Decide jails 4X DWI defendant on $1M bond
A repeat drunk driver who slipped by the cracks quite a few instances might lastly have met a reckoning.
Mostafa Kamel Hendi, 35, faces 4 expenses of driving whereas impaired and a mile-long rap sheet of different expenses that embody rushing, open container, resisting arrest, cocaine possession, housebreaking, possessing a narcotic whereas jailed, failure to look and even stealing a canine.
“This explicit particular person may be very, very harmful.,” mentioned Ellen Pitt, a courtroom observer for MADD.
If finish of line didn’t come for Hendi in a Henderson County courtroom on Oct. 28, he might see it from there. Citing Hendi’s courtroom conduct, flouting of the legislation and lengthy legal document, District Court docket Decide Gene B. Johnson jailed the defendant on a bond of $1,060,000.
In a 13 findings of reality in assist of the excessive bond, the choose famous that he has seen Hendi many instances in courtroom. “Virtually each time, the defendant has needed to be addressed by courtroom safety” for violating guidelines or disrupting courtroom, he mentioned, including “it’s apparent” that Hendi “has no respect for the legal guidelines of this state or this courtroom … is a menace to society and represents a transparent and current hazard to this group.”
New legislation strengthens Justice of the Peace coaching
In Pitt’s thoughts, Hendi can be a poster youngster for what her group, the N.C. Convention of District Attorneys and the state’s Impaired Driving Process Pressure recognized as statewide failing. Too typically, she mentioned, magistrates launch DWI suspects on bond with out requiring them to put on a steady alcohol monitoring system. (Decide Johnson granted the district lawyer’s request to order Hendi to put on one, if he made bond. That had not occurred earlier than.)
“You’re nominated (as a Justice of the Peace) by the clerk of courtroom and appointed by the chief resident Superior Court docket choose however you’re supervised by chief District Court docket choose,” Pitt mentioned. “As a Justice of the Peace you’ve got 40 hours of fundamental coaching, protecting search and seizure, home violence, civil stuff, DWI. There was no obligatory requirement for them to ever take even yet another day of coaching and a few didn’t. We now have been battling this battle for 2 or three years.”
MADD, the DWI activity drive and the state’s prosecutors chalked up a victory when the Legislature enacted the legislation strengthening Justice of the Peace coaching.
“Our Western North Carolina legislators — they noticed it by and it’s a type of payments that went by unopposed as a result of all of them knew it needed to occur,” Pitt mentioned. Hendi, she added, “is a shining instance of why we needed to get that invoice handed.”
Pitt, who screens DWI circumstances in 17 Western North Carolina counties for Moms In opposition to Drunk Driving, traveled from Maggie Valley to Hendersonville on Oct. 28 to observe Hendi’s courtroom look.
After some confusion about whether or not Hendi would plead responsible to a few of his pending expenses, the defendant mysteriously vanished. His lawyer advised the choose he thought his consumer had stepped exterior to smoke a cigarette. After a lunch break, Hendi reappeared. Johnson despatched him to jail, the place he stays at present. Primarily based on his previous conduct, lack of respect for the legislation, dozens of pending misdemeanor and felony expenses and potential jail time he faces, Hendi is “a considerable flight threat,” Johnson mentioned.
Whereas she helps sobriety courts that information DWI defendants into rehab as a substitute of jail, Pitt isn’t satisfied that route would work for Hendi.
“If he was simply having the DWI downside and that was all, and if it was all the time alcohol and all the time the identical drug or one thing, therapy might be sooner or later for him,” she mentioned. “However taking a look at all his different crimes, I’m unsure that will be an choice for him. He most likely must spend slightly time alone. Perhaps this may get his consideration … I’m simply glad he hasn’t killed anyone but.”