Massachusetts Man Sentenced To Two Year For Lying During Jury Selection On Past Contacts With the Defendants

Jonathan G. Ngarambe might want to be more careful with where he is looking in the future. In a trial of a gang-rape case, a prosecutor thought that he saw Ngarambe catch the eye of one of the defendants. After an investigation, Ngarambe admitted that he lied to the court in denying that he had any relationship with any of the parties in the case. Ngarambe, 23, in fact knew two of the defendants and also had prior contact with the alleged victim, who was a high school classmate. Ngarambe has now pleaded guilty to perjury and Judge John Lu has sentenced him to an impressive two years in jail.


Ngarambe was put on the jury pool in the Superior Court trial of Rafael Nino Brito, 22, Luis Arias, 22, and Justin Louf, 21. They were charged with the aggravated rape of a 17-year-old Salem girl on Feb. 15, 2008 after a basketball game.

Notably, Ngarambe’s court-appointed lawyer, James Craig, previously defended his client by noting that he had nearly 5,000 Facebook friends and many followers on Twitter due to his work as a club promoter. The judge clearly viewed this as more than a couple of passing Facebook friends.

However, Facebook was key to the charge. Police found that Ngarambe was listed as a friend of Brito on Facebook and that Arias was listed as a follower of Ngarambe on Twitter. Yet, Ngarambe’s defense counsel insisted that he misunderstood the meaning of “friend” in the court’s questioning.

Originally, the prosecutors sought to convict Ngarambe on intimidation of a witness — a serious stretch of the common interpretation of that charge. The prosecutors insisted that misleading the court and prosecutors impacted the administration of justice and should be considered juror intimidation. I fail to see the good-faith basis for such an interpretation while prejury is clearly implicated.

Source: ABA Journal and Daily Item

12 thoughts on “Massachusetts Man Sentenced To Two Year For Lying During Jury Selection On Past Contacts With the Defendants

  1. I wonder what the effect would be on the public if it is perceived by some circles in the public the defendant was incarcerated for two years due to a misunderstanding. While I would view it would dissuade wrongdoing to prosecute those for perjury, it would be counterproductive to have people scared into being part of a jury.

  2. “Ngarambe admitted that he lied to the court in denying that he had any relationship with any of the parties in the case.”

    I know a lot of people casually for which I would deny having a relationship, including former classmates. I have neighbors that I wave to but I don’t know their names. Is that a relationship? What about people I see in the neighborhood with whom I have no other contact? If all of these people qualify as relationships, it seems an easy way of getting out of jury duty.

  3. If all they had on him was friending and a follower in a social media setting then this case against him was a stretch. Law blawgers beware.

  4. facebook? really? I have a lot of ‘friends’ on facebook that I’ve never and will never meet……and many past acquaintances whose ‘status’ is completely confined to facebook……here’s a clue fantasy freaks….IT’s NOT REALLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Some people will find any way they can to make something they are looking for real….it doesn’t.

    Real is Real, that is why we have 5(and more…) senses….

  5. That’s the trouble with Facebook….. Some you should let on and some you block….. This case….. I think I need more facts…..

  6. I do not friend many people on facebook simply because there are not that many people I care to know that much about (family and a few friends IRL) but I believe that is unusual. I know a few people with a couple of hundred ‘friends’.

    The right thing would have been for the guy to admit he freinded and also followed the defendant & let the court decided what that was worth. the fact that he lied about it makes it seem to me like he was trying to hide a closer relationship.

  7. Cheers to an aggressive perjury sentence; we are far too tolerant of lies.
    On the other hand, there are definitely many younger (below middle age) people who have thousands of “friends” or “followers”, some of whom they don’t know at all without some sort of help recalling the tenuous connection.

  8. “If all they had on him was friending and a follower in a social media setting then this case against him was a stretch.”

    I agree with your statement, but it seems like they had more on him. At a minimum, he “admitted that he lied to the court in denying that he had any relationship with any of the parties in the case.”

    Also, I’m not too worried about innocent people getting prosecuted for perjury in these situations. If you know any of the parties, witnesses, or lawyers and are asked if you know any of them, then just tell the truth and say yes! Just knowing someone is NOT enough to get you struck for cause.

  9. and yet the doctor defendant who committed perjury in my med mal case against him got “punished” by being nominated and conformed as Pa’ Sec’t of state (Peter jannetta 1995 – 1996.) (

    “We have little difficulty in concluding that Dr. Jannetta’s testimony at deposition was different than, or inconsistent with, the testimony at trial.” Levy v Jannetta, CCP Allegheny County, GD 81-7689; appeal -J. A370017/92 Levy v Jannetta et al, No. 00150 Pittsburgh, 1992. settled, 1995)

    (As for FB friends, I frineded (liked) Romney and Hukabee so i could respond to their lies and see what they were saying – not friends of mine by any degree.)

  10. People often mindlessly accept friend requests, or follow someone on Twitter simply because they followed them first. Club promoting is a very social job, where it helps if many people think you are better friends than you really are.

    It’s also a job where you want insight into the local social scene. What other clubs are people going to? Why are they going there? Also a Facebook friendship maybe just enough social cement push some kind of business deal through, or give opportunity for an exchange of favors in the future. With that profession, your not going to want to deny any friend requests, even if it only increases the appearance of your popularity.

    I’d be interested to know if anybody’s computer was examined, or if anyone took a close look at his Twitter and Facebook accounts to see what actual interaction, if any, really took place.

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