Speaking of new travel arrangements, officials in the U.S. attorney's office are pondering exactly that as deadlines near for the office's move out of the federal and local courthouses here. All 200 attorneys and 150 support staff must go. The first to leave are those in the appellate and criminal division in federal court, who are to take up new quarters by mid-December or the first of the year.

A lease agreement tentatively has been reached with the owners of Judiciary Center, a new high-rise building at 4th and F streets NW, about three blocks from the D.C. Courthouse. Eventually, prosecutors and administrators for the federal court system will fill the first five floors of the building, said principal Assistant U.S. Attorney John Hume.

The transfer poses logistical problems, especially for busy prosecutors in D.C. Superior Court who will have to travel back and forth with witnesses and baskets full of case files.

Judges, accustomed to summoning prosecutors to their courtrooms with the snap of their fingers, will have to deal with significant delays, Hume said. But the office will have way stations in both courthouses, he said, and it is looking into a shuttle service.