Massachusetts Lawyer Accused of Shredding Court File To Block Murder Trial

In Salem, Massachusetts, lawyer Ilya Ablavsky, 32, has been charged in a bizarre alleged crime of stealing the file for his cousin’s murder trial and destroying it. Ablavsky, a recent graduate of Western New England College School of Law, reportedly stated that it was his understanding that, absent the original indictment, a person could not be charged.

Ablavksy said that he is the cousin of the alleged killer, Jose Cabrera, 20, of Lynn, who is charged in a gang-related shooting in Lynn in 2008. Ablavksy allegedly destroyed 51 documents and called the Clerk’s office to say that he had possession of the documents before shredding them.

He attempted to represent himself but the court-appointed lawyer raised the issue of his mental incompetence.

Previously, in 1999, Ablavsky was charged with making bomb threats against a state representative and a school official at Brandeis University where he was studying. He received five years on probation for that crime and then went on to graduate from Salem State College in 2003. In 2009, he reportedly graduated from Western New England College School of Law and was given his license to practice law this June.

I am not in favor of a blanket prohibition for anyone with a criminal record. Indeed, I have met former felons who have rehabilitated themselves and offer great contributions and insights in the law. However, Ablavsky’s mental stability should have raised concerns. Making bomb threats against both a politician and a school official should have raised serious questions over his suitability for bar membership absent evidence of a treated mental illness.

Source: Salem News

Kudos: Elaine M.

Jonathan Turley

21 thoughts on “Massachusetts Lawyer Accused of Shredding Court File To Block Murder Trial

  1. If he is 32 in 2010, then in 1999 he was 19 or 20. What exactly did the bomb threat consist of? Was he drunk?

    It’s interesting that before ECF in federal court, three signed copies of ever single little document were required. Even after ECF, many courts require multiple signed copies even of procedural motions.

  2. kay,

    Here’s some information for you:

    From Justice Online: The Independent online Student Newspaper of Brandeis University

    Bomb threat results in arrest
    By Deborah Eisner
    Justice Editorial Board

    A former Brandeis student has been arrested for allegedly making threats against Brandeis students and staff, including a bomb threat in Ziv 128 on Thursday morning. The second day of a hearing to determine whether Ilya Ablavsky ’01 is a threat to public safety will convene today at the Waltham Courthouse.

    Ablavsky is charged with two counts of making bomb threats and two counts of threatening to commit a crime after having allegedly sent threatening e-mails to an administrator at Brandeis and to State Representative and City Councillor David Gately. Gately is one of two winners of the Sept. 14 primary elections for mayor of Waltham. The e-mails submitted into evidence at yesterday’s hearing contained death threats against a Brandeis administrator, a specific student and Gately and his family. Ziv 128 and Gately’s home were identified as the locations of the bombs.

  3. “Ablavsky, a recent graduate of Western New England College School of Law, reportedly stated that it was his understanding that, absent the original indictment, a person could not be charged.”


    His mental stability aside, how could he have gotten out of law school thinking that destroying the document on which the indictment is memorialized would make it go away?

    Well, maybe not so much “aside.”

  4.…/features08311999.htm (no obvious date)

    Mayoral race educates politics major

    This summer, Ilya Ablavsky ’00 proved that the campaign trail is not only for seasoned politicians by running for mayor of Waltham.

    By Peter Basso

    Justice Editorial Assistant

    “Don’t forget your ideals and that when you commit to a decision to run, that the most important person to consider is you. After all, you’re setting the tone. You may have a staff of 100, but you are responsible for them and everything else.”

    As for the future, Ablavsky said he will not be running for any other public office in the near future. However, he will be applying to law school, and he said he hopes to one day be a District Attorney.


    There’s a long article — I just posted a piece of it.

