TO: Manuel Leiva and Frank Salvato, Lawyers
RE: The death of Karla Dominguez.
Manuel and Frank, are you feeling proud of yourselves these days?
Are you high-fiving each other for getting your client out of jail?
Not because he’d been tried and found not guilty, but because of the pandemic?
Your client, Ibrahim E. Bouaichi (left).
The story was all over the media…
For one day.
In these crazy coronavirus times, I suppose it’s amazing the story received any coverage at all.
What’s one more dead woman?
Here’s what the media coverage had to say:
We’re going back to last October
On October 10 there was an “incident” in the apartment of Karla Dominguez, 31 (left). It was violent, and it was not consensual, she testified in Alexandria District Court in December.
The man she accused – your client, Ibrahim E. Bouaichi – was indicted on charges including rape, sodomy, strangulation and abduction, and jailed without bond in Alexandria, VA.
Manuel and Frank, your sympathy for the victim, Dominguez, was clear:
“‘The two individuals involved were boyfriend/girlfriend,’ the lawyers wrote, ‘and there is a substantial defense here.’”
Now, under Virginia law, those charged with certain violent crimes such as rape are presumed to be a danger and are not eligible for bond.
So Bouaichi languished in an Alexandria, VA jail…
And then came the pandemic.
Manuel and Frank, talk about opportunity knocking right on your door!
You decided that the virus was a danger to both inmates and to yourselves, and that Bouaichi should be freed awaiting trial.
You put together a motion for bond that asked for Bouiachi’s release because “social distancing and proper disinfecting measures are impossible while incarcerated.… Simply put, the risk of contracting Covid-19 in a jail is exceedingly obvious.”
Whoa! “Exceedingly obvious”! Talk about lawyerly language!
You also noted the risk for yourselves in the jail, saying that lawyers seeking a contact visit would “also expose themselves to contaminated air and surfaces.”
And you claimed that the Alexandria jail had “imposed severe restrictions on visitation since the Covid-19 outbreak,” that all contact visits (meaning no glass or separation between visitor and inmate) were stopped, and that the lawyers could only have video conference sessions lasting 30 minutes maximum.
A trial date had been set for Bouaichi, and you, Manuel and Frank, said he was “being effectively deprived of legal counsel.”
The Alexandria jail officials’ story differed from yours. They said that they do allow contact visits for attorneys upon request, and have accommodated several requests.
“However,” jail spokeswoman Amy Bertsch added, “we do not have any record of Mr. Leiva or his co-counsel requesting a face-to-face visit with Ibrahim Bouaichi after the protocols went into effect in late March.”
Imagine that. You, Manuel and Frank, were claiming that you couldn’t get a contact visit with Bouaichi, and the spokeswoman said there was no record of your requesting one!
How did this happen, I wonder?
“We have also provided video conferences in excess of 30 minutes,” Bertsch said.
Bertsch also said that the jail implemented increased cleaning and health screening in early March “and there were no cases of COVID-19 at the jail during their client’s incarceration.”
Nevertheless, on April 9, over the objections of an Alexandria prosecutor, Circuit Court Judge Nolan Dawkins released Bouaichi on $25,000 bond, with the condition that he only leave his Maryland home to meet with his lawyers or pretrial services officials.
And on April 9, Bouaichi walked out of jail.
Way to go, guys!
And I’m betting that you, Manuel and Frank, assured the judge that your client would do exactly as he was told.
Shortly before midnight on May 8, Bouaichi was away from home, but not to meet with his lawyers or pretrial services officials.
Instead, he was at a Wendy’s drive-through in Greenbelt, MD. Someone had reported Bouaichi to police as a possible robber. Police officers at the scene described him as “acting strangely,” and indeed, he was:
He put his vehicle in drive and rammed a K-9 officer’s vehicle, which an officer and a police dog were sitting in.
The officers eventually took him into custody, at which point Bouaichi reported having a medical issue. He was taken to a hospital, and then to the Prince George’s jail, where he was served multiple charges: two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of second-degree assault, harming a law enforcement dog, resisting arrest, driving while intoxicated and multiple traffic charges.
Bouaichi was released on bond from jail on May 11.
Manuel and Frank, the media stories didn’t say that you got Bouaichi released, but who else – but you?
And who else but you would be so caring and clever to not advise the Greenbelt police that your client was an accused rapist out on bond from Alexandria, VA, about 30 minutes away?
Way to cover for your client!
The media coverage doesn’t appear to mention Bouaichi again until the Alexandria police received a report of gunshots on Wednesday, July 29.
At 6:20am they found Dominguez outside her apartment, dead of multiple wounds to the upper body.
Police obtained a murder warrant for Bouaichi on Friday, July 31, but couldn’t find him until the following Wednesday, five days later.
On that Wednesday, August 5 morning, the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force and Alexandria officers spotted Bouaichi’s car in Prince George’s County. As they moved in to arrest him, he shot himself, Alexandria police said.
He died Saturday, August 8 at a local hospital, police said in a news release.
Manuel and Frank, did you know where your client was during those eight days?
You’re not saying.
You’re not saying anything, except this:
“Leiva and Salvato said in a statement they were ‘certainly saddened by the tragedy both families have suffered here.’ The lawyers said they ‘were looking forward to trial. Unfortunately the pandemic continued the trial date by several months and we didn’t get the chance to put forth our case.’”
What a bummer – you didn’t “get the chance” to put forth your case!
Just think of the website potential here!
Manuel and Frank, you could have jazzed up your ho-hum websites from this:
No need to mention that your client died before he could be tried.
No need to confuse people with the facts.
No need to mention this fact, either:
The Karla Dominguez, who accused your client of rape, is also dead.
What’s one more dead woman?