Judge nixes Kwame Brown’s travel request


Kwame Brown said allowing him to travel would offer “another opportunity to talk to young people about the value of obeying the law.” (Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post)

For four years, former D.C. Council chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) has led an annual bus trip taking dozens of D.C. high school students to attend a college recruitment fair in North Carolina. This year, Brown hoped to continue the tradition — even after pleading guilty to a felony bank fraud charge and resigning the chairmanship last June.

But it appears that Brown will not be leading the caravan this year. On Monday, the federal judge handling his case denied Brown’s request to loosen his home-detention conditions for 24 hours, thus allowing him to travel to the event in Tarboro, N.C.

Brown is serving a sentence of two years’ supervised release, which currently limits his travel to within the District and to the hours between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. He argued to U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon in court papers that permitting the trip would allow him to “continue the important work of taking these students from low-income families to North Carolina to talk to college recruiters” and offer “another opportunity to talk to young people about the value of obeying the law.”

Neither prosecutors nor probation officers opposed Brown’s request, but Leon denied it Monday without comment.

It is unusual that a judge would deny a request unopposed by authorities, but recall that Brown ran afoul of Leon last fall after he failed to comply with his presentencing release conditions.

Brown’s attorney, Frederick D. Cooke Jr., declined to comment on Leon’s decision. In court papers, Cooke said Brown is in compliance with the terms of his supervised home release.

(Hat tip to Zoe Tillman of National Law Journal for tweeting Leon’s order.)

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis · March 4, 2013