DC Judges Have Been Releasing Murder Suspects On Own Recognizance Without Bail

Holly Matkin

DC Metro Police Chief Peter Newsham warned that judges have been releasing murder suspects from jail pending trial.

Washington, DC – The police chief in the nation’s capital is not happy that DC Superior Court judges have been releasing murder suspects from jail while the cases against them are pending.

Washington Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham called the pre-trial releases a “very serious public safety issue,” WTTG reported.

Chief Newsham said that the practice of releasing accused murderers from jail on their own recognizance, or placing them on a “high-intensity supervision program,” is a “relatively new phenomenon.”

At least 17 murder suspects have been released from jail in recent months, according to WTTG.

Judges have already found probable cause in each of those cases, and many of the defendants have also been indicted by grand juries.

"Having someone go back into the community after being presented in the court and the court has determined probable cause, it shows the community that these folks go back to that the government is not keeping them safe,” Chief Newsham said, according to WTTG.

The police chief said he is particularly concerned about witness intimidation in such cases.

“It shows the community that they are, in some regards, powerless to address this. The person who goes back into the community can intimidate witnesses,” he told WTOP. “In my opinion, it’s very dangerous.”

According to Chief Newsham, a firearm was used in all but one of the 17 cases, WTTG reported.

"As the chief of police, I think it is going to have a negative effect on public safety – gun violence in particular,” he added.

Among the accused murderers who have been released from jail on their own recognizance is Tony Aiken, WTTG reported.

Aiken allegedly shot a woman as they were sitting in a vehicle outside the victim’s home in 2004.

He wasn’t charged with her death until 2018, and spent just 17 days in jail before the judge released him without bail.

"It was a kick in the face, it was a kick in the gut and I actually felt that," the victim’s mother, Deborah Evans-Bailey, told WTTG. "I never really understood it. From everything that I knew, I have always been told that if a person was arrested for murder, no bond, no bail."

In another case, 16-year-old Marquell Cobbs, one of 11 suspects accused of being involved in the 2018 murder of a 10-year-old girl, was released from jail to participate in the “high-intensity supervision program,” WTTG reported.

At least one murder suspect who was released from jail while his case was pending was back in custody just one month later.

Chief Newsham said that defendants shouldn’t have more rights than innocent members of society.

“I don’t think the right of that individual criminal defendant who has been, with probable cause, found to have committed murder, that his right [is] more important than the rights of all the other people who live in that community to be free from the fear of violence,” he told WTOP.

Defense Attorney David Benowitz said that releasing murder suspects is nothing new, and that police should do a better job in their investigations if they want to keep defendants in jail pending their trials.

"This not a new phenomenon,” Benowitz told WTTG. “My response to the police chief would be make better cases.”

“This is not some new development in the law. This is not some new development in criminal investigation,” he reiterated. “This is pretty basic judicial decision-making and is really an assessment of cases that is usually not too complex.”

D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin said that judges must consider multiple factors when deciding whether or not to keep accused killers in jail.

"There are many considerations that go into a judge’s decision to detain a person who is presumed innocent, including whether the accused has a criminal record, and whether there is strong evidence of guilt at the time the decision is being made,” Morin told WTTG in a statement.

Morin noted that decisions must adhere to the D.C. Bail Reform Act, and that judges are not permitted to “detain a person with no prior convictions charged with murder solely upon a finding of ‘probable cause.’”

“Any suggestion to the contrary is wrong,” Morin noted. “People may have differing opinions about judges’ decisions, but our democratic system depends on an independent judiciary that is free to make difficult decisions according to the law and not be influenced by criticism from others, including by public officials.”

Comments (37)
flybynight
flybynight

What could possibly go wrong?

No. 1-21
Excalibr4
Excalibr4

"DC Chief Says Judges Releasing Accused Murderers Ahead Of Trial Isn't Safe"

Ya think?

