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Harry Manion on D&C: Legal leniency toward Jared Remy was ‘breathtaking failure of the system’

03.24.14 at 11:33 am ET
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Legal expert Harry Manion joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the second chances given to Jared Remy, the son of Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy, that led to Jared allegedly murdering girlfriend Jennifer Martel. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Boston Globe published a piece on Sunday that detailed Jared Remy’€™s history of violence and the leniency of the legal system reaching back to Remy’€™s teenage years. According to the piece, Remy was arrested or brought to court as a defendant in 20 different cases but was found guilty just twice.

“Unfortunately, it’€™s all too common,” said Manion. “At the district court level, where there’€™s a great volume of cases, mostly criminal, the judges and the court system are overwhelmed with volume. There’€™s also a feeling there that you don’€™t want to take one bad act, whatever it might be, and ruin a person’€™s life. Hence the evolution of this whole second-chance problem.

“There are a volume of cases, and many of them are alcohol-related. It’€™s serious traffic, but there is some conduct that just shouldn’t be disposed of at that level. That’€™s what we really need to step back here and say, ‘All right, if there was a problem with a girlfriend at Weston High and he’€™s 17 1/2 years old, he’€™s 18 years old, OK. But that’€™s it.’ The reality here for the Martel family, the victim’s family and the people that lost Jennifer Martel, is if Jared Remy was where he should have been — which is behind the wall at [Massachusetts Correctional Institution] Cedar Junction for a long period of time — she would’ve been alive today.”

On more than one occasion, Remy received a CWOF (pronounced quawf), a continuance without a finding.

“œWhen you look at the docket — I’ve looked at hundreds of them, thousands of dockets — it’s not clear what his history is when you CWOF it — continuance without a finding, admit the sufficient facts — and it kind of disappears,” Manion said. “There’s also such a thing as pre-trial diversion. You can go in, you say, ‘€˜Look, I don’€™t have to even CWOF it, I’ll just go in and give him a second chance. Don’t do anything wrong for the next six months or a year and this goes away. We’ll dismiss it.’€™

“Jared got the benefit of all these procedural niceties, let’€™s call them, and he took maximum advantage of it. This is a breathtaking failure of the system, and I’m sure everyone that woke up and read this in New England felt the same way. It’s hard to have any sympathy for Jared Remy.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Red Sox news, visit weei.com/redsox.

On what would’ve happened if Remy’€™s parents had cut him off: “In my opinion, he would’ve been behind the wall and for some serious period of time. I have represented many, many families in similar situations, and my experience is the parents just never … most of the time don’t give up. When they throw their hands up on the 15th arrest, whether it’s drugs or it’s violence, whatever it is, it’s rare. … Most of the time parents just keep enabling him, and obviously, I’m sure the Remys feel awful about this, and I just — what can you say? It’€™s a tragedy all the way around. This is a very, very violent, bad person.”

On Jared Remy’s criminal record: “The problem with Remy is not that he was a scorned lover and obsessed and sent 200 emails. I’ve seen that movie a hundred times — both sides, female and male. It escalates into stalking and then it escalates into confronting with another boyfriend or girlfriend, but when it escalates to physical violence by a guy on steroids, a guy that weighs 200 pounds more than the victims and when you’€™re using a deadly weapon — a beer bottle — when it escalate to that, we’re in a different land.

“We’re not dealing with this as a sort of domestic disturbance down in the district court, we’re dealing with mayhem, felony aggressive behavior, and if we don’t recognize that and say let’s deal with it for what it is, which is felonious assault on a helpless victim, and prosecute it and say here’s what you get, you’re going to get found guilty of a felony ABDW [assault and battery with a deadly weapon], and first offense you get five years behind the wall. Next offense you get 25 years behind the wall because the only guarantee we have that you won’t do it to somebody else is if you’re behind the wall and go do it somewhere in Block 8.”

On Martel’s murder: “How did this last particular incident, how was it handled? Because it’s almost cause and effect. And unfortunately, it’s a very thorough piece, but they don’t address that. I think that’s where we need to look. I understand that Jennifer apparently was unwilling to go back and get a continuation of the restraining order — the emergency restraining order — allegedly after talking to the Remy family. It was very oblique in the article. That has to be looked at because that was the last clear chance for the system to save Jennifer Martel, and we failed miserably.”

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