted that he got jumped at the party but he maintained that he was not the shooter. Dorce was charged with: 1) Carrying a Firearm without a License, 2) Unlawful Possession of Ammunition, 3) Assault with a Dangerous Weapon, 4) Malicious Destruction of Property, and 5) Malicious Damage to a Vehicle.

Result: At the trial, Attorney Patrick J. Noonan presented evidence that somebody else committed the shooting. In his interview, Dorce told police that he attended the party with three other males, one of whom was named Jeff. Dorce stated that he left the party and his cousin gave him a ride to his apartment in Brockton where he met his girlfriend and daughter. While he was in his Brockton home, Dorce received a phone call from Jeff who instructed Dorce to come outside and meet him in his car. While in the car, Jeff told Dorce that he (Jeff) “took care of it” because he didn’t want Dorce “to get his hands dirty.” Jeff then showed Dorce the handgun. At that point, Dorce foolishly decided to post a video on Snapchat of himself holding the handgun and taking credit for the shooting. Dorce stated that he posted the video to let people know not to mess with him. Attorney Noonan presented evidence with regards to Jeff’s true identity and the fact that police did not conduct any investigation into Jeff. Attorney Noonan had his private investigator testify that he was able to locate Jeff’s public Facebook page, which contained posts where Jeff appeared to feel guilty over the fact that Dorce was in jail for something he did not do and Jeff posted that he would take responsibility. The private investigator testified that he confronted Jeff with his posts but Jeff did not deny that he was involved in the shooting. Attorney Noonan argued that the police had evidence that would show Dorce’s whereabouts at the time of the shooting but the police did not bring this evidence to trial. Specifically, Dorce voluntarily handed over his cell phone to police and gave them the password to his phone. Dorce even asked the police to search his phone records, as the records would show that he was not involved in the shooting. Police obtained search warrants for Dorce’s cell phone, including his GPS and cell tower locations for the night of the shooting. Dorce’s cell phone records would show his whereabouts at the time of the shooting. If Dorce’s phone records showed that he was in the vicinity of the shooting at the time the shooting occurred, Attorney Noonan argued, the police would have brought that evidence to trial and showed it to the jury. Attorney Noonan argued that the police could have tested the fingerprints from the shell casings found at the scene in order to prove that Dorce handled the bullets that fired the gun. Attorney Noonan argued that Dorce’s Snapchat video was one of hundreds of videos where Dorce is playing a character as part of an online persona where he tried to look tough and sound tough. Dorce held himself out to be somebody he wasn’t. There was the real Dorce and his online persona. The Snapchat video was simply another example of Dorce trying to sound tough. After a three-day trial, the jury found that Mr. Dorce was not the shooter and they acquitted him of all charges except one charge. The jury found Dorce guilty of only holding the firearm in the Snapchat video but they found that Dorce was not the shooter and was not involved in the shooting. In a rare case where a Defendant confesses to committing a crime, Attorney Patrick J. Noonan proves his client’s innocence.  

Media about the case:

A Snapchat split decision – Brockton ‘poser’ both guilty and acquitted.

Snapchat Confession