1BigHunter
1BigHunter

Don't you just love the scumbag lawyer spouting off "make a better case" against his scumbag client. That's so easy when the "neighborhood" won't talk for fear of being intimidated or killed. So here's a suggestion for a new Bail Reform Act. Every defendant that is released gets keys to the judge's house and his lawyer's house. That should let us know who is and who is not guilty or a danger to the public...

JBoH
JBoH

I've actually heard of people who have been arrested, charged and indicted for murder being released on recognizance. I've also heard that it didn't end well for witnesses.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

In 1982, Chief Judge Morin assisted in establishing and worked at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, Georgia. The Center was established to provide representation of indigent persons charged in capital cases or under a sentence of death, and to train lawyers to provide such representation.

In 1984, Chief Judge Morin returned to the Washington Metropolitan area and accepted a position with the Office of the Public Defender for the State of Maryland to undertake representation of defendants in the lead death penalty cases in that state.

From 1986 until his investiture in 1996, Chief Judge Morin was a partner in the law firm of Fisher, Morin & Hansen, located in Washington, DC where he specialized in the area of the defense of serious criminal and death penalty cases.

BLT2020
BLT2020

Judges get a free pass especially when they are sick liberals!

NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

Gee, you guys act as if the defendants killed someone! Oops, they did!

LostAllSanity
LostAllSanity

This is just more social justice BS. Witnesses need to be told to prepare for the inevitable...and to drop by the PD a few days after the problem is resolved for an administrative report.

DR226
DR226

Looks like an arrogant asshole. Release those dirtballs in his backyard see how he feels about that.

vwiles34
vwiles34

I think they misspelled that judges name. It should say Moron not Morin.

Cduncanf
Cduncanf

It’s working out as well as New York

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

Apparently they are taking some lessons from NYC

Cop Watch
Cop Watch

what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty? i forgot copsuckers don't respect due process! unless it is a cop that has been charged! then it is let due process do it's thing because cops can do no wrong!

bryantrent
bryantrent

Crazy

magnumforc
magnumforc

I suppose if one of these cretins murdered a judge's family while on release they might be more concerned for public safety. Than again, maybe not.

Stanracer
Stanracer

STOP VOTING IN BLEEDING HEART, HUG-A-THUG, POLICE HATING, CRIMINAL LOVING, LIBERAL JUDGES!!!!! Problem solved.

JACQUEWB
JACQUEWB

There must be Democrat Idiot Judges up there.
I think that we should go back to the old ways giving justice to criminals. If they kill a person they should they should be killed immediately. An Eye For An Eye.

LAW169
LAW169

Do we have to invent a higher form of constitutional muster to supersede probable cause? Maybe we can add to the 4th Amendment a 4.1 section. The quote from D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Robert Morin below is disgusting:

“‘ judges are not permitted to “detain a person with no prior convictions charged with murder solely upon a finding of ‘probable cause.’”

For murders, the old west had a quick solution. HANG EM HIGH. Now this is just as wrong as releasing a murderer to pose an imminent danger to the witnesses and other innocents.

If we don’t wake up and stop this communist movement within our judicial system, we’re going to fulfill Nikita Kruchev’s 1959 prophecy to bury America from within. George Soros is funding judges and prosecutor’s campaigns to get rid of bail in our courts. Someone like a Seal Team needs to stop him too.

tuggingalong
tuggingalong

The judge may be a racist pig bc the chances are good that the murderers are black, they were arrested for killing another black person, and once released, they’ll murder another black person.

RunCop
RunCop

17 murder suspects....do we even need to ask? (Criminal) justice reform bullshit

natoj
natoj

This shouldn't even warrant a discussion because it just shouldn't be allowed. The defendants are all calling the shots it come to that. It's a free for all out there and the scum know that they can get away on some sort of plea deal or just set free all together. Is it any wonder that the morale of the PO are in the basement and that they just don't care anymore because whatever they do its just going to get shot down one way or the other.


News

FEATURED
COMMUNITY