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Before 2 p.m., Judge Joan Zeldon breezed through the Landlord Tenant Court hall, smiling and waving like a regular old Princess Diana of Judiciary Square. But the casual demeanor soon ended. It was time to put the robes back on.
Early in the afternoon’s proceedings, Lisa Dessel stepped up toward the bench. She represented claims by the DC Housing Authority.
Many of Dessel’s defendants were no-shows. But two particularly memorable people came up. One was Shakesha Belt, who was being forced to leave her subsidized unit because she’d been caught with drugs in somebody else’s drug-filled home.
“I was there to do the person’s hair. I had just arrived at the lady’s house, I didn’t even have a chance to sit down before the police came in, ” she stated.
But this wasn’t a simple wrong place/wrong time case. Belt also had some weed on her person when the cops raided the unit.
“So you weren’t exactly an innocent hair dresser,” said Judge Zeldon.