  5. I think this comment from the Salem News report sums up my thoughts on this:

    “dolphin [Moderator] 1 day ago
    Ilya Ablavsky and Jose Cabrera are cousins -must be the Russian-Dominican branch of the family. I think in some hugely misguided mentally ill sort of way, this guy thought he could make a name for himself in legal circles, by getting the case thrown out. Of course it was a very poorly thought-out plan on his part. Why can just anyone get an active case file in the court clerk’s office? They hand the file over to a person uninvolved in the case without supervision? They hand the file over to a mentally ill man who was convicted of making bomb threats? This story should not be about the bipolar guy, but rather about our lacksadaisical security at Salem Superor Court! This kind of thing could taint all kinds of past cases and convictions.”

  6. I agree that if we are going to have a for-profit prison system, then we need not continue punishing folks after they have done their time. This is a case of a unbalanced man, and each case has to weighed on its on basis, but it speaks well for our system that this man was allowed to get his license to practice.

  7. After looking at some of the judgments that have come from the courts, I have to say this guy looks to fit right in.

    Like the Court of Appeals for the 9th circuit

    The government can GPS your car in your own driveway without a warrant!?!?

    The court recognizes the horrific abuses of the sheriff in strip searches, but defers to the “professional’s” judgment…OMG!!

    And then we have the Supreme Court that says even PRIVATE individuals can use eminent domain to confiscate your property.

    The crazies are running the insane asylum!

  8. “The crazies are running the insane asylum!”

    Rep. Darrell Issa Tells Chris Wallace: “We Need To Do Investigations In A Less Partisan Way”
    by Nisha Chittal | 5:19 pm, November 7th, 2010

    Early life

    Issa was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the grandson of Lebanese immigrants. He describes himself as having been “a rotten young kid.”[3] Issa dropped out of high school[4] and at 17 enlisted for a three-year tour in the Army, serving as a bomb disposal technician. Issa further recounted being part of the security entourage for President Nixon during the 1971 World Series, despite Nixon never having attended the event. Issa left the Army nearly two years early after being stripped of his duties as a bomb specialist.[5]

    A retired Army sergeant claimed that Issa stole a Dodge sedan from an Army post near Pittsburgh in 1971. The sergeant said he recovered the car after confronting and threatening him. Issa denied the allegation and no charges were filed.[6][7] In 1972, Issa and his brother allegedly stole a red Maserati sports car from a car dealership in Cleveland. He and his brother were indicted for car theft, but the case was dropped.[6][7] That same year, Issa was convicted in Michigan for possession of an unregistered gun. He received three months probation and paid a $204 fine.[8]

    He attended Kent State University at Stark in North Canton, Ohio and Siena Heights College in Adrian, Michigan, on an ROTC scholarship, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1976. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army, serving as a tank platoon leader and a computer research and development specialist, among other command roles. He left the Army in 1980 with the rank of captain. He later moved to Vista, California, a suburb of San Diego, where he now lives.

    On December 28, 1979, Issa and his brother allegedly faked the theft of Issa’s Mercedes Benz sedan. Issa and his brother were charged for grand theft auto, but the case was dropped by prosecutors for lack of evidence. Later, Issa and his brother were charged for misdemeanors, but that case was not pursued by prosecutors. Issa accused his brother of stealing the car, and said that the experience with his brother was the reason he went into the car alarm business.[6][7]

    A day after a court order was issued, giving Issa control of automotive alarm company A.C. Custom over an unpaid $60,000 debt, Issa allegedly carried a cardboard box containing a handgun into the office of A.C. Custom executive, Jack Frantz, and told Frantz he was fired. In a 1998 newspaper article, Frantz said Issa had invited him to hold the gun and claimed extensive knowledge of guns and explosives from his Army service. In response, Issa said, “Shots were never fired. … I don’t recall having a gun. I really don’t. I don’t think I ever pulled a gun on anyone in my life.”[8]

    Issa made his fortune through his company, Directed Electronics Incorporated, that is most famous for its flagship product, the “Viper” car alarm. It bears a siren that is a recording of Issa’s voice saying, “please step away from the car.”[9] As of 2004, Directed Electronics was North America’s largest aftermarket automotive electronics manufacturer. Issa divested personal interest in Directed Electronics after being elected to public office, but he is the richest member of the House and the second richest in all of the 111th Congress. He is worth an estimated $251 million

  9. John & eniobob,

    Here’s one that REALLY sets my hair on fire!!! What is wrong with these judges???

