Norton Introduces Bill to Give D.C. a Local Prosecutor, Same Right Already Enjoyed by U.S. Territories
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced a bill to create a local prosecutor’s office, designated under local law, to prosecute all local crimes in the District of Columbia. Under federal law, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, a federal entity, is responsible for prosecuting almost all local crimes committed by adults here, the greater part of its caseload, in addition to prosecuting federal crimes. Norton noted that the territories of the United States all have local prosecutors to prosecute local crimes. Her bill effectuates a 2002 advisory referendum, approved by 82 percent of D.C. voters, to create a local prosecutor’s office.
“A U.S. Attorney has no business prosecuting the local crimes of a jurisdiction, an out-of-date status quo that harkens to pre-home-rule D.C.,” Norton said. “The overwhelming majority of the U.S. Attorney’s current caseload is local crimes. The U.S. Attorney for the nation’s capital should be committed solely to the important federal matters that come to this office. D.C. should solely be responsible for prosecuting local crimes. My bill simply gives D.C. the same authority that the states and U.S. territories enjoy as an essential element of self-government.”
Norton’s bill continues her “Free and Equal D.C.” series, a set of bills she will introduce as part of her strategy to give the District expanded home rule and equality while simultaneously pursuing statehood. Norton introduced her D.C. statehood bill, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act (H.R. 51), with a record number of original cosponsors (155), and it now has a record number of total cosponsors (192).