Tracking Judges: Stats on Holds and Releases in June and July

Judges held at most 21 percent of defendants during their initial hearings at the DC Superior Courthouse in June and July.

Initial hearings are the defendants’ first appearance in court for charges that have been brought against them by the DC Government.

Between June 15 and July 17, four DC judges presided over the hearings, including DC Superior Court Judge Sean Staples, DC Superior Court Judge Heide Herrman, DC Superior Court Judge Juliet McKenna and DC Superior Court Judge James Crowell

Each judge is scheduled to hear all of the presentment hearings for an entire week, and D.C. Witness tracks the rates at which each judge releases and holds defendants when they preside over initial hearings.

Judge Staples presided over hearing during the week of June 14. He heard a total of 89 cases throughout the week, releasing 70 and holding 19 in DC Jail.

Judge Herrmann presided over two weeks: the weeks of June 21 and July 12. She heard the most cases, releasing 163 and holding 44 in DC Jail.

Judge Staples and Judge Herrmann released and held defendants at the same rate with a hold rate of 21.3 percent and a release rate of 78.7 percent. Their hold rate was much higher than Judges McKenna and Crowell.

Judge McKenna heard 81 cases over the week of June 28. She decided to release 71 defendants while holding 10 in DC Jail. She held the second lowest percentage of defendants, only holding 12.3 percent of all cases.

Judge Crowell presided over the week of July 5 and held the lowest percentage of defendants. He heard a total of 109 cases, releasing 96 defendants and holding 13.. He only held 11.9 percent of the cases he heard.

D.C. Witness follows the initial hearings every day in the DC Superior Court System, tracking which defendants are held, released, the nature of their charges, pretrial release conditions and whether or not COVID-19 plays a factor in whether the judge decides to release them or hold them in DC Jail. 

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