Two Hearings Vacated Due to Technical Difficulties

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DC Superior judges vacated two Jan. 29 hearings – one for a triple homicide case and another for a domestic violence case – in part due to technological issues. 

Both courtrooms had trouble accessing information related to the hearings, including the court calendar, official documents and emails. 

The first vacated hearing was a preliminary hearing to determine if the case against Dale Benjamin has enough evidence to go to trial. Benjamin, 33, is charged with second-degree murder while armed in the deaths of Marquise Lewis, 29, Claudette Williams, 56, and Juwan Wade, 20. The three were found dead on the 5000 block of Bass Place, SE on the morning of July 7, 2020. 

In addition to the technical difficulties, Judge Neal Kravitz rescheduled Benjamin’s partially remote preliminary hearing due to the defendant’s possible exposure to COVID-19. Benjamin will have to test negative after quarantining for two weeks before appearing in court.

A court reporter was also not able to attend Benjamin’s hearing. 

The domestic violence defendant’s status hearing was also vacated by Judge John Campbell due to issues accessing court information as well as audio and video complications. 

The defendant is charged with assault on a police officer after an alleged altercation with a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer on Oct. 21, 2020. 

The defendant is currently being held at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, DC’s psychiatric institution. 

Judge Kravitz set Benjamin’s new preliminary hearing date for March 5.

The domestic violence defendant’s next court date, a bond review hearing, is scheduled for Feb. 5. 

Eileen Chen and McKenzie Beard wrote this article.

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