WASHINGTON, D.C. – A judicial nominee selected by President Joe Biden – who had previously released a man who later was involved in the murder a 10 year-old child – was rejected for his proposed post on the U.S. District Court of Washington, D.C. after he failed to garner enough votes from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
After failing to persuade enough members of the Judiciary Committee to vote for him for the District of Columbia District Court, the nomination of Judge Todd Edelman – who currently serves on the Washington, D.C. Superior Court – will expire when the current 117th Congress ends in January.
Biden had originally nominated Edelman in September, but the judge’s previous gaffe while he was presiding over a 2020 trial involving Christian Wingfield – a man on trial for illegal possession of a firearm – appeared to haunt him throughout the Senate’s confirmation hearings.
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While awaiting trial, Wingfield was released by Edelman with a GPS monitoring ankle bracelet instead of forcing him to remain in custody; Wingfield, almost immediately after his release, was involved in the shooting death of 10 year-old Davon McNeal in July 2020, ironically while at a “stop the violence” BBQ cookout. Wingfield would go on to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
Edelman was questioned about his judgment in releasing Wingfield last month by the Senate Judiciary Committee, with Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-YN) noting that Edelman knew of Wingfield’s history as a violent criminal but chose to turn him loose anyway, despite a judge in a previous case refusing to release him because he posted a “safety risk” to the community.
“When you made the choice to release Mr. Wingfield, you knew these following facts,” Blackburn said. “You knew that he had multiple arrests for illegally possessing a firearm. And you know that he had been identified as the person who, on another occasion, had been shooting a gun in the street at 1 p.m. in broad daylight.”
Edelman responded that he felt that the charge of illegal gun possession was a “non-violent” crime.
“We want our judges keeping criminals behind bars, not setting them free into our communities,” Blackburn would later say in a statement. “A child is dead because Judge Edelman didn’t do his job, and now he wants a promotion. I cannot support a nominee who has shown such reckless disregard for his duty to keep Americans safe.”