Deann Smith, the girlfriend of Jared Sullinger, isn’t interested in pursuing the charges (assault and battery, destruction of property, intimidation of a witness) filed against the Celtics forward earlier this month. And that would be very good news for Sullinger, if not for this.
The Middlesex district attorney doesn’t care.
Regardless of whether Deann Smith wants to pursue the charges, these charges are going to be pursued.
“The case is pending,” Stephanie Chelf Guyotte, director of communications for the Middlesex district attorney’s office, told the Boston Globe. “We believe we have evidence supporting the charges and we’re continuing to move forward.”
It’s a tough break for Sullinger. Obviously, it’s also a break that could have been avoided by simply keeping his hands off his girlfriend, and that’s the bottom line in all of this.
But at the same time, given his previous record (or lack there of) and the fact that Smith appears ready to move on, it was reasonable to think that Sullinger might be able to (hopefully) learn his lesson here without the case turning into something bigger and/or extending into the season.
But clearly, that’s not the case (pun not entirely intended). This isn’t over. Sullinger’s next pre-trial hearing is set for October 28, which is two days before the Celtics season opener in Toronto. And while the Waltham District Court appears committed to making Sullinger pay for his previous indiscretions, you can’t help but wonder how much of that has to do, in turn, with the previous indiscretions of the Waltham District Court.
Now there’s obviously never a good time to do what Sullinger allegedly did. That goes without saying, even though I just said it. But while there’s never a good time to be arrested for domestic assault, it’s hard to imagine a worse scenario than the where and when of Sullinger’s case.
Where: Waltham, MA.
When: The immediate aftermath of the Jared Remy incident.
As you remember, Remy had been brought before Waltham District Court only a day before the murder of Jennifer Martel, on charges of slamming her face into a mirror. Despite 14 previous arrests and a history of domestic violence, he was released without bail. The next day, he allegedly stabbed Martel to death in front of their four-year-old daughter.
The state of Massachusetts, specifically the Middlesex prosecutor’s office, received an enormous amount of criticism in the press — both local and national — as everyone wondered: Couldn’t this have been avoided? Weren’t the warning signs obviously there?
The office cited Martel’s lack of cooperation and unwillingness to renew her restraining order on Remy as a major factor in his release, but it didn’t matter much in the court of public opinion. They had taken a soft stance against domestic violence, and the consequences were tragic.
That was on August 19. On August 31, less than two weeks later, another very high profile domestic violence case found itself before Waltham District Court. This time, the stakes were considerably lower. Obviously. After all, other than the basic charge, the only thing Sullinger and Remy have in common is a first name. But either way, the case presented Middlesex DA Marian Ryan with a high profile opportunity to prove that domestic violence won’t be taken lightly in Waltham District Court, and it doesn’t appear that she’s going to let that opportunity slip away.
What happens next with Sullinger is still unclear. We probably won’t know more until he’s back in court on October 28. But in the meantime and forever after that, the lesson in all this remains the same: Just don’t hit women.
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