EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


June 19, 2014

Prosecutors cited security concerns over Chism hospitalization


On June 4, DYS clinical coordinator Kenneth Rogers filed a petition for a 30-day commitment to what is now known as Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital, a state facility, for evaluation and treatment. Judge Howard Whitehead granted the request.

The following week, prosecutors filed a motion and memorandum seeking a set of conditions and assurances that there would be adequate security while Chism is in custody at Worcester. The judge denied the request, saying he does not have authority to issue such conditions.

MacDougall, in the documents released yesterday, cited other cases in which lapses of security and a lack of notice to prosecutors led to “serious concerns regarding the level of supervision being provided by Worcester State.”

In one instance, a defendant was being given day passes to leave the hospital, without anyone from the prosecution or the court being notified. In another case, a defendant charged in a series of violent sexual attacks on women in public places was released to attend a parent’s funeral without prosecutors being notified.

In a Worcester County case, MacDougall said, a husband charged in the murder of his wife, deemed incompetent to stand trial, was on the verge of being released by the time prosecutors learned that the hospital was about to send him home, despite a court order that required he be held on bail. And when confronted with a conflict between a court’s order of detention and a treatment plan by the hospital, deference was given to the treatment plan.

The release of the documents, as well as their actual existence, was confirmed only yesterday, after Whitehead agreed to hear the motions by North of Boston Media Group, the parent company of The Eagle-Tribune and The Salem News.

Not only was the petition by DYS filed under seal, which is not an uncommon practice, but at the request of the District Attorney’s office so was the prosecutors’ motion and memorandum concerning security. And the discussion about the District Attorney’s request for security measures was conducted at the judge’s bench, out of earshot of a reporter who was present in the courtroom, at the request of both the prosecutor and Chism’s attorney.

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