Petition Calls For Change to Domestic Violence Laws

Following the murder of a Waltham woman, residents decided to step in to try and fix a “gaping flaw” in the state law.

Photo via Facebook

Photo via Facebook

Outraged by the fact that the man accused of murdering a Waltham woman just a day after he was let out of jail for allegedly assaulting her, people are calling for changes in state law when it comes to offenders being released after committing certain crimes.

Fallon Williams, of Brookline, started a petition called “Stop Repeat Offenders From Being Released On Their Own Recognizance,” in the days following the murder of Jennifer Martel, who was allegedly stabbed to death by her boyfriend Jared Remy, son of the iconic Red Sox announcer, Jerry. “Jennifer’s fiancé had a history of domestic violence, yet was released on his own recognizance after [being arrested for] smashing Jennifer’s head into a mirror Tuesday night,” Williams wrote on the petition, which already has nearly 500 supporters, many who claim to be survivors of domestic abuse. “Females murdered by a current or former partner account for 30% of homicides against women each year. In many instances of intimate partner homicide, domestic violence is a precursor to murder.”

Remy, who stands accused of Martel’s murder, is being held without bail. He pleaded not guilty last week to murder and domestic assault charges.

A day prior to Martel’s death, Remy was released from holding without bail after an emergency restraining order filed by Martel was not renewed.

Both District Attorney Marian Ryan, who is handling the case, and Attorney General Martha Coakley, have agreed that the incident regarding Remy’s release should be thoroughly reviewed after people voiced their concern about the suspect being let go.

Some have even gone as far as calling for the DA’s resignation, but Coakley and Ryan have promised to take a deeper look at what could have been done. “It is my understanding that District Attorney Marian Ryan is conducting a full review of all the circumstances involved in this case, as should be done,” Coakley said in a statement. “It is important to get all the facts to determine what, if anything, could have been done differently. It also is time to re-examine the domestic violence laws in this Commonwealth to determine if there are changes that can better protect victims.”

Which is exactly what Williams’s petition hopes to accomplish. According to Williams, “known abusers should not be allowed to walk free without bail within 24 hours of a repeat offense.” Court records show that Remy had a history of violent tempers, and prior arrests for domestic abuse. “Repeat offenders have demonstrated an inability to control aggression, which means being released on personal recognizance will most likely only lead to more violence,” Williams said in her petition being sent to state officials.

  • NWBL

    Even though Massachusetts has stringent abuse laws, there is still far too much of it. I applaud Fallon Williams and I hope the proposed legislation passes.

  • Jeff Sheldrake

    Sorry Fallon I won’t be signing your petition. It’s unreasonable to expect every man who has a ‘minor’ fight with his wife to pay bail for the 10,000 to 1 chance he will repeat Jared Remy’s actions.
    In the extreme you have to either lock up every man or post a 24 hour armed guard on her which society isn’t willing to pay for. Therefore you always will have the risk of something happening by default. That’s reality.
    Making minor legal changes which cause gross inconvenience while having very little effect is plain stupid.
    Besides Jerry Remy would’ve have put his hand in his pocket and bailed out his son anyways. Bail will only make any difference to the broke. It won’t work.

  • Paul Johnson

    What changes to legislation are proposed? I know the language in the petition isn’t gender-neutral. Would proposed legislation be?

    Jeff Sheldrake, commenting here, also has a valid concern. Any changes made need to be tempered with protections for offenders who do not fit the bill. But before that can happen, anti-male bias needs to be removed from courts.

    Change the gendered language in the petition and I’ll think about signing it… for what-all good it will do — I don’t live in Mass.

  • eva weiss

    If someone has prior arrests for domestic violence, he should not be able to walk free without the person who has a restraining order against him being notified, especially for something as violent as smashing her head into a mirror. @facebook-100005176390216:disqus If you consider that a minor fight, than you probably beat your wife and think nothing of it. My question, is why was he let out of jail if he was arrested and had prior arrest.

  • Questions

    Look up MGL 209a and read it. Read the entire law. Especially section 7 of the law. This section address enforcement and violation of a 209A. And when you read this section if you have ever sat in District court listening to the cases and happen to hear a violation of a 209a case. very seldom will you hear the Judge sentence the defendant to any of the punshments listed under the law. THis is especially true in Essex County. In fact in Essex County if you happen to be an abused individual and you call you local police department. I am sure the police will do all they can to help you. But when it comes to court you have to deal with the Essex County District Attorney Lawyers. And Good Luck to you there. These prosecutors will let your abusor walk free. They will make you feel like you have committed the crime byy reporting the abuse. You will again be victimized by the very people that are surpose to help you. The Victim witness advocate works for the District Attorney and that individual will follow the prosecutor’s lead. What is going on here is this. If you show up in court without a Knife sticking out of your chest and the defendants fingerprints on the knife and a video showing the defendant stabbing you with the exact knife that is sticking out of your chest. Then the Prosecutors of the Essex County DA’s Office is not going to believe anything you have to say. And they will disregard all the police reports too. They won’t call you a liar to your face, but the end of the day. And you will be made to sit there all day waiting. (no one will come to you and tell you what is going on) once you leave the court, having sat there all day with NOTHING getting done on your behalf and the defendant has been allowed to walk, hours ago. You will then realize that they do not believe anything you have said, written, or sworn to. That they do no care about the defendant’s prior violent back ground. And you will leave knowing you have again been victimized, this time by those that the LAW says are there to protect you. And why did this happen??? Well it happened because in Essex County if you are the victim of Abuse and you turn to the Essex County District Attorney’s Office for protection and support of a 209A. You better have proof positive evidence that abuse took place. You better have an open and closed case for the prosecutor to handle or you better have a lot of Money. My suggestion to any Woman in Essex County that is a victim of abuse is to call the police then get in touch with HAWC, as soon as possible. Follow the advice that HAWC gives you and take the help they offer. They will be the one source that will save your life, NOT THE ESSEX COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PROSECUTOR’S.

  • Questions

    And I don’t believe the law needs to change that much. I believe we need to really look at who is enforcing those laws. And that is not a hit against the police. I have seen the police do their job. They get the victim to court, they show up with the victim on a set court date, sometimes on their day off. They believe they have everything needed to help this victim at least send their abuser away for a few months maybe get the abuser into a program. And it never makes it to the judge. The prosecutors are the ones that shoot the case down. If they feel they are not going to win it. If they personal don’t believe the victim, for what ever reason they feel???? the case shouldn’t go forward. And the defendant walks……..AGAIN!!!!!!!!! It doesn’t matter what their criminal background shows!!!!!!!!!!! Who is the Prosecutor that let this murder go? Has anyone asked that?????? Ask yourself, you have a defendant in front of you for an allege violent act against his GF. You also have his criminal history in front of you which shows he does violent criminal history. Your the prosecutor, it’s your JOB as a prosecutor for the citizen’s of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is your job to uphold and apply the laws that protect those citizens. So do you let this guy walk or do you let the judge know about his violent criminal history and do everything you can to keep him behind bars. And if you fail to keep this violent individual behind bars don’t you at least have your Victim advocate call the victim and warn the victim about what has happened???? Of course that what should have been done. And sadly nothing will bring this woman’s life back or the thousands of victims that have lost their lives because …..Why the law needs to change????? I don’t think so…. I think people need to change…. common sense needs to be applied here not just the law!!!!

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