Government Uses Wrong Statute to Prosecute Ex-D.C. Employee


On January 7, 2011, the D.C. Circuit threw out the conviction of former D.C. government employee Ikela Dean, noting that while she might be guilty of something, she was not guilty of the offenses for which she was indicted.

Dean, a former employee of the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, was involved with reviewing and processing license applications. In 2007, Dean began informing businesses that license fees could be paid by check, but that late fees had to be paid in cash. Dean submitted the checks for the licenses to the department but pocketed the cash submitted for the late fees.

Although Dean successfully kept the cash in the first seven applications that she processed, the eighth applicant was suspicious of the cash requirement for the late fees and notified the FBI, which set up a sting operation. The sting operation was successful, and Dean collected $1,275 from the “applicant” to cover the late fees. Dean was then arrested.

The trial court dismissed 12 of the 14 charges against Dean, but permitted the jury to consider two charges. The jury found Dean guilty of bribery and extortion. Dean was later sentenced to 27 months in prison.

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