The Massachusetts Bail Fund, an organization known for their motto of “Free Them All” and infamous past scandals including the posting of bail for many violent criminals and sex offenders, has done it again. They landed themselves in the spotlight earlier this week when they posted a $100K bail for 33-year-old Marie Merisier, the woman charged with attempted murder after prosecutors say she left her hours old newborn in a double-knotted bag in a trashcan outside a pizzeria on Dorchester Avenue – an act that was caught on camera.
Even those in support of the organization have called them out for overstepping in this instance aside from the fact that, per their website, they normally limit their contribution to $5K. What has come more under scrutiny is that with the release of Merisier, the accountability for her mental health treatment and welfare can no longer be monitored and guaranteed. Underlying mental health issues are very likely present in the instance of a mother attempting to kill her child, but due to the structure and oversight of being held for trial now eliminates that guarantee that she will receive proper treatment. A statement issued by the fund stated that they were concerned about “her urgent mental health and healthcare needs”, but failed to specify or elaborate on having a plan in place to address those needs. Concerns over the lack of planning were followed with concerns about her ability now to refuse treatment – sparking the question of this woman’s likelihood to potentially hurt herself or others. The fund called for “compassion” during this time; however, it is hard not to question the irony of that statement when their actions led to removing her from a position to receive adequate and timely care.
This isn’t the first time the Massachusetts Bail Fund has come under fire. Their tattered history includes the assistance in releasing known violent criminals and sexual predators. During the summer of 2020, the fund posted a $15K bail for Shawn McClinton – a convicted level-3 sex offender who was facing new charges of rape. McClinton was rearrested on new charges that he kidnapped, beat, and raped a woman less than a month later. This past July the fund posted $85,000 to free Karmau Cotton-Landers, age 25, who was charged in a brutal daylight shooting on Boston Common in early April. In addition to these two dangerous and violent criminals, the fund also bailed out Otis Walker, who has been held on three counts of child rape since 2018, David Privette, who faces charges of holding up a gas station at gunpoint, and Walker Browning, who is accused of robbing five women some of which were at knifepoint.
With all of this said and done, the Massachusetts Bail Fund has yet again not just shown itself as an anti-justice organization, but also what some may even argue a culpable conspirator in the future crimes that their clients commit. Justifying the release of known violent criminals and sexual predators is irresponsible. As they stray further from their primary mission to help the underprivileged, usually minority persons of color, pay minimal bails for non-violent crimes, the questions should be asked, when is enough enough? In the words of the former Commissioner of Boston Police, William Gross, “It is a total injustice… I have no doubt that some of the violence is attributable to [the MCF]… I would never deny anyone the opportunity to be bailed… but what about the victims? We keep forgetting about the victims. They have constitutional rights too — to walk down the street, to be secure in their homes”.