Judge Releases Sex Abuse Defendant Into Home Detention, Continues Evidentiary Proceedings

A DC Superior Court judge released a sex abuse defendant into the High Intensity Supervision Program on Nov. 23. 

The defendant is charged with assault with intent to commit third-degree sex abuse and one count of kidnapping for allegedly attacking a stranger on the evening of May 22 on the 2900 block of Adams Mill Road, NW. According to court documents, the defendant allegedly held the victim to the ground, groped her and attempted to rape her before her screams caused him to flee.

On Nov. 5, defense attorney Rachel Cicurel submitted an emergency motion for immediate release due to unsanitary, unsafe, and unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Judge Danya Dayson took the motion under advisement during a Nov. 22 hearing. 

On Nov. 23, the defense said they had spoken to representatives from the Pretrial Services Agency (PSA) the previous night and that the defendant was found to be eligible for HISP. The prosecution maintained that the defendant was dangerous because the offense he is charged with was allegedly committed in broad daylight, there were people in the vicinity and the victim screamed so loud a woman in a nearby apartment building heard. 

The prosecutor also noted that because the victim, who did nothing to provoke the defendant, was a stranger to the defendant, a stay away order would not be applicable to protect the community and that essentially any woman in DC who is walking by herself would be at risk.

In response to the prosecution’s argument, the defense reminded the court that pretrial confinement should not be penal in nature and the seriousness of the offense does not warrant a release status that does not reflect existing legal precedent. 

Judge Dayson agreed, reiterating her point from a day prior that a substantial probability finding during a preliminary hearing “does not operate to trigger any legal presumptions regarding dangerousness”—a point the prosecutor already conceded on Nov. 22.

“I have a defendant who is 33-years-old and has no criminal record and has community ties as well,” Judge Dayson said. “There is nothing else in the bail sheet that would raise additional issues with regard to dangerousness.”

Judge Dayson released the defendant into home confinement with GPS monitoring, as well as a drug screening to be conducted by the PSA on a weekly basis. He will be staying with his family, who were present in the courtroom during the proceedings. 

Dayson paid particular attention to the points raised by the prosecutor surrounding the seriousness of the crime and requested the clerk that she be personally notified in the event the defendant were to violate a court order. “Make sure you have your stand-ins,” she told both parties in light of the holiday schedule in late December.

During the hearing Judge Dayson also denied a defense motion arguing that the Innocence Protection Act (IPA) precludes the prosecution from consuming an entire DNA sample. Dayson said the IPA, by its own terms, actually regards consumption as possible by accommodating certain testing methods in the statute language. She stated the prosecution would only be overstepping the existing legal precedent if they were to consume the DNA sample in bad faith or recklessly—through a process that was designed to violate or recklessly ignore the dangerousness of violating the defendant’s right to independently test DNA evidence. “I’m not persuaded there is authority for me to dictate or exercise any authority to dictate how the government carries out its testing,” Dayson said.

The prosecution also noted during the hearing that a pre-indictment plea offer had been drafted in September. The defendant will be able to reject or accept the offer on the record during his next scheduled court hearing on Dec. 17.