    From Think Progress (11/18/2010)
    5th Circuit Rules That High School Cheerleader Is Required To Cheer For Her Alleged Rapist

    The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, one of the most right-wing courts in the country, sanctioned a former high school cheerleader because she brought a lawsuit claiming that she shouldn’t be required to cheer for her alleged rapist:

    The former cheerleader and her family are appealing the ruling by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, which includes an order to pay the school district’s legal fees on the grounds their suit was far-fetched and frivolous. […]

    H.S., then 16, attended a party in her hometown of Silsbee, Texas, in October 2008. She said she was dragged into a room, thrown onto the floor by several youths and raped by Rakheem Bolton, a star on the school’s football and basketball teams.

    Bolton and a teammate were arrested two days later, but were allowed to return to school after a county grand jury declined to indict them. They were later indicted on sexual assault charges, but in the interim came the February 2009 incident on the basketball court.

    H.S. joined in leading cheers for the Silsbee High team. But when Bolton went to the foul line, and the cheers included his name, she stepped back, folded her arms and sat down.

    This decision is hardly the first time the right-wing Fifth Circuit has come under scrutiny for its harsh judgments. As the Wonk Room noted earlier this year, the overwhelming majority of Fifth Circuit judges are invested in the oil industry, and both of the judges who voted against reinstating a drilling moratorium during the Gulf oil disaster attended oil industry-funded junkets. In one case brought by Katrina victims against the energy industry, so many judges were required to recuse themselves that there weren’t enough judges left to hear an appeal.

    Yet, even in a circuit known for its knee-jerk ideology, the cheerleader rape case was heard by an unusually radical panel of three judges. Judges Emilio Garza and Edith Clement were both on President George W. Bush’s “short list” for potential Supreme Court nominees, and Clement serves on the board of the leading organization providing industry-funded junkets for judges. The third judge, Priscilla Owen, took thousands of dollars worth of campaign contributions from Enron and then wrote a key opinion reducing Enron’s taxes by $15 million when she sat on the Texas Supreme Court. The panel did not include the court’s chief judge, Edith Jones, who has her own history of ignoring the pleas of women who are sexually harassed or assaulted.

  10. Elaine M.

    “H.S. joined in leading cheers for the Silsbee High team. But when Bolton went to the foul line, and the cheers included his name, she stepped back, folded her arms and sat down.”

    :=( Very Sad.

  11. John wrote: “The crazies are running the insane asylum!”

    The corruption is deep and pervasive, that’s for sure.
    (John, eniobob and Elaine M.,

    Thanks for the articles and links. Perhaps we’ll soon hit “the tipping point” and the dominoes will start to fall. Probably wishful thinking…)

  12. Here’s another story for you:

    From Huffington Post
    Martin Erzinger, Morgan Stanley Wealth Manager, Won’t Face Felony Charges For Hit-And-Run
    The Huffington Post | William Alden First Posted: 11- 8-10

    A Morgan Stanley wealth manager will not face felony charges for a hit-and-run because Colorado prosecutors don’t want him to lose his job.

    Martin Joel Erzinger, who manages more than $1 billion in assets for Morgan Stanley in Denver, is being accused only of a misdemeanor for allegedly driving his Mercedes into a cyclist and then fleeing the scene, Colorado’s Vail Daily reports. The victim, Dr. Steven Milo, whom Erzinger allegedly hit in July, suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and, according to his lawyer Harold Haddon, “lifetime pain.”

    But District Attorney Mark Hurlbert says it wouldn’t be wise to prosecute Erzinger — doing so might hurt his source of income.

