In an abrupt reversal, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan named two veteran prosecutors Wednesday to conduct an outside review of her staff’s handling of a domestic violence case last week against Jared Remy, who walked free after his arraignment, then allegedly killed his girlfriend the following evening.
Advocates for victims of domestic violence said they welcomed an independent review.
First Assistant Norfolk District Attorney Jeanmarie Carroll, a prosecutor for more than two decades, and Kevin Burke, a former Essex district attorney, will review factors that led to the recommendation that Remy be released without bail at his Aug. 14 arraignment, Ryan said.
Remy, who has a history of arrests for violence against women, is charged with fatally stabbing his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel, 27, last Thursday evening at the Waltham residence they shared. He is the son of Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy.
“The death of Jennifer Martel is a horrific tragedy, and it would be irresponsible for our office not to reexamine what happened,” Ryan said.
The announcement was an about-face from comments Ryan made Monday, when she rejected the idea of outside investigators in an interview with the Globe.
“The Middlesex district attorney’s office is fully capable of conducting a review of our internal processes,” she said at the time. Ryan was not available for comment Wednesday.
Asked about the reversal in light of Monday’s comments, MaryBeth Long, a spokeswoman for Ryan, said, “What DA Ryan said was that we were going to do an internal review, and that’s what we began in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy.”
During the course of that review, Long said, the office determined that an independent probe was the best course of action.
“We want to be transparent, and . . . we want to make any changes necessary to better protect victims,” she said.
Ryan has defended her office’s decision not to seek to have Remy held after the alleged assault, saying that prosecutors recommended Remy’s release with an order to not abuse Martel, based, in part, on a conversation prosecutors had with her and with Waltham police.
Remy had been released by a bail clerk Tuesday night after his arrest and was ordered to appear in court for an arraignment Wednesday morning.
A prosecutor also said in court last week they did not seek to have Remy held on bail after Martel “elected not to extend the restraining order and did not come to court on Wednesday morning.”
Advocates for domestic violence victims generally applauded the independent review, although one questioned whether it would be truly independent.
“We applaud her decision to bring in two highly respected investigators to review the matter,” said Martin W. Healy, chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Bar Association, which had called for an independent probe.
Toni Troop, a spokeswoman for Jane Doe Inc., a statewide advocacy group for victims of domestic and sexual violence, also welcomed the announcement, but said the independent team would benefit from having a police representative and a domestic violence program advocate.
But Wendy Murphy, a former Middlesex prosecutor and prominent victims’ rights advocate, questioned whether Burke and Carroll will be able to conduct a truly independent review.
“They’re good people,” Murphy said of the pair, adding “they really are what I would call establishment personalities.”
“And when I hear the word independent,” she said, “I think of a true outsider and someone who takes no prisoners.”
Attempts to reach Burke and Carroll were not successful.
Murphy said that beyond the planned review, officials must enact systematic reforms to the justice system to protect victims.
Christopher Loh, a spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley, also hinted at the need for policy changes in a statement in which he described the outside review as an appropriate step.
“We also are continuing to look over the domestic violence laws and policies in the Commonwealth to determine what changes should be made to better protect victims,” Loh said.
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