The United States District Court for the District of Columbia
Individuals and businesses facing government investigation or criminal prosecution in the District of Columbia should hire experienced counsel to protect their interests. HHM has experience in a wide variety of federal criminal areas and a strong presence in the District of Columbia.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (D.D.C.) was established in 1863 and sits in the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse. Appeals from the D.D.C. are heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit—the exception being patent claims filed against the federal government under the Tucker Act, which are appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
The District of Columbia currently consists of one Chief Judge: Beryl A. Howell;
- Emmet G. Sullivan
- Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
- James E. Boasberg
- Amy Berman Jackson
- Rudolph Conteras
- Ketanji Brown Jackson
- Christopher R. Cooper
- Tanya S. Chutkan
- Randolph Moss
- Amit P. Mehta
- Timothy J. Kelly
- Trevor N. McFadden
- Dabney L. Friedrich
- Joyce Hens Green
- Thomas F. Hogan
- Royce Lamberth
- Paul Friedman
- Gladys Kessler
- Henry H. Kennedy Jr.
- Richard W. Roberts
- Ellen Segal Huvelle
- Reggie Walton
- John D. Bates
- Richard J. Leon
- Rosemary M. Collyer
Federal Criminal Prosecution in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
The D.D.C. does not have a local district attorney or equivalent; thus, any local prosecutorial matters are considered under the jurisdiction of the United States Attorney for the District of Columbia. Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) are responsible for the prosecution of both federal crimes as well as crimes that would usually be discretionary by the local state prosecutor if one existed. Due to this unique organizational structure, the D.D.C. has the largest U.S. Attorney’s Office in the United States, comprised of over 350 AUSAs.
By law, the U.S. Attorney is tasked with prosecuting both federal offenses as well as serious crimes committed by individuals in the District of Columbia. Accordingly, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia acts as both the federal prosecutor and the local district attorney. The Attorney General of the District of Columbia, who is elected by citizens of D.C., solely prosecutes local civil litigation and minor infractions. The current U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia is Jessie K. Liu, who was nominated by President Trump and confirmed by the Senate in September 2017. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia prosecutes a wide variety of crimes, including:
White Collar Offenses
The Fraud and Public Corruption Section handles white collar crime and public corruption offenses, major consumer fraud and identity theft, health care fraud, tax violations, corporate and securities fraud, mail and wire fraud, computer hacking, and intellectual property crimes.
The Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section oversees all criminal and civil forfeiture matters for the Criminal Division. The mission of the section is to enforce compliance with the laws of the United States by using criminal and civil forfeiture, and money laundering charges, to disrupt and deter criminal activity, to dismantle criminal enterprises, and to deprive criminals and criminal organizations of illegal proceeds and instrumentalities of crime.
Project Safe Neighborhoods is an initiative that establishes a program for reducing gun violence in the District of Columbia. Building upon the success of Operation Ceasefire, Project Safe Neighborhood develops a more comprehensive, multifaceted strategy, designed to focus on those persons committing violent offenses with the use of firearms, the firearms they employ, and the communities that have fallen prey to gun violence. The program consists of five core elements: partnerships, strategic planning, training, accountability and outreach. The community outreach component will continue to build upon established collaborative efforts and partnerships in order to deliver our anti-gun, anti-violence message to both the community at large as well as to the offenders that commit firearms-related crimes in our City.
The Metropolitan Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives regularly trace all firearms recovered in the District of Columbia. In 2003, law enforcement agencies seized 1,931 guns from the streets of our City. There have been a number of instances in the past few months where gun traces have provided the conclusive evidence required to present firearms charges against offenders. In one such instance, two individuals got into a scuffle with employees at a restaurant in the Adams Morgan section of DC. The offenders left the establishment and were later seen in a vehicle. Upon seeing the suspects and confirming they committed the assault, the officers arrested them and located a firearm under the passenger seat. Subsequently, the ATF traced the weapon, and discovered that it was purchased a few months earlier by the defendant who was seated in the passenger seat of the vehicle. As a result of this evidence, the defendant pled guilty to both the assault charge and the gun possession charge. This is one of many examples where gun tracing has provided the necessary evidence to hold criminals responsible for their actions and make the streets of our city safer.
Assistants assigned to this section are responsible for the investigation and prosecution of complex federal cases using conspiracy, continuing criminal enterprise and RICO statutes in order to target and disable the most significant violent gangs and major narcotics traffickers in the District of Columbia. The mission of this section is to stem the flow of narcotics and other dangerous drugs into the District of Columbia by eliminating the drug distribution networks at their sources and to prosecute violent crime cases under federal law. Junior assistants in rotational assignments in the section prosecute arrest-generated narcotics and firearms offenses that give rise to mandatory penalties under the provisions of the United States Code. These cases generally arise from undercover operations, the execution of search warrants, or the interdiction of drug couriers at public transportation terminals.
Federal Sex Crimes
The USAO for the District of Columbia has both a Sexual Assault Unit and Victim Witness Assistance Unit comprised of specially-trained sexual assault prosecutors and victim advocates who, along with personnel within the Violent Crimes Section, handle the bulk of cases involving federal sex offenses.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is a member of the DC Sexual Assault Response Team (DC SART), a multi-disciplinary collaboration of agencies working together to ensure consistent, victim-focused services for adults who have been sexually assaulted. Members include:
- The U.S. Attorney’s Office
- Metropolitan Police Dept.
- U.S. Park Police
- Medstar Washington Hospital Center
- DC Rape Crisis Center
- Network for Victim Recovery of DC
- Wendt Center for Loss & Healing
- The Wellness Center-American University
- DC Forensic Nurse Examiners
- DC Dept. of Forensic Sciences
- Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
- DC Office of Victim Services/Justice Grants
HHM and the D.D.C.
The knowledgeable and competent federal defense team at HHM is prepared to assist you with your FBI, OIG, IRS, or other federal government legal matters. If your personal reputation or corporate entity are under attack we can utilize our invaluable insight of the federal litigation process to develop a personalized and effective strategy to safeguard your interests and ensure your rights are protected at all stages of your case.