Many domestic violence cases are treated with leniency. Oftentimes, the alleged abuser is jailed for a few hours and then released, which allows the cycle of abuse to continue. Sadly, in some cases, the victim is seriously hurt or even killed by the suspect. Massachusetts is hoping to change this situation by creating a bill that will call for harsher penalties, including delayed bail.
When a person is accused of domestic violence, it is typically not a one-time situation. There is typically a history of violence, as well as patterns and indicators that should be thoroughly reviewed before releasing the person from custody just hours after an arrest.
The bill was created after the son of Jerry Remy, a broadcaster for the Boston Red Sox, was arrested in August 2013 for stabbing his girlfriend to death. He had just been released from police custody after facing assault charges.
The bill will be introduced to the House soon. It will mandate training for court personnel on domestic violence issues. It will also require that the alleged abuser be held in custody for a minimum of six hours. If the person is granted bail, there must be a written statement outlining the possible risks involved with his or her release.
Judges would also have access to an alleged abuser's criminal history. There would also be new categories of crimes created with harsher penalties involved.
Because this bill will impose stricter penalties, it's important for those accused of domestic violence to have a solid defense. If the allegations are proven true, a person could face serious consequences. Even though someone has been charged with a crime doesn't mean that he or she is actually guilty. It is the prosecutor's responsibility to prove that the defendant's actions support a guilty verdict beyond a reasonable doubt.
Source: Boston.com, "Bill calls for tougher domestic violence penalties" Bob Salsberg, Apr. 01, 2014