Marian T. Ryan

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Marian T. Ryan
District Attorney of Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Assumed office
Appointed: April 2013 Elected: November 2014
Preceded by Gerard Leone
Personal details
Born Age 62–63[1]
Cambridge, Massachusetts[2]
Nationality American
Political party Democratic Party
Alma mater

Emmanuel College

Boston College Law School
Occupation Lawyer
Website http://middlesexda.com/

Marian T. Ryan is the District Attorney (DA) of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. She serves as the Commonwealth's only female District Attorney.

Early life and education[edit]

Ryan was born in Cambridge, MA, and raised in Somerville, MA.[2] She graduated from Emmanuel College in 1976,[2] and Boston College Law School in 1979.[3]. After graduation from law school, Ryan began her decades-long career in the Middlesex DA's Office. She served in multiple leadership positions, including Chief of the Domestic Violence Unit, and later, Chief of the Elder and Disabled Unit.

In 1980, she was assaulted during an attempted armed robbery in which her boyfriend,[4] Edward T. Bigham III, also an Assistant District Attorney, was shot and killed.[5]

District Attorney[edit]

In 2013, Ryan was appointed Northern (Middlesex County) District Attorney by Governor Deval Patrick[6] after Gerard Leone resigned to become a partner at the law firm of Nixon Peabody.[7] In 2014, she faced a primary challenge from Michael A. Sullivan, the Middlesex County Clerk of Courts. After winning the primary election, she ran uncontested in the general election.[8]

Controversies and Criticisms[edit]

Withholding Exculpatory Evidence[edit]

Under Marian T. Ryan's tenure as Middlesex County District Attorney, the Office has twice been accused of withholding exculpatory evidence (evidence that might raise doubt about the accused's guilt) resulting in dropped charges after the information was eventually released.[9] One example stems from a "shaken-baby" homicide case where Aisling Brady McCarthy was accused of killing the one-year-old for whom she had been caring. She was charged after one prosecution medical expert initially concluded that the one-year-old had suffered injuries, including severe bleeding in the back of the eyes, which indicated abusive head trauma, also known as shaken baby syndrome, according to the expert.[10] McCarthy was put in custody without bail following her arraignment and prior to trial.[11] While investigating the case, prosecutors sought the opinion of Dr. Alex Levin, an eye specialist, on whether the injuries to the baby’s eyes indicated abuse.[12] In a series of phone calls starting in August 2013, Levin expressed hesitation about coming to that conclusion.[13] He told prosecutors that his findings raised the possibility that the baby’s injuries might have been caused by something other than abuse — an immune disorder called Job Syndrome — according to a court document.[14] In spite of the fact that United States and Massachusetts Supreme Court law, Rules of Criminal Procedure, and attorneys' ethical guidelines unequivocally require that any evidence that might raise questions of guilt must immediately be turned over to the defense,[15] Marian T. Ryan's office did not release all of the information they had on the subject for 16 months following the first phone call with Dr. Levin.[16] Charges were eventually dropped, but not before McCarthy had been held without bail for over a year. Marian T. Ryan conceded that the information in question "should have been released sooner."[17] Marian T. Ryan's office was criticized for similar reasons in another, earlier, case involving a similar set of facts involving the death of a six-month-old baby and charges against Nathan Wilson. [18] In the latter case, the doctor working for the prosecution told reporters that when he told Marian T. Ryan's Office that he wished to reverse his earlier ruling that the death was a homicide, "Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and her office “bullied” him to stick with the original homicide ruling, even though new evidence made that conclusion not “honest.”" [19]

Criticism of the Office by the United States Supreme Court[edit]

In Caetano v. Massachusetts, the United States Supreme Court criticized Marian T. Ryan's office for its decision to prosecute a woman for her decision to protect herself against her abusive and violent ex-boyfriend with a stun-gun.[20] Supreme Court Justice Thomas Alito, a former federal prosecutor, lambasted Marian T. Ryan's office in the United States Supreme Court decision reversing the conviction of the woman, stating in the decision that “[a] State’s most basic responsibility is to keep its people safe.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was either unable or unwilling to do what was necessary to protect [the defendant], so she was forced to protect herself.  To make matters worse, the Commonwealth chose to deploy its prosecutorial resources to prosecute and convict her…”  .[21]

Criticism by Subordinates for Poor Management and Leadership[edit]

Fifteen months after her appointment as District Attorney by Governor Deval Patrick, 66 of about 240 of Marian T. Ryan's former employees had left the office.[22] According to one veteran homicide prosecutor who had recently left the office at the time of comment, “[t]he employees of the Middlesex DA’s office are deeply committed and extremely hard-working despite the current executive leadership who often treats them in demeaning and disparaging ways . . . It’s mismanagement to treat them in a harsh, demeaning way and mismanagement to base supervisory decisions on the fear of media criticism.”[23] Many other former prosecutors interviewed asked to remain anonymous and then generally reported a "culture of dysfunction at the office," stating that they left Marian T. Ryan's Office "because they were concerned about how the office was being run."[24]

Independent Review finds Marian T. Ryan's Office "Deficient" in Failing to Pursue Information about Murderer's Past Prior to Murder

