Bella Bond: House Speaker Robert DeLeo may propose DCF overhaul | us news

Bella Bond: House Speaker Robert DeLeo may propose DCF overhaul

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Baby Bella’s accused murderer may want case moved.

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. The identity of “Baby Doe”—Bella Amoroso Bond, the 2-year-old girl whose decomposing body was found wrapped in a garbage bag on the shoreline of Boston Harbor in June—is now allegedly known after months of investigation.The attorney representing the man accused of murdering Bella Bond isn’t sure whether his client can get a fair trial in Boston, and said he is mulling the idea of asking the court to move the case elsewhere. “At some point, I suspect that might be appropriate given the blizzard of activity, which is not likely to die down right away,” said Jonathan Shapiro, who represents murder suspect Michael P. Baker told reporters that one of his top priorities is revamping the intake policy for the Department of Children and Families, which he said hasn’t been updated in a decade.

The policy covers the process that happens from the time an allegation of abuse or neglect is reported to DCF to the decision whether it will be investigated and eventually opened as a case. “The single biggest issue I see at DCF … is you have a lot of really well-intentioned, hardworking people but you have nowhere near as much consistency with respect to what I would describe as the playbook that people should be relying on and working with,” Baker said. Other crime experts put that total closer to 40,000—a total that includes the unidentified remains of people who weren’t necessarily victims of a crime. He said it’s “a huge problem” that the state doesn’t update protocols for in-home services for child welfare workers and social workers every year or so to include protocols that work and remove those that don’t.

The large number of unidentified bodies has been described by the National Institute of Justice as “The Nation’s Silent Mass Disaster.” Of the 12,356 cases identified by NMUPS, about 85 percent remain open. McCarthy, 35, was held without bail yesterday while Bond, 40, was held on $1 million bail on an accessory after the fact charge, which carries a maximum seven-year prison sentence. Baker said he plans to not only come up with new protocols but to make sure they’re followed and adjusted as needed. “I want DCF to understand all the way to the ground, every single employee of the agency, what it is we’re trying to accomplish, how it is we’re trying to accomplish it, how we as an administration plan to support that, and then how we’re going to measure how we’re doing on following through on it,” he added. The roughly 15 percent that have been closed aren’t necessarily actually solved; in this situation “closed” can sometimes just mean that authorities are no longer actively investigating the cases.

You’re not going to avoid pretrial publicity.” “Changes of venue are so extremely rare, and there is a high barrier to leap over,” Elikann said. “There could be a problem in this case because it is so highly publicized, everywhere. Where do you go to find a jury that hasn’t heard of this case?” Meanwhile, the judge who presided over yesterday’s arraignments has an interesting connection with one of the defendants – he represented the dead toddler’s mother in an unrelated case more than four years ago.

Kaplanes, who was a private criminal defense attorney before taking the bench in 2013, signed off on Rachelle Bond’s guilty plea on a drug-related case, according to court documents. The cases were then closed. “Despite all these people who’ve now come forward and said I had issue A or issue B or issue C, I wish, I really wish somebody had picked up the phone and called DCF and raised this and reported some of their concerns,” Baker said. “These cases, these kids, as a parent, break my heart.” House Speaker Robert DeLeo also wants an update from DCF on its policies. He said Bella’s death exposed what he called “broader failures within the system.” DeLeo said Monday that he wants DCF to give House lawmakers details on actions they’ve taken since the 2013 case of Jeremiah Oliver, a 5-year-old Fitchburg boy who went missing from his home after social workers lost track of him and whose remains were later found alongside a state highway.

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