News and Commentary Archive

Explore recent scientific discoveries and news as well as CLBB events, commentary, and press.

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The speed of technology in neuroscience as it impacts ethical and just decisions in the legal system needs to be understood by lawyers, judges, public policy makers, and the general public. The Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Law, Brain, and Behavior is an academic and professional resource for the education, research, and understanding of neuroscience and the law. Read more

More laws, more violence?

By Nancy Gertner and Emily Baker-White | The Boston Globe | April 21, 2014

MORE IS NOT a rational criminal justice policy. Whenever there is a horrendous crime, we respond, without fail, with more — more and more imprisonment, higher and higher penalties. Think Len Bias, the Celtics prospect, whose untimely death from drugs unleashed onerous drug penalties we now know did not make us safer and, worse, created an imprisonment rate which we can no longer afford. Now, it is Jennifer Martel, whose tragic death, allegedly at the hands of Jared Remy, has led to bipartisan shrieks for more punishment. More punishment surely makes us feel better; better yet, it plays nicely on the evening news or in gubernatorial campaigns. More imprisonment, however, does not mean less crime, especially with domestic violence.

In response to Martel’s killing, the Massachusetts House of Representatives fast-tracked legislation that includes measures that may well lead to more violence. It creates new offenses for first-time restraining order violations, first-time assaults and batteries on a household member, suffocation, and strangulation. It also increases penalties — including prison sentences — for these and other domestic violence offenses. It labels many of these offenses felonies. If passed by the Senate, it will surely lead to more people going to prison, remaining there longer, and being disabled by a felony conviction when they get out.

Read the full op-ed here.

For Jared Remy, leniency was the rule until one lethal night

By Eric Moskowitz | The Boston Globe | March 23, 2014

Jared Remy had glided through his first five criminal cases, but prosecutors thought the sixth one would be different.

Compared to what he had been charged with in the past — beating and choking his ex-girlfriend while she held their baby, cracking a friend over the head with a beer bottle in a jealous fit, elbowing and cursing out a police officer — the case that landed in Lowell District Court in January 2001 seemed minor: Threatening to commit a crime.

But for the first time, prosecutors had a victim willing to testify against Remy, son of one of the most beloved figures in New England.

He was 22 and could not keep a job or stay out of trouble. His parents had hired him the same high-priced lawyer who had prevailed over the district court prosecutors in Jared’s prior cases. So far that lawyer was five for five, sparing Remy jail time, a guilty finding, or anything more than temporary probation.

But prosecutor Joshua E. Friedman did not see Jerry Remy’s son as a young man with a record clean of convictions, charged now with a minor offense. He saw him as steroidal and entitled, violent and unrepentant. Tiffany Guyette, his alleged victim, saw him that way, too. She said Remy had been abusing her since she got pregnant by him at 15, four years earlier.

Since then, Guyette said, he had tried to push her from a moving car while she was pregnant, waited for her in the dark with a baseball bat, and repeatedly paged her with the number 187, street slang for murder.

Read the full article here.