34-year-old Jared Remy was arrested for assault and battery on Jenna Martel on August 13, 2013, just two days before she was found dead in the couple's apartment in Waltham, Mass.[25] He was released on his own recognizance following that arrest and there was no active restraining order between the two at the time of Martel's death.[26] The Middlesex District Attorney's office was criticized for failing to ask the arraigning judge to continue to hold Remy on the domestic violence charges due to his history of run-ins with the law.[27] CBS Boston NewsRadio 1030 reported Remy has 13 criminal complaints against him since 1998.[28] Six of those are reportedly for assault and battery.[29] Court documents obtained by CBS Boston show Remy was charged with assault and battery on three other women in 2005, 2003 and 1998.[30] Ultimately, the Middlesex District Attorney's Office's handling of the case was independently reviewed. According to the review, “Remy’s domestic violence criminal history, the facts in the August 13th, 2013 police report, and the fact that there was a young child in the home were not given sufficient weight, while the victim’s decision to not come to court to extend the emergency restraining order or to request further conditions was given excessive consideration in the evaluation.”[31] When the Boston Globe requested the independent reviewers' report, Ryan purposefully (and admittedly) withheld 19 pages, which included summaries of interviews with prosecutors and victim advocates about the Aug. 14, 2013 arraignment of Remy following his arrest for smashing Martel’s head into a bathroom mirror.[32] Included in those missing pages was the table of contents, according to the Boston Globe, thereby "making it impossible for the public to know that portions of the review were excluded."[33]

Personal[edit]

Ryan resides in Belmont, Massachusetts,[34] with her husband, Michael J. Foley.[35] Together they have two children;[36] her son serves as her campaign manager.[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Levenson, Michael (23 April 2013). "Governor names prosecutor as next Middlesex DA". Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c "Notable EC Alumni: Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan '76". Emmanuel College. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  3. ^ Frattaroli, Jessica (Summer 2014). "How Zealous Is Too Zealous?". Boston College Law School Magazine. Boston College. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  4. ^ Levenson, Michael (23 April 2013). "Governor names prosecutor as next Middlesex DA". Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "Commonwealth v. Evans, 390 Mass. 144, 454 N.E.2d 458 (1983)". Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  6. ^ Levenson, Michael (23 April 2013). "Governor names prosecutor as next Middlesex DA". Boston Globe. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  7. ^ Favot, Sarah (20 March 2013). "Leone to resign as Middlesex D.A., join Brown at Boston law firm". Lowell Sun. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  8. ^ http://lex-wiki.org/wiki/State_Politics:2014_Middlesex_DA_Election
  9. ^ "Middlesex DA's office shows troubling attitude about evidence - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  10. ^ "Middlesex DA's office shows troubling attitude about evidence - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  11. ^ "Middlesex DA's office shows troubling attitude about evidence - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  12. ^ "Middlesex DA's office shows troubling attitude about evidence - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  13. ^ "Middlesex DA's office shows troubling attitude about evidence - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  14. ^ "Middlesex DA's office shows troubling attitude about evidence - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  15. ^ "Exculpatory evidence". Wikipedia. 2017-09-24. 
  16. ^ "Middlesex DA's office shows troubling attitude about evidence - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  17. ^ "Middlesex DA's office shows troubling attitude about evidence - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  18. ^ "Medical examiner's notes suggest he was 'bullied' by DA - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  19. ^ "Medical examiner's notes suggest he was 'bullied' by DA - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  20. ^ Volokh, Eugene (2016-03-22). "Opinion | Unanimous pro-Second-Amendment stun gun decision from the Supreme Court". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  21. ^ Volokh, Eugene (2016-03-22). "Opinion | Unanimous pro-Second-Amendment stun gun decision from the Supreme Court". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  22. ^ "Middlesex DA Marian Ryan faces criticism over office polices, treatment of subordinates - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  23. ^ "Middlesex DA Marian Ryan faces criticism over office polices, treatment of subordinates - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  24. ^ "Middlesex DA Marian Ryan faces criticism over office polices, treatment of subordinates - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  25. ^ "Review: DA mishandled Jared Remy case before murder". Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  26. ^ "Review: DA mishandled Jared Remy case before murder". Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  27. ^ "Review: DA mishandled Jared Remy case before murder". Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  28. ^ "Review: DA mishandled Jared Remy case before murder". Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  29. ^ "Review: DA mishandled Jared Remy case before murder". Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  30. ^ "Review: DA mishandled Jared Remy case before murder". Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  31. ^ "Review: DA mishandled Jared Remy case before murder". Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  32. ^ "District attorney withheld 19 pages of Remy report - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  33. ^ "District attorney withheld 19 pages of Remy report - The Boston Globe". BostonGlobe.com. Retrieved 2017-10-31. 
  34. ^ "2014 Democratic Primary Candidates". Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  35. ^ "Marian T. Ryan & Michael J. Foley – Land Records from Southern Middlesex Recorded/Registered Land" (PDF). Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  36. ^ "Robert L. Ryan, Sr". Somerville Times. 8 September 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 
  37. ^ Feathers, Todd (2 November 2016). "Area officials pledge to donate funds in law-firm scandal". Lowell Sun. Retrieved 12 August 2017. 

External links[edit]