This long time Boston criminal lawyer must warn you… Don’t believe everything you read.
As I had forewarned you over my past few blogs, the criminal justice trenches are about to become much harder to navigate if you are accused of Massachusetts domestic violence. I have one of you that, over my approximately quarter century in the criminal justice system, I have seen the number one focus on the part of prosecutors becoming, not justice, but to cover the behind of one’s political future. The district attorney of the particular county, is, at base, a politician. No more. No less. The major fear of politicians is bad press. We live in the day and age where that things do not just “happen”. It has to be somebody’s fault.
And so it is, just as you have been warned, local prosecutors are going to try to “fix” the problem that they say led to the tragic killing of Jennifer Martel. As you will recall, Jared Remy (hereinafter the “Defendant”) has been accused of her murder. From the outside at least, it appears to be a pretty strong case against him. However, not that anybody really cares, but he is still supposed to be presumed innocent. However, for the sake of argument, let’s assume him guilty. Previous to this murder, he had a history of violent charges against him. These included domestic violence type charges from Ms. Martel herself. In fact, a day previous, he had been brought to court for assault and battery upon her.
And that is where the latest prosecutorial bandwagon began. The defendant was released on his own recognizance. A day later, he was charged with killing the same complainant, Ms. Martel.
Now, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, whose office is now under fire for not seeking to have the Defendant held in the assault case, announced today she has named a pair of prosecutors to conduct an independent review of her office’s handling of the case.
On Monday, Ryan said her office would conduct an internal review of the case. This did not seem to satisfy the public outcry. So, she announced today she had named the two prosecutors to lead an outside probe.. The two are Former Essex District Attorney Kevin Burke and Norfolk County Assistant District Attorney Jeanmarie Carroll. They will, seemingly independantly, review the circumstances that led to Ryan’s latest publicity woes.
“The death of Jennifer Martel is a horrific tragedy, and it would be irresponsible for our office not to re-examine what happened,” Ryan said in a statement. “I am confident that District Attorney Burke and First Assistant Carroll will conduct a thorough and independent review of this case, and we will utilize these findings to make any changes necessary to better protect victims.”
The review will look at the factors that led prosecutors to decide not to seek to have the Defendant detained, and determine whether they followed procedures. The review will also take a look at those procedures to see whether they are “sufficient to adequately address the offender release issues which arise in domestic violence cases.”
Ryan has defended her office’s handling of the case, but critics have said prosecutors should have tried to keep Remy behind bars after the alleged assault given his long criminal record and a series of assault charges against a former girlfriend.
Burke was the Essex district attorney from 1979 to 2003. Carroll is a veteran prosecutor who has handled many domestic violence cases and has led training programs for police and prosecutors.
…so they have got to be fair minded and independant, right?
Attorney Sam’s Take On The Political Dog And Pony Show That Will Pervert The Cause Of Justice Further
“Sam, how Can you possibly be against a district attorney trying to have an independent review to make sure that people are not needlessly harmed or murdered?”
I wouldn’t be. However, this is not that.
Let’s try a little experiment. I am going to continue this blog tomorrow. In the meantime, please think to yourself what may have “gone wrong” in this case. Why do you think the defendant was released? You also may want to wonder why, if Dist. Atty. Ryan is truly seeking an answer for a problem that has plagued the criminal justice system for years, she has merely engaged the service of two long time prosecutors and nobody else to help her find her independent solution.
A couple more questions to ask yourself while you’re at it. First of all, are we to assume that every complainant in a domestic violence case is suffering from battered spouse syndrome and so therefore do not know what they are doing? Is that not insulting to women in general? Finally, says we are trying to fix a problem in the criminal Justice system, which has to balance the rights of all involved, should we now simply assume that anyone with a record and accused of domestic violence should be held without bail?
Let’s talk tomorrow.
For the original story upon which this blog is based, please go to – http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2013/08/21/middlesex-marian-ryan-names-former-conduct-outside-review-handling-remy-assault-case/Qh38BivZt0UWaRk1L2soaP/story.html#sthash.CujdfEN8.dpuf