Friday, April 25, 2008


House Panel Considers Prosecutor Change

A House subcommittee held a hearing yesterday on a bill to give the District a locally elected district attorney.

In 2002, D.C. voters approved a ballot measure calling for a locally elected prosecutor, but the change requires congressional approval. The U.S. attorney's office in Washington functions as both federal prosecutor and local district attorney. The president appoints the U.S. attorney, subject to Senate confirmation. "The present system serves neither federal nor local concerns," said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), the bill's sponsor, in a statement.

The hearing, before the Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia, featured testimony from Robert Spagnoletti, the District's former attorney general, and Eugene Boyd, of the Congressional Research Service.

-- Mary Beth Sheridan


Police Chief Adjusts Plan for Patrols

D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier is altering plans for her upcoming "All Hands on Deck" crime-fighting program in response to recent spurts of weekday violence.

Lanier's plan, which she first used last summer, calls for heavier-than-usual police presence on certain two- or three-day stretches. The next "All Hands" runs May 2 to 4. Instead of having all available personnel work patrol that weekend, Lanier wants to reserve enough officers to maintain coverage during the week. About 160 officers agreed to shift their schedules.

The change follows a recent spike in violence in the 5th Police District, where several shootings have occurred on weekday afternoons.

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