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DISTRICT BRIEFING

Friday, April 25, 2008

DISTRICT ATTORNEY

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

All HANDS ON DECK

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.

-- Allison Klein

SHOOTING ARREST

Man Is Held in Slaying Near Metro Station

District police arrested a suspect yesterday in the fatal shooting of a man near the Farragut North Metro station, officials said. Michael Jordan, 40, of no fixed address was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Edward Badenbaugh, 30.

Badenbaugh was shot late April 16 at 17th and L streets NW, shortly after he and a friend walked out of the Meeting Place nightclub.

-- Allison Klein

SCHOOL VOUCHERS

Bush Supports Expansion of D.C. Program

President Bush said yesterday that he will work to expand a federally funded school voucher program for D.C. students. He made the remarks at a one-day White House summit on inner-city children and faith-based schools.

Since 1994, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program has provided 2,600 low-income District children as much as $7,500 a year for tuition, transportation and fees to attend private or parochial schools. Bush said he will urge Congress to reauthorize the D.C. Choice Incentive Act, which created the program that will end after the 2008-09 school year, and expand it to allow more children to participate.

A report by the Government Accountability Office last year cited a lack of financial controls at schools that receive vouchers and a failure to ensure that participating schools are accredited.

"There's a lot of people who want their children to be able to take advantage of this program," Bush said.

-- Elissa Silverman

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