By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A federal magistrate judge, over the objections of federal prosecutors and victims, has released a second key defendant from 24-hour home detention while he awaits trial on charges including 25 counts of second degree murder.
In a two-page order issued today U.S. Magistrate Jennifer Boal granted the request of Glenn Chin to be released from all day home detention. She did, however, slightly reduce the number of hours he will be able to leave his Canton, Mass. home.
Chin is one of 14 persons indicted in late 2014 following a two year federal probe of the 2012 deadly fungal meningitis outbreak cause by fungus laden steroids shipped from the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.
Barry Cadden and Chin were charged with the second degree murder counts. Boal already had granted Cadden's motion allowing him to leave his home during the daytime hours.
In her brief decision Boal said the law required her to impose the least restrictive conditions necessary to ensure Chin would show up for his trial, scheduled for Jan. 5 of next year,
"The court recognizes the seriousness of the alleged offense. However, at this stage of the proceedings, Chin is entitled to a presumption of innocence," Boal wrote, adding, "the sole issue before the court is whether the proposed conditions are the least restrictive conditions that will reasonably assure the appearance of the defendant as required."
She said Chin's compliance thus far decreases the risk of non-appearance.
Not mentioned in her decision were the arguments offered by federal prosecutors including the fact the Chin was first arrested as he and his family were about to board a plane for China. The prosecutor also noted that Chin and Cadden's motions to dismiss the second degree murder charges were turned down.
Under Boal's order Chin will be allowed to leave his home with location monitoring from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. He had asked for a 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily release period. Bail will remain at $50,000.
As with Cadden's request, victims of the 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak had asked that the request be denied.
Two other defendants in the case, Douglas and Carla Conigliaro late last week entered guilty pleas to a single charge apiece of violating a law requiring the reporting of bank transactions in excess of $10,000. Under their plea deal the two are unlikely to serve any jail time.
Carla Conigliaro was the majority shareholder in NECC. Her husband headed a related firm, Medical Sales Management, which marketed NECC products to health providers.