The Post's June 30 editorial "D.C.'s Senate `Friends,' " said that I was trying to amend the D.C. appropriations bill because I objected to the District government's offering its citizens a tax cut.

It wasn't the proposed tax cut that motivated me to want to change the D.C. criminal code. In fact, it was the case of twice-convicted murderer Leo Gonzales Wright.

When I read the inspector general's report on the actions of the police, the parole board and nearly the entire criminal justice system of the District of Columbia, I decided that something ought to be done to protect innocent people from violent criminals who are being released from prison early.

Leo Gonzales Wright was a convicted murderer who was on parole from prison, tested positive for drug use while on parole, but was judged by the parole board not to be a threat and therefore released back to the city streets. The result is that a young woman named Bettina Pruckmayr was murdered by this violent criminal.

I think it's outrageous that a criminal justice system in the District puts a violent criminal who tests positive for drugs while on parole back on the city streets. Violent offenders on parole who test positive for drugs should have their parole revoked. It's very simple. If that had been done in the Wright case, he wouldn't have been on the streets to be able to murder Ms. Pruckmayr. He would have been in the prison cell where he belonged.

My point about the tax cut was simply to say that if the city does not have enough money to keep violent criminals behind bars and keep neighborhood streets safe, then what on earth is it doing talking about giving tax cuts?

I have been in Congress for a good many years, and I have been very supportive of the District. I intend to continue to do that. But in this case, I feel perfectly justified in demanding a change in the D.C. criminal code to put violent felons behind bars when they are on parole and test positive for drug use.


U.S. Senator (D-N.D.)