The D.C. City Council, preparing to revamp the city's criminal code for the first time since the turn of the century, has scheduled an unusual series of eight public hearings to hear testimony on its proposals by legal experts and the general public.
Under the schedule announced by David A. Clarke (D-Ward 1), chairman of the council's Judiciary Committee, each hearing will be split into two sessions.
An afternoon session will hear testimony from experts on specific aspects of the law. An evening session will hear testimony from citizens of each of the city's eight voting wards.
The hearings will be based on a draft of a new criminal code prepared by the D.C. Law Revision Commission and submitted to Congress in March 1978.
At the end of 1979, authority over the criminal code was transferred from Congress to the D.C. City Council. After the hearings, the Judiciary Committee will consider possible changes in the draft code and recommend a final version to the full council.
The proposed code deals with crimes against persons and property, but not with so-called crimes against society, such as prostitution and gambling. It includes modernized definitions of crimes such as murder, rape and burglary, and would set stricter procedures under which judges would sentence defendants. a
Copies of the proposed legislation, council bill 3-226, are available from the Legislative Services Unit, Room 28, District Building, 14th and E streets NW. They may be seen at all branches of the D.C. Public Library, including the Washington Division, Room 207, of the Martin Luther King Library, 901 G St. NW.
Potential witnesses may contact Jill Sayenga of the council Judiciary Committee's criminal code project at 724-8138 or 724-8139.
Following is a list of the hearings and their topics:
Jan. 10, All Souls Unitarian Church, 16th and Harvard streets NW: 1 p.m., philosophy and scope of new code. 7 p.m., Ward 1 citizen testimony.
Jan. 24, District Building, 14th and E streets NW: 1 p.m., general provisions and such crimes as solicitation and conspiracy. 7 p.m., Ward 2 citizen testimony.
Feb. 7, Deal Junior High School, Fort Drive and Nebraska Avenue NW: 1 p.m., homicide and restraint offenses such as abduction. 7:30 p.m., Ward 3 citizen testimony.
Feb. 21, 4th District Police Headquarters, 6001 Georgia Ave. NW: 1 p.m., assault and sexual assault.7 p.m., Ward 4 citizen testimony.
March 6, McKinley High School, Second and T streets NE: 1 p.m., crimes against property, including arson, robbery, burglary and forgery. 7 p.m., Ward 5 citizen testimony.
March 20, Watkins Elementary School, 12th and E streets SE: 2 p.m., legal defenses against alleged crimes. 7 p.m., Ward 6 citizen testimony.
April 3, Woodson High School, 56th and Eads streets NE: 1 p.m., sentencing goals. 7 p.m., Ward 7 citizen testimony.
April 17, Covenant Baptist Church, 3845 South Capitol St: 1 p.m., sentencing structure. 7 p.m., Ward 8 citizen testimony.