Domestic Violence Defendant Requests Prison Transfer Due to Threats of Violence

A defendant in a domestic violence case expressed concerns regarding his safety in DC Jail, requesting transfer to the Correctional Treatment Facility (CTF). 

The defendant was charged on Jan. 26 with assault with intent to kill while armed in connection to a domestic violence incident.

“I really need your help, judge, ‘cause I’ve been going through a lot in the DC Jail,” the defendant said. “[They] told me if I go back, they are going to do evil things to me.”

DC Superior Court Judge Robert Okun had previously recommended the defendant be placed in CTF, but due to the court’s limited ability to direct the Department of Corrections, the defendant was placed in the DC Jail. 

“I’m just a target in the jail,” the defendant said on Aug. 5. “There’s a lot of evil things going on, I just want to be away from that.”

As of yesterday, the defendant was placed in solitary confinement. Judge Okun said it would be difficult to transfer the defendant due to the defendant’s placement in maximum security. 

Defense attorney Julie Swaney asked that jail staff keep an eye on the defendant, in light of the threats. “He has had a really challenging time mostly throughout his time in jail,” Swaney said. 

Swaney requested that the defendant be placed in CTF or another institution, citing the defendant’s repeated mental health difficulties. Swaney also recognized that, due to the circumstances of the case and the defendant’s homeless status, release would be difficult.. 

Prosecution was against release but held no objections to the defendant’s transfer. 

Judge Okun said he would contact DC Jail officials about the transfer, specifically recommending CTF. 

Swaney also submitted a motion to withdraw as counsel, citing a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship. 

Judge Okun agreed to the motion, and set a new hearing date pending the selection of a new defense attorney.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled to occur on Aug. 8 to ascertain new counsel.