D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield is having none of it. Here’s what set him off.
Departing D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier took a parting shot at the District’s criminal justice system, calling it “beyond broken,” a charge echoed by Mayor Muriel E. Bowser at their joint news conference held outside police headquarters this week.
Bowser blamed the “broken” criminal justice system on the split accountability for criminal justice between locally elected and federally appointed officials.
“I wish we had a more accountable system,” Bowser said. “Unfortunately sometimes I have to call people that report to the president of the United States to get answers.”
In an angry email addressed to the deputy mayor for public safety, Kevin Donahue, on Thursday, Satterfield fired back that it is Bowser who “mouth[s] off politically,” who has been missing in action.
Here’s the full text of the chief judge’s response:
The mayor keeps saying the justice system is unaccountable. By statute she is the chair of the CJCC [Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, an independent agency dedicated to improving the criminal justice system] so why has she never attended a meeting to see what the principals do there if she thinks that if she were paying the budgets of her federal partners which we know the city can not, she be able to create a better justice system then this city already has. Mendelson [Council chairman Phil Mendelson] and mcdufflie (sic) [Ward 5 council member Kenyan R. McDuffie] attend. I for one am exhausted hearing her mouth off politically about her hard working partners not being accountable to her as if they were the system would be better; and will start speaking out about it.
Lee F. Satterfield
Attempts to reach Donahue this morning for comment were unsuccessful. Calls to him were directed to the voicemail of staff in the mayor’s executive office, who did not respond to messages.