After Disrupting Hearing, A Convicted Felon Receives 11 Year Sentence

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On March 22, a non-fatal shooting defendant was sentenced to 132 months of incarceration before DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan

Dominic Copeland, 33, was convicted of assault with intent to kill while armed, three counts of possession of a firearm during a crime of violence, aggravated assault knowingly while armed, and unlawful possession of a firearm for his involvement in a non-fatal shooting on the unit block of N Street NW, on April 26, 2019. One individual was injured during the incident. Copeland was acquitted of robbery while armed and one count of possession of a firearm.

During the sentencing hearing on March 22, the prosecution requested the maximum sentence for Copeland and said that Copeland had intent behind his actions. The prosecutor also began to address Copeland’s involvement in a previous case. 

However, Copeland interrupted the prosecutor with an angry outburst.

“The attorney keeps on saying fabrications,” Copeland said. “You’re still allowing him to insult my intelligence.”

Judge Raffinan reminded Copeland that he would get an opportunity to speak but would need to stay quiet while the prosecutor was speaking. 

After another outburst by Copeland, he was taken out of the courtroom, and Judge Raffinan ordered a temporary recess. This is not the first time Copeland has interrupted proceedings with an outburst. On Jan. 3, Judge Raffinan continued a sentencing hearing after Copeland had an angry outburst and was taken out of the courtroom. 

When the parties returned to court, the prosecution said that Copeland’s criminal history had been accumulating to a dangerous level. 

Copeland’s defense attorney, Michael Madden, requested the minimum sentence as Copeland has been struggling with mental health issues and would receive treatment during incarceration. Madden also said that Copeland has a support system he can return to after incarceration.

When Judge Raffinan gave Copeland an opportunity to speak, Copeland explained that he didn’t believe the verdict was fair and attributed the decision to prejudice and racism. 

“I really don’t understand how the jury came up with a guilty verdict,” Copeland said. “It’s laughable. I’m laughing inside.”

Judge Raffinan took into consideration Copeland’s criminal history and mental health issues. She sentenced Copeland to 11 years of incarceration and five years of supervised release. Copeland must also register as a gun offender. 

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