We both began and ended the week last week discussing the realities of being accused of criminal charges arising out of a Massachusetts domestic violence case. We concentrated on what you could expect as you await going to court.
On Friday, I alluded to the recent Waltham Domestic Violence / Murder case of Jared Remy (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) and his long-time girlfriend, Jennifer Martel (hereinafter, the “Deceased”). The Defendant’s case is yet another in a relatively short period of time instance of a prosecutor’s nightmare when it comes to domestic violence.
Apparently, there had been a long history of domestic violence allegations brought against the Defendant. According to FOX25, there were 15 other criminal complaints between 1998 and 2013. Nevertheless, the last time the Defendant was arrested for such actions, he was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. Specifically, the Deceased alleged that he had slammed her head into a bathroom mirror, during an argument. The Defendant was released on personal recognizance last Wednesday.
Then, a day later, law enforcement responded to an apartment complex in Waltham. Officers state that they found the Deceased on a patio with stab wounds to her chest and neck and a blue cloth over her face. She was pronounced dead at the scene. A neighbor, Ben Ray, claims to have seen the Defendant stabbing the Deceased. He says he tried to pull him off of her, but the Defendant then threatened him by slicing at him with the knife.
“It’s not an easy thing to watch,” said Ray. “It’s not an easy thing to try to stop and not be able to.”
Investigators claim there was a blood trail from room to room and that the fight spilled outside. They allege the Defendant was on top of the Deceased in the patio area, stabbing her repeatedly all over her body. The Defendant was apparently covered in blood.
Officers said they found Remy covered in blood. Their 4-year-old daughter was in the apartment during the incident but was physically unharmed.
The Defendant has been charged with murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in Waltham District Court. He is being held without bail.
A memorial fund has been set up to pay for funeral expenses, lawyer fees, and for the Deceased’s 4-year-old child. To donate, please contact:
Jennifer Martel Memorial Fund C/O Citizen’s Bank 501 Rodman Street Fall River, MA 02021
Attorney Sam’s Take On Bail In Domestic Violence Charges
While this case is thought of as a “domestic violence” case, the primarily criminal charge is that of murder. The fact that it is a domestic violence case is simply because of the setting in which the crime allegedly took place.
The fact that the Defendant is being held without bail is primarily because the charge facing him is that of murder. Generally, someone charged with murder, the most serious of all criminal charges, is held without bail. Facing that charge, after all, presents the most incentive to flee of any criminal charges. Remember that the reason for bail is to ensure the return of a defendant to court to answer the charges against him.
However, this does not mean that, if the charge were not murder, that the Defendant would be released on bail. You see, a prosecutor has a tricks up her proverbial sleeve to argue that a defendant should be held without bail.
One of these is a request for a Dangerousness Hearing. In such a case, the Commonwealth presents a motion to the court to allege that the particular defendant is a threat to the community and so it is too dangerous to let him out on bail. It has nothing to do with the likelihood to return to court.
The criticism the prosecutors are taking in the Defendant’s case is based upon a misunderstanding of the reasons for bail. I am unaware of any reason that the Defendant would have been expected not to return to court in the earlier assault case. However, his history may well have been grounds to hold him without bail altogether.
By the way, if the Defendant were not facing a murder charge, and the Commonwealth did not want to do a Dangerousness Hearing, there would be yet another reason he could have been held without bail. If a criminal defendant is arrested for a new crime while out on bail, that defendant can be held for a time without bail on that factor alone.
This case, and those discussed earlier last week, have brought new sensitivity to the issue of domestic violence. If you are unfortunate enough to be accused of such a crime in the near future, expect tougher than usual scrutiny brought to the issue of your being released. In the near past, it was not unusual at all to find prosecutors requesting Dangerousness Hearings in domestic violence cases.
Expect these requests to increase in number.
What this means to you is that if you expect such charges to be coming down the pike in your direction, get an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately to protect and guide you through the process. Otherwise, you may well find yourself blind-sided and an involuntary guest of the Commonwealth.
To read the original story upon which this blog is based, please go http://www.myfoxboston.com/story/23162582/2013/08/17/waltham-stabbing-victims-family-arrives-in-mass-to-plan-funeral