STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS, LUNCH EDITION, MONDAY, JAN. 13

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

HARSHBARGER: GUV SHOULD "STAND UP, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY"

As he starts his final year in office, Gov. Deval Patrick is coping with problems at the state agency responsible for protecting abused and neglected children, in addition to prolonged computer woes that have made it more difficult for the unemployed to access services and for those needing insurance to sign up for it. Add the fallout from a drug lab evidence tampering debacle, and Patrick needs to "step up" his grip on state government, according to Scott Harshbarger, the former attorney general and 1998 Democratic nominee for governor. "His administration has got to step up here," Harshbarger said, providing analysis Monday morning on Fox25. "The trouble with being the last year of your term is people know there's a transition going on. Who's accountable? Who's responsible? This is where I hope the governor will do what he does so well. Stand up, take responsibility, Say, 'We're going to hold people accountable and get this thing done.' The Children and Families thing is outrageous." Analyst Rob Gray, a Republican operative, said state government controversies have so far not "stuck" to Patrick, but added, "I think you're starting to see a snowball effect . . . A lot of people see him out of state traveling and they want him to manage state government, not just to be the governor but to be a manager of state government." Following revelations of evidence tampering by disgraced drug lab chemist Annie Dookhan, Patrick named a special counsel to review all impacted cases. Administration officials are now trying to work their way through the IT problems, and officials last week hired the Child Welfare League of America to review operations at the Department of Children and Families, which lost track of 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver, a child under its oversight, who is missing and feared dead. - M. Norton/SHNS

DETECTIVE: CONDOM WRAPPPER FOUND IN REP'S RENTED CAR

Investigators found a Magnum brand condom wrapper in the back seat of Rep. Carlos Henriquez's rented car, though police never looked for the condom itself at the scene of an alleged assault and battery, according to testimony in court Monday. Henriquez attorney Stephanie Soriano-Mills has during the ongoing criminal trial to highlight discrepancies in the accounts given by Katherine Gonzalves, who accused the Dorchester Democrat of striking her across the face, grabbing her by the neck and punching her in the chest because he was allegedly upset that she would not leave with him early in the morning of Sunday, July 8, 2012. After the alleged attack, Henriquez allegedly took off with Gonzalves in the backseat and took her cell phone to prevent her from recording the interaction. Gonzalves jumped out of the car near Northeastern University in Boston, losing a flip flop, and claiming that Henriquez had stolen her phone's SIM card. In court Monday, Soriano-Mills said the appearance of a condom wrapper in the car might conflict with the allegation that Henriquez was angry that Gonzalves would not leave with him. Arlington Inspector Edward DeFrancisco said he was not aware of any forensic testing that was performed on the wrapper and said the wrapper was probably still with the Boston police. "Probably in Boston evidence," Soriano-Mills said. "You're aware that we're in the middle of a trial right now." In 45 minutes of cross-examination, DeFrancisco acknowledged that he had driven past the crime scene, but had not exited his vehicle and made no attempt to contact people in the neighborhood or attendees of a party the alleged victim attended before the incident. "You did absolutely no follow-up investigation as it relates to this matter?" asked Soriano-Mills. DeFrancisco said that wasn't entirely true and the follow-up is "not as cut and dry" as Soriano-Mills portrayed it. Gonzalves was testifying late Monday morning. - A. Metzger/SHNS