Middlesex DA Proposes New Anti-Domestic Violence Laws
New laws would help protect domestic violence victims.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone has proposed a series of laws aimed at addressing domestic violence and increasing the penalties against repeat batterers, according to a press release from his office.
Technically, state Sen. Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), Rep. Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) and Rep. Kate Hogan (D-Stow) filed the bills Friday, Jan. 21, after working with Leone.
The following is a press release from the District Attorney’s office. It has been edited for readability and clarity.
* An Act Providing for the Release of the Body of a Deceased Person to Family Members
* An Act Providing for Protection from Domestic Violence
* An Act to Permit the Setting of Both Cash Bail and Pretrial Conditions in Domestic Violence Matters
The bills, if enacted, would reform and strengthen currently existing laws against repeat batterers and provide additional safeguards for domestic violence victims.
“These three bills address significant gaps in our ability to properly serve victims of domestic violence and ensure that victims of repeat, violent domestic batterers are protected to the fullest of our abilities,” Leone said. “I’m proud to stand with Sen. Spilka, Rep. Dykema and Rep. Hogan as partners in our attempts to better serve and protect those who are victimized and seriously impacted by the traumatizing effects of domestic violence.
In the fall, Leone held a roundtable discussion on domestic violence, during which he said domestic violence is increasing statewide. During the forum, hecited the case of Thomas Mortimer, IV, who faces four charges of first-degree murder in connection with the quadruple homicide in his family's Winchester home, as an example of the trend.
Mortimer is accused of murdering his wife, 41-year-old Laura Stone Mortimer, her two children, 2-year-old Charlotte Mortimer and 4-year-old Thomas Mortimer V, and Laura's mother, 64-year-old Ragna Ellen Stone.
An Act Providing for the Release of the Body of a Deceased Person to Family Members addresses the attendant issues discovered in the aftermath of the domestic violence murder of Heather Alleyne, 19, of Framingham. Heather was allegedly murdered by her husband on August 9, 2010. The defendant and next of kin, Kyle Alleyne, refused to allow Heather’s body to be released to her family, the Marcheterres, for burial, causing the family incredible angst and frustration.
The bill would exclude the next of kin charged with the murder of a deceased victim from the order of priority of those to whom the decedent can be released.
The bill also addresses an issue that was discovered regarding the source of payment of legal fees and bail in the Mortimer Family murder. Since the alleged crime occurred, Mortimer has sought to use his children’s college fund to pay for his legal fees and bail. This bill would prevent a person charged with murder from accessing a family victim’s estate for their legal defense fees.
The second bill filed last Friday, An Act Providing for Protection from Domestic Violence creates a new aggravated assault and battery charge for repeat offenders which would be a felony punishable by up to five years in state prison. It only applies only when the victim is a household or family member and where the defendant has previously been convicted of certain enumerated crimes, which include sexual crimes and crimes that cause serious bodily injury.
This bill also amends the existing aggravated assault and battery statute to also include no contact orders issued as a condition of bail.
The third bill, An Act to Permit the Setting of Both Cash Bail and Pretrial Conditions in Domestic Violence Matters would allow judges to set a cash bail and pre-trial conditions for those accused of domestic violence. Currently, judges can only set pre-trial conditions of release or cash, but not both.
Secondly, this bill would allow for revocation of bail if a hearing determines an accused batterer has violated his conditions of release. Currently, there is no explicit provision that allows judges to revoke bail upon violation of the conditions set.