Nick Boynton, the Arizona Coyotes’ radio commentator and a former NHL player, appeared for arraignment in Buffalo City Court on multiple charges following an incident at Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino. Buffalo police said Mr. Boynton was abusive to casino patrons and security personnel, damaged casino property, and bit the hand of a police officer who tried to subdue him.
Barry Covert, a noted criminal defense attorney and senior partner at the Buffalo-based law firm Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria, was asked by WGRZ to comment on the incident.
Watch the full interview on WGRZ.
Injuring a police officer likely to increase penalty
Mr. Boynton pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. The charges, all misdemeanors and violations, are assault, resisting arrest, harassment, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of governmental administration.
Mr. Covert said for these types of charges, “You can receive up to one year in jail. Typically a defendant who is a first-time defendant won’t receive that.”
But he went on to point out that this is not a typical case because a police officer was injured. “Any time a police officer is injured, you can expect that they are going to find every possible charge that they can lay on the defendant, because they want to make sure they protect that police officer and send a message that you can’t injure police officers, you can’t assault them.”
Police officers say Mr. Boynton was drunk and became belligerent when bartenders wouldn’t serve him any more alcohol. Police reported that one of the officers was bitten while trying to arrest Mr. Boynton.
“You have a police officer that was allegedly injured,” Mr. Covert said, “and the courts and the district attorney are going to take that very seriously.”
Treatment for alcoholism may factor into sentencing
After posting a $10,000 bond, Mr. Boynton is back in Arizona. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 1 in Buffalo, but the judge may allow him to stay in Arizona if he enters an alcohol treatment program there.
“Judges encourage people to seek treatment,” Mr. Covert said, “so what the judge is essentially saying is, ‘if he is in a program and he’s receiving the help that he needs, I’m not going to interrupt that by making him come back to Buffalo.’”
According to WGRZ, Mr. Boynton’s blood alcohol level of .31 is considered extremely high. Mr. Covert noted that someone who can still function at that point clearly has a drinking problem. Mr. Boynton is currently on a leave of absence from job as an announcer.
About Barry Covert
A member of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Group, Mr. Covert focuses New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; constitutional law, including First Amendment, Second Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct, scientific fraud, research misconduct, research fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and defense of professional licensing, including for attorneys, doctors, and nurses.