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Not guilty plea in Adams Morgan case

Washington Post editors

The woman charged with driving drunk and slamming her car into two pedestrians in Adams Morgan earlier this month, pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter Tuesday in D.C. Superior Court.

Prosecutors originally charged Chamica M. Adams, 23, of Mitchellville, with aggravated assault and driving while intoxicated in the Sept. 8 incident. But when one of the two pedestrians, Julia Bachleitner, 26, died on Sept. 14, prosecutors upgraded their charges to manslaughter.

Authorities said in court papers that Adams had a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit for driving in the District.

Adams, who had no previous DWI arrests, faces as much as seven years in prison, according to District sentencing guidelines.

Magistrate Judge Kimberley Knowles said the case would be moved to Judge Michael L. Rankin, one of the judges who oversees felony cases.

At Tuesday's hearing, Knowles asked why Adams had not undergone mental health and drug assessment, which had been ordered by the court during an earlier appearance. Through her attorney, James W. Rudasill, Jr., Adams said she planned to go to the assessment later Tuesday and did not know the assessments were mandatory.

Adams remains free, but was under high-intensity supervision and home confinement.

-- Keith L. Alexander

By Washington Post editors  | September 28, 2010; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  From the Courthouse, Homicide, Keith L. Alexander, The District  
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Seven years? Are you kidding me? Out in 3 for good behavior?

DC: a great place to kill somebody.

Posted by: mendelsonmustgo | September 28, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

My guess is 7 years is the max under the manslaughter charge.
To upgrade to vehicular homicide the prosecution would likely have to show some type of intent.
Doesn't seem like much for having taken a life're right.

Posted by: BigDaddy651 | September 28, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I live in Adams Morgan and I'm not surprised by this event. I remember seeing a car side swipe another car on one of the residential streets and just kept driving. And this wasn't a quick thing, everyone stopped and looked because of the crushing sound it made and the idiot just kept driving. All I could think was they have to be drunk. I've came out to my car and my entire trunk was dented in, my side mirror hanging and other craziness. They think its so funny to drive drunk but then when someone gets killed then they realize how stupid that was. I had a family friend who was hit by a drunk driver with her 4 year old in the back seat. He was strapped in just as safety regulations would require. But they hit them so hard that he was killed instantly. What is so hard about either calling for a ride or just staying in your car until you sober up. I've done both.

What needs to happen are more random road blocks checking for drunk drivers in the area. Especially with an event like this happening. But not just over around Columbia and 18th. Somewhere around Florida and 18th now. I love living in Adams Morgan but I'm sad to say that I'm not surprised by this event at all!!

Posted by: mimi5251 | September 28, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Trust me she hasn't began to feel the mess she has gotten herself into, until they sentence her and she's away from her child for 7 years. People that drink and drive must think that the World stops when they get behind the wheel of a car. I've been drunk a few times and when I get to my car I placed the keys under the passenger side and I'll sleep the drunkness right off of me. I would hate to kill someone and end up in Central Cell telling some guy who just murdered 2 people, that I'm in for drunk driving and killing someone too.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | September 28, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

She won't take responsibility? Give her the max, and let her serve every day of it.

Posted by: jckdoors | September 28, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

So, if I don't want to take a judge ordered drug test, I can just say "I didn't know you REALLY wanted me to." And then drive back home until the trail!?
Remand her.

Posted by: Hypocritic | September 28, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Ms. Adams should have been jailed for ignoring the first court's ruling. DC's judicial system is a joke. Drunk drivers are always getting away with murder.

Posted by: skinfreak | September 28, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Her attorney had her plead not guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Just what charge did he think she should have been charged with? She was drunk, no doubt about it. She hit and killed a person while driving drunk. Is the attorney going to try to pin the blame on the victims or the city?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | September 28, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

Chamica - I hope you read this. How are you not guilty? Was it not you in your car that struck the two women? You are a waste of space, a waste of a life, and I hope your case goes before a jury or the toughest judge in the DC Court system. Your allegation that you "didn't know" you had to go through testing is telling about the amount of brain power you possess. I don't think there is an attorney anywhere who can get a judge or a jury to accept a not guilty plea. You are beyond what is considered a piece of trash.

Posted by: ramsheadtavern | September 28, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Don't worry. She's before Judge Rankin, who is notorious for harsh sentences and a heavy bias towards the prosecution. She'll get hers.

Posted by: secretchimp | September 29, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know whether there are separate charges for hitting the second pedestrian and/or for DUI?

Posted by: myrna38717 | September 29, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

In addition to Myrna's question, my question is - will her trial be one by jury? Sorry if I missed that.

And, she is 100% responsible, but also needing to bear some responsibility is the bar that served her. We can keep doing this, keep paying for extra police service, trials, lives - or we can face the facts and insist on more maturity and responsibility from Adams Morgan's and the city's bar owners.

The choice is ours.

Posted by: sugarstreet | September 29, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

@sugarstreet...I think the responsibility lies solely with the driver. People need to be responsible for their own actions. I don't see how a bar can determine who is driving and should be cut off and who is cabbing or walking. If a person is obviously sloppy drunk cut them off, but many people can be legally intoxicated without showing alot of signs of it and it shouldn't be the bar's or bartender's responsibility to guess a patrons mode of getting home.

Posted by: dcguy20001 | September 29, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it should.

Posted by: sugarstreet | September 29, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

It is especially sad that people held a candlelight vigil for the dog killed by MPD but NO ONE held a vigil for the woman killed by Ms. Adams!!!! What is wrong with people that value dogs more than people???

Posted by: admomaven | September 30, 2010 12:16 AM | Report abuse

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