Case Details


Criminal Jurisdiction

Filing State



U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit




Washington v. District of Columbia, 2012 D.C. App. LEXIS 504 (D.C. Ct. App. 2012).


DC AGO cannot prosecute a case where US Attorney separately failed to comply with speedy trial requirements, resulting in dismissal of related charges

Case Description

In the District of Columbia, the prosecutorial authority is divided, with the D.C. attorney general’s office (AGO) prosecuting some minor crimes, and the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia (USAO) prosecuting most other criminal violations. Unbeknownst to each other, both the AGO and the USAO filed charges against defendant, who had injured people during a police chase, before separate judges in the District of Columbia courts. Defendant was incarcerated in Maryland and unavailable to face charges in D.C., so the USAO lodged a detainer, pursuant to the Interstate Agreement on Detainers (IAD). The defendant invoked his right to speedy trial under the IAD, which requires that a defendant be brought to trial within 180 days. The USAO failed to bring him to trial within that time, and the charges were dismissed with prejudice. The OAG pursued its case against defendant for reckless driving and leaving after colliding. Defendant’s counsel moved to dismiss the charges, citing the dismissal by the USAO. The trial court denied the motion, and defendant was convicted of all charges brought by the OAG. He appealed. The OAG argued that the OAG never consented to the USAO’s prosecution of the D.C. Code charges for reckless driving and leaving after colliding, so its case should go forward. The D.C. Court of Appeals disagreed, reasoning that DC should not get two bites at the apple just because it has prosecutors with overlapping authority. Allowing the OAG to re-prosecute charges in this situation would undercut the statute’s purpose of inducing compliance with speedy trial requirements in future cases.”