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Boston and Beyond

April 2, 2014

Martel case cited as impetus behind domestic violence bill

(Continued)

Last fall, DeLeo and Coakley traveled the state visiting anti-domestic violence programs to study to the problem and search for solutions that could be employed statewide. They spoke with prosecutors, advocates and victims.

The legislation would give prosecutors more tools to keep victims safe, Coakley said, including delaying the issuance of bail for offenders to provide victims with time to plan for their safety, and authorizing the revocation of bail in certain cases.

Prosecutors in the Remy case were criticized after Martel’s murder for not pursuing charges against him more aggressively in light of his violent history. Coakley said Remy’s case was an example of a system “that far too long allowed serial abusers to escape punishment or any consequences, and frankly has been unfair to victims.”

Coakley fended off criticism about defending Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan in the wake of the Remy case. In a press release issued Tuesday, Republicans said Coakley, who is running for governor, called criticisms of Ryan and demands for her resignation “utterly ridiculous” after the murder.

“I made comments when asked about the role of the district attorney and the role of the prosecutor in those cases,” Coakley said today. “We know there were a lot of things that went wrong in this case. But this was a case that indicated to us where there were gaps in the system around information that is available to prosecutors and judges.”

The legislation would address the serial abuser, Coakley said, and will help law enforcement better understand the dynamics of power and abuse involved in domestic violence cases.

“I hope that this conversation after this horrific case involving the death of Jennifer Martel will allow us to make these changes, not just because of that one case, but because unfortunately that case is too emblematic of issues and problems we have seen in the system for a long period of time. The truth is the circumstances surrounding Jennifer Martel’s death are all too common,” Coakley said.

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