Judge Denies Releasing Domestic Violence Defendant After Delay in Preliminary Hearing

DC Superior Court Judge Rainey Brandt denied the defense’s motion to release a domestic violence and sex abuse defendant after his preliminary hearing was rescheduled for Aug. 22. 

The defendant is charged with first-degree sex abuse for assaulting his former girlfriend, who is currently pregnant with their child. 

At the Aug. 9 hearing, Will Alley of the Public Defender Service, replaced Russell Hairston as defense counsel due to an administrative issue that prevented the preliminary hearing from going ahead as planned on Aug. 5. 

Alley filed an oral motion for the defendant’s release until the preliminary hearing, arguing that the defendant was concerned about missing work, had to support his pregnant girlfriend, and attend rehabilitation appointments for injuries to his ribs, neck and shoulder. 

“I have great concerns with releasing him to go back to facilitate that relationship,” the prosecutor said, explaining that the defendant’s girlfriend was the victim in question and expressing concern that the defendant would re-assault her. 

“He had his hands around her neck on the sidewalk until a bystander intervened,” she said. 

The prosecutor added that the defendant is on probation for three separate cases, one of which was a plea deal for misdemeanor sex abuse. The prosecutor said the plea effectively dismissed another case that involved the defendant’s former girlfriend. 

Alley argued that the victim would not be at risk because there is a stay away order from the victim and her residence. The defendant resides with his mother. 

“We’re not asking to modify the release conditions,” Alley said. “He would provide financial support through an intermediary.” 

Judge Brandt denied Alley’s request, citing the severity of the case as “a rape case” and questioning his “ability to follow directives” based upon at least two prior criminal convictions involving sexual misconduct and two cases in which his probation was revoked.

“What happens after the prelim, we’ll see,” Judge Brandt said. “The court will have the opportunity to see just how strong the government’s case is.”

The defendant interrupted Judge Brandt before she finished explaining her ruling. The U.S. marshals led him out of the courtroom as he shouted at the judge. 

Judge Brandt presided over the hearing in place of DC Superior Court Judge Milton Lee.