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Raymond E. Bradshaw, Jr v. United States

November 1, 2012


Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia On Emergency Motion for Summary Reversal of Detention Order (CF2-15984-12) (Hon. Frederick Sullivan, Magistrate Judge) (Hon. Heidi Pasichow, Trial Judge)

Per curiam.

Before BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY and BECKWITH, Associate Judges, and NEWMAN, Senior Judge.

Opinion for the court PER CURIAM.

Concurring opinion by Associate Judge BECKWITH at page 11.

Concurring opinion by Senior Judge NEWMAN at page 14.

Raymond E. Bradshaw, Jr. seeks Summary Reversal of an Order of the Superior Court detaining him without bond pursuant to the provisions of D.C. Code § 23-1322 (b)(1)(C) (Supp. 2012). Concluding that the trial judge did not clearly consider the statutory requirements of the "nexus" between past conduct and whether there exists "a serious risk that the person will . . . threaten, injure, or intimidate, [or attempt to do so as to] . . . a prospective witness," we remand for the trial court to further consider this issue.*fn1

On September 13, 2012, Bradshaw was charged by information with solicitation of murder, in violation of D.C. Code § 22-2107 (A). At the request of the government, he was held without bond pending a detention hearing. Several hearings were held thereafter.

Raymond Bradshaw has been married to Cheryl Bradshaw for twenty years. They are estranged having lived separate and apart since 2010. In May of 2011, Cheryl Bradshaw filed a complaint for absolute divorce. She is now the alleged victim of the murder solicitation leading to a criminal complaint against Raymond Bradshaw.

At a hearing on September 19, the government presented evidence that on September 1, 2012, Mr. Bradshaw complained to his sister, Joyce Christian, about his unsuccessful attempts to place voodoo and "root work curses" on his estranged wife. He complained to her "this shit ain't working" and that he was going to have to "take a contract" on her. He asked Christian whether her sixteen-year-old, mentally handicapped son could perform the murder since he "wouldn't get much time." He later asked his niece, Yvette Street, whether she "knew of anyone that could assist with having his wife killed." There was evidence that Mr. Bradshaw had discussed having his wife killed since 2010, saying that if he could not have her, nobody else could. When Ms. Bradshaw was advised of the murder solicitation by Christian, she contacted the police and applied for a civil protection order. She advised the police that Mr. Bradshaw "has the money and means to hire" a contract killer. She also informed the police that Mr. Bradshaw used to go around looking for her at her home, place of employment and church, at various times, including the middle of the night, because of her efforts to prevent him from knowing her whereabouts.

With respect to the pending divorce proceedings, there was evidence that Mr. Bradshaw failed to show up for certain court proceedings and "would make up excuses about being sick or having other appointments, taking care of other matters." Ms. Bradshaw was of the opinion "[t]hat's why they're still going through their divorce."

Mr. Bradshaw presented no evidence. Based on the above showing, Judge Sullivan found probable cause that Mr. Bradshaw had solicited the murder of his wife and ordered him further detained pursuant to D.C. Code § 23-1322 (b)(1)(C).*fn2

On September 20, by motion, Mr. Bradshaw sought reconsideration of his detention, contending that the government had failed to satisfy both the future danger requirement and the requisite connection between his conduct as alleged and Ms. Bradshaw's status as a prospective witness. The government filed a written opposition urging that Mr. Bradshaw's conduct "truly signals that the defendant threatens to engage in future criminal conduct" (emphasis in original) in light of the pending divorce proceedings and that killing Ms. Bradshaw would result in her inability to be a witness in those proceedings. Pursuant to an order from the court, the government made a supplemental filing outlining the events which it contended justified detention.

Hearings were held on Mr. Bradshaw's motion on September 21, 24 and 27. Based on the evidence presented and submissions during those hearings, as well as the evidence presented at the initial hearing on September 19, Judge Pasichow found that detention was authorized by § 23-1322 (b)(1)(C) based on: 1) clearly established probable cause for solicitation of murder; 2) Mr. Bradshaw's history of "severe depression with acute suicidal" thoughts; 3) prior abusive behavior toward Ms. Bradshaw; 4) threats to Ms. Bradshaw in 2010; 5) threats to kill Ms. Bradshaw and himself in February 2011; 6) his efforts to halt the divorce proceedings which make it clear that he is suffering the consequences of the separation initiated by his wife; 7) his jealous pronouncement that if I can't have her, no one can; and 8) stalking and harassment of Ms. Bradshaw, her family and friends.

This appeal and Emergency Motion for Summary Reversal followed. As aforesaid, Mr. Bradshaw contends: 1) the evidence fails to establish the necessary "nexus" between his conduct and Ms. Bradshaw's status as a prospective witness in the divorce proceedings as is required by ยง 23-1322 (b)(1)(C), citing Covington v. United States, 698 A.2d 1033 (D.C. 1997), and 2) the trial court did ...

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