Washington DC Law Firm Price Benowitz Exposes Cab Inspector With Multiple Felony Convictions

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Criminal background discovered during investigation of assault charges brought by inspector

The investigative team at DC-based law firm Price Benowitz, led by criminal defense attorney Shawn Sukumar, uncovered a DC cab (hack) inspector’s multiple felony convictions while scrutinizing a case involving one of the firm's clients. Unlike with taxicab drivers themselves, the District of Columbia does not appear to perform criminal background checks on hack inspectors, who are tasked with enforcing the rules of the city’s taxicab industry.

The inspector in question claimed that Mr. Sukumar’s client, a D.C. cabdriver, assaulted and threatened to shoot him during a routine stop in April 2013, an accusation that resulted in criminal charges against the cabdriver. However, over the course of Mr. Sukumar’s investigation, it was uncovered that the inspector had multiple felony convictions on his record for armed robbery and robbery with a deadly weapon.

"People entrusted by the city with the power to enforce laws and protect residents should be held to the highest ethical standards," said attorney Shawn Sukumar. "If we do not allow a convicted felon to work as a cab driver, we should expect no less from the uniformed inspectors who regulate them."

The charges against Mr. Sukumar’s client were dropped following the disclosure of the inspector’s felony criminal record. The inspector has been in his current position for four years; however, the case investigation revealed that he was hired by the D.C. Taxicab Commission less than three years after completing his probation.

Shawn Sukumar is a Washington, DC-based attorney with Price Benowitz who focuses on criminal defense. Prior to joining the firm in 2010, he clerked for the Public Defender’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Clark County Public Defender’s Office in Nevada. He received his juris doctorate from Emory University School of Law in 2008 and his B.A. from George Washington University in 2005.

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Justin Swain
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