Recently, 34 year old Jared Remy, son of Jerry Remy (popular Boston Red Sox broadcaster), was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon on his girlfriend Jennifer Martel. Martel later told prosecutors that she “was not afraid” and refused to pursue a restraining order against Remy. At his arraignment, prosecutors did not request that Remy be held on bail and he was released on his personal recognizance. The very next day, Remy was charged with the murder of Jennifer Martel.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s office has been under scrutiny ever since this incident occurred. Many are under the impression that this situation could have been prevented if prosecutors had requested bail instead of letting Remy go free. MaryBeth Long, a spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office stated, “We did what we believed was appropriate given what we knew on Wednesday.”
When deciding whether or not to ask for the Defendant in a criminal case to be held on bail, the prosecutor must weigh many different factors including; The nature, circumstances, and potential penalty of the offense charged; family ties, financial resources, employment record, and history of mental illness; Reputation and length of residence in the community; Record of convictions; Illegal drug distribution or present drug dependency; Flight to avoid prosecution, defaults, or fraudulent use of an alias or false identification; Whether the defendant is on bail for a pending prior charge, on probation or parole, or awaiting sentence or appeal of a prior conviction; Whether the acts alleged involve domestic abuse, violation of a restraining order, or whether the defendant has any history of restraining orders.
In this case, prosecutors assured the public that the above factors as well as Remy’s criminal history and the facts and circumstances involved in his case were all reviewed when deciding whether to request bail. However, the fact that Remy showed up to Court for his arraignment accompanied by a defense attorney implied that he was not only taking the case seriously, but also not a flight risk. Also, in many cases, such as this one, the prosecutor must face the reality that without the cooperation and testimony from the alleged victim, the case is likely to be dismissed. In these instances, requesting bail would basically turn into punishing an accused Defendant by holding them in jail even though the Prosecutor is aware that the case is likely to disappear. Though the public seems to be under the impression that this was outrageous behavior from the prosecutors, this is something that would likely happen on a day to day basis.The question becomes: Is our system really working?
Attorney General Martha Coakley commented “Of course the system failed, because now Jennifer Martel is dead. This was a horrible, horrible tragedy. That young women should not be dead.” Coakley, who served as Middlesex district attorney for eight years, said there may need to be changes to state law regarding domestic violence cases. Many are now urging the State Legislature to adopt a policy that keeps Defendants that are alleged to have committed multiple incidents of domestic violence from being released without significant bail.
If you have been charged with a violent crime or any other criminal offense in Massachusetts, contact my office immediately for your free initial consultation:
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