Our under-incarceration problem, violence against women edition

2 mins read


Last October, Ibrahim Bouaichi sexually assaulted Karla Dominguez with whom he reportedly had been in a relationship. He was charged with six felony counts and held without bond in an Alexandria, Virginia jail.

In April, a judge, Nolan Dawkins, ordered the release of Bouaichi due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. Bouaichi was 33 years old. The virus probably posed about the same threat to his health as the flu. Moreover, there had been no cases of the virus at the Alexandria jail.

Bouaichi’s lawyers argued that visits to the jail had been curtailed and that they needed to meet with their client. But all trials had been postponed.

The lawyers apparently did not seek relief from the curb on their ability to visit Bouaichi. Instead, they insisted on his release.

Judge Dawkins ordered Bouaichi to stay at home, to leave only to met with his lawyers, and to have no contact with Dominguez, his victim. But the judge did not order electronic monitoring of Bouaichi.

Less than a month after his release, police officers spotted Bouaichi in his car at a Wendy’s drive-through. He rammed his car into one of their cruisers.

For this, he was charged with multiple assault counts and drunk driving. But after spending one night in a Maryland jail, Bouaichi was released on bond.

You can probably guess the rest of the story. In late July, Dominguez was shot to death in Alexandria. The police issued a warrant for the arrest of Bouaichi on the charge of murder. He fled. When the police finally spotted him and moved in for the arrest, he killed himself.

Our criminal justice failed Karla Dominguez, just as it consistently fails the victims of thugs and predators like Ibrahim Bouaichi. As Bill Otis puts it, the operative ideology is “victims-are-collateral-damage-so-that’s-how-the-cookie-crumbles.” In this case, that ideology trumped even the need to protect women from violence.



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