Jail for D.C. judge stalking
The ex-girlfriend of a D.C. Superior Court Magistrate judge was sentenced to more than five years in prison on Thursday for stalking the judge and breaking into her Northwest Washington home.
In an emotional and often complex hearing, Judge Russell F. Canan sentenced Taylar Nuevelle, 41, to the maximum sentence under the court’s guidelines. In February, a jury found Nuevelle guilty of stalking her former girlfriend, Judge Janet Albert, who oversees child neglect issues at D.C. Superior Court.
In September 2008, Nuevelle was found unconscious from prescription pills and wine, lying in Albert’s attic above her bedroom, with some food and a toilet fashioned from an ice bucket. Authorities said Nuevelle had been in the attic for more than 24 hours.
Albert, her voice shaking, pleaded with her judicial colleague to sentence Nuevelle to the maximum and spoke of how Nuevelle even “traumatized” her young son with unwanted visits to the house, phone calls and e-mails. Albert said the problems started when she ended the year-long relationship with Nuevelle.
“I was in a constant state of panic waiting for the next shoe to drop. I am emotionally battered by her actions,” Albert testified. Albert, sometimes in tears, said her life has forever changed because of Nuevelle’s actions.
Nuevelle apologized to Albert and blamed her actions on post-traumatic stress as a result of years of abusive relationships that began when she was a child. She maintained she was only trying to recover some of her belongings when she went to the house and was discovered in the attic. While there, she decided to end her life with pills, she said.
“It is clear I hurt Ms. Albert. There is no apology good enough. I hear her. I hear her suffering,” Nuevelle said.
Nuevelle said she began to “unravel” when she claimed Albert told her that she would use her authority as a judge to make sure Nuevelle never saw her son again. Nuevelle’s son is now 16 and is living with his father. Nuevelle said the conversation occurred after Albert found her in the house. Albert denies that she threatened to use her influence to affect Nuevelle’s family.
“I can’t take back what I’ve done. I am truly sorry,” she said.
Nuevelle’s attorney Latif Doman said the sentence was too severe and should never have made it to court in the first place. “The lesson of this is don’t have a bad break up with a lesbian judge,” he said in an interview after the hearing. “It means you go to jail for five and a half years.”
In giving his ruling, Canan acknowledged Nuevelle’s childhood abuse, but said the abusive relationships she had as an adult, were a result of her own actions. Canan called Nuevelle’s actions “outrageous” and said Nuevelle “set forth in any way she could think of to harass and stalk” Albert.
Washington Post editors
July 1, 2010; 4:36 PM ET
Categories: From the Courthouse , Keith L. Alexander , The District , Updates
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