  13. Some of what follows is old news, but some of this is new information, I believe. This is going on nationwide and it’s much worse that what is described below. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Pennsylvania Homeland Security office engaged in domestic surveillance, compared political groups to Al Qaeda

    Published: Sunday, November 07, 2010, 2:08 PM; Updated: Monday, November 08, 2010

    DONALD GILLILAND, The Patriot-News

    It turns out the homeland security office or its private consultant were doing more than just monitoring law-abiding citizens.

    They were comparing environmental activists to Al-Qaeda.

    They were tracking down protesters and grilling their parents.

    They were seeking a network of citizen spies to combat the security threats they saw in virtually any legal political activity.

    And they were feeding their suspicions not only to law enforcement, but to dozens of private businesses from natural gas drillers to The Hershey Co.

    Internal e-mails from the Homeland Security office reveal a determined effort to recruit local people receiving its intelligence bulletins — municipal police chiefs, county sheriffs, local emergency management personnel — into its network of citizen spies.

    The goal was to get those locals to start feeding information to the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, a private “intelligence” contractor working with the state’s Homeland Security office.

  14. In Massachusetts, anyone (a lawyer or a non-lawyer) can go to the clerk’s office in any superior court, request a case file, sign a card and take the file to the reading area. It is all on the honor system–they do not check ID and have no way to verify that you did not add, remove or alter the contents of the file, or simply walk off with the entire file. Note that this is the master file–unlike Federal court, filing is not done digitally and the paper filings in a case are not digitized.

  15. mespo,

    That was my thought as well. I can maybe see throwing your career away for a loved family member, but do some research and make sure you have the law right first!

  16. “But District Attorney Mark Hurlbert says it wouldn’t be wise to prosecute Erzinger — doing so might hurt his source of income.”

    And the cyclist is just Collateral Damage ?Unreal.

  17. Let me get this straight . . . this guy went to law school, graduated & passed the Bar exam but thinks he can make an entire case go away by shredding a few documents? Why the hell didn’t I go to law school? It appears a moron can pass, it should have been easy for me being only mildly retarded.

  18. Alan:

    I know the procedure you mention applys here in Jersey if you were going to the county clerks office and you would have that privilege of honor system in checking say Deeds,Births things of that nature but getting into the criminal courts and checking information,I’m quite sure you would really have to jump through some hoops.

  19. Story update:

    November 9, 2010
    Lawyer to get psych evaluation
    Attorney accused of stealing and shredding case file in pending murder case
    By Julie Manganis
    Staff writer

    SALEM — As a Lynn lawyer charged with stealing and shredding the court file in a pending murder case was sent for a psychiatric evaluation yesterday, a court official said he’s taking a look at how best to keep documents secure in the future.

    But Essex County Clerk of Courts Tom Driscoll said he doesn’t want to overreact to someone he referred to as a single “deranged madman” absconding with a case file.

    Ilya Ablavsky, 32, appeared more subdued yesterday than he was immediately following his Friday arrest, but a court psychologist, Dr. Randall Dwyer, said the recently licensed attorney was experiencing auditory hallucinations, paranoia and other signs of the bipolar disorder for which Ablavsky has been hospitalized four to six times.

    Ablavsky, a licensed attorney since June, despite a conviction for making bomb threats, walked into the clerk’s office at Salem Superior Court last Wednesday and asked to see the file in the pending murder case against Jose Cabrera.
    Cabrera is scheduled to stand trial in January in a gang-related shooting in Lynn.

    Driscoll said that Ablavsky apparently set up a distraction by asking a clerk about some medical records that were not in the file.

    When the clerk turned away to go check on his request, Ablavsky left the office with the file, apparently slipping out a side door that is a few feet from the clerk’s office, Driscoll said.
    He told Cabrera’s lawyer that without the original charging documents the case would have to be dismissed, which is not accurate, according to the police report.

    “It’s so bizarre,” said Driscoll, who said he’s never had a file stolen in the nine years he’s been clerk.

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