courtroom drama

Did a D.C. Judge Abuse Her Power to Protect Herself From ‘Stalker’ Ex-Girlfriend?

Normally, judges are fielding the relationship drama of the populace, handling restraining orders, custody battles, and separation of property. But in D.C., it’s Superior Court Magistrate Judge Janet Albert who’s in the center of things — accusing her ex-girlfriend Taylar Nuevelle (pictured), a convicted felon, of being a crazy person. Oh, and stalking.

Days after D.C. Superior Court Magistrate Judge Janet Albert broke up with her girlfriend, the judge found her former companion unconscious in her attic, above her bedroom, with some food and an ice bucket fashioned into a makeshift toilet, authorities say.

Investigators said Taylar Nuevelle had climbed into the attic through a door in Albert’s bedroom closet and had been there for almost 24 hours, listening to Albert’s telephone pleas to friends for help.

Now, Nuevelle is on trial on charges of burglary, unlawful entry and stalking. Prosecutors allege that she began stalking Albert and harassing with her with hundreds of phone calls, threatening e-mails and text messages after the two ended their year-long relationship in 2008. She faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

All that had Judge Albert in a different courtroom seat: the witness box, where she told a jury about how Nuevelle had her fearing for the safety of her nine-year-old son. But that doesn’t mean Albert is off the hook. Because when you’re a judge, and you have certain assets at your disposal, perhaps you might use them improperly?

But Nuevelle and her lawyer, Dorsey Jones, insist that Nuevelle was simply trying to recover some items that the two had purchased together when they lived in Albert’s home.

Nuevelle also alleges that she was harassed by U.S. marshals because Albert used her judicial position. And in a letter to the court’s chief judge, Lee F. Satterfield, Nuevelle wrote that Albert had used her influence to remove a child from a home — without the mother’s consent or a court order — and had the child live with the two women for almost six weeks. The girl’s biological mother, Nuevelle wrote, was in a psychiatric unit of a Washington area hospital.

We hate that phrase “it takes two to tango,” but in this scenario, where two women are throwing barbs at each other across the courtroom, both could end up punished.

[WaPo, Law.com]