SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 19, 2013

Report finds lapses by prosecutors before woman's death

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — BEVERLY — A review of the decisions in the hours leading up to the death of Jared Remy’s girlfriend Jennifer Martel in August, co-authored by the former Essex County district attorney, found that the prosecutors and victim advocates involved in Remy’s domestic assault case lacked adequate supervision and guidance.

Those conclusions came in a report commissioned by Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan following Martel’s death, allegedly at the hands of Remy, on Aug. 15, one day after prosecutors in her office decided not to seek bail for the defendant.

The review was conducted by former Essex District Attorney and Public Safety Secretary Kevin Burke, who in his time in office on the North Shore wrote the Victims Bill of Rights, and Norfolk County First Assistant District Attorney Jeanmarie Carroll.

In an executive summary of their findings, the two longtime public safety officials concluded that the assistant district attorneys and victim advocates handling Remy’s case on Aug. 13 and 14 were well-trained in many regards but in need of guidance on whether to seek a hearing on whether Remy posed a danger, what bail or conditions should be requested and what weight to give the victim’s input or lack of input.

“Specifically, we found that Remy’s domestic violence criminal history, the facts in the Aug. 13, 2013, police report, and the fact that there was a young child in the home were not given sufficient weight, while the victim’s decision not to come to court to extend the emergency restraining order or to request conditions of release was given excessive consideration,” the authors wrote. “The absence of any further discussion, review or supervision foreclosed an analysis that would have gauged the risk factors presented in the records at hand, i.e., Remy’s criminal history record and the Aug. 13, 2013, police reports.”

Burke’s legislation creating a voice for victims of crime and their families gave prosecutors in the Remy assault case the ability to consider Martel’s input on their decision.

But the review concluded that prosecutors placed too great an emphasis on Martel’s decision not to come to court to request an extension of an emergency restraining order or to request that conditions be placed on Remy.

Remy, the son of Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy, has been charged with killing her the following day.

While the report does not recommend any comprehensive overhaul, it suggested supplemental training, changes to the “intake” forms used by victim advocates to assess the risk to victims, and expansion of supervision and communication at all levels.

Ryan, the Middlesex DA, has already implemented changes in the supervision of district court prosecutors by more senior assistant district attorneys and has testified in support of several pieces of legislation aimed at creating tougher penalties for domestic abusers, giving prosecutors greater access to information about a defendant’s history of being found dangerous and eliminating the ability of lawyers and parties to negotiate private settlements known as “accord and satisfaction” in domestic abuse cases.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.