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Moving Toward Local Control of DC's Criminal Justice System

  • UDC David A Clarke School of Law, Moot Courtroom (518) 4340 Connecticut Avenue Northwest Washington, DC, 20008 United States (map)

Welcome by UDC Law Dean Shelley Broderick

Moderator, Tammy Seltzer, Director 



Eleanor Holmes Norton, DC Delegate to the House of Representatives,

Johnny Barnes, Former Executive Director of the ACLU of the Nation’s Capital,

Avis Buchanan, Director, Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia,

Louis Sawyer, Jr., Chair, DC Reentry Task Force, DC Office of the Attorney General


About the Forum

Statehood advocates have wanted the DC Government to begin transition planning for the day when our local/state government will assume all the responsibilities that the governments of the 50 states handle.  A large part of this transition planning will involve the District’s criminal justice system which was taken over by the federal government in 1997 due to the financial crisis.

The first panel will present both the facts and the human side of the federalization of our criminal justice system. The facts of our federalization will be presented by Avis Buchanan, Director of the Public Defender Service. Two formerly incarcerated people will share their experiences with our criminal justice system.

The second panel will present the prospect of ending the federalization of parole for DC Code offenders.  Louis Sawyer, chair of the Reentry Task Force will explain how this will benefit both DC Code offenders and the wider community. Johnny Barnes will discuss the role of the community in defederalizing our criminal justice system.


DC Statehood Coalition

UDC David A. Clarke School of Law


Council for Court Excellence

DC Democratic State Committee

DC Federation of Democratic Women

DC for Democracy

DC Latino Leadership Council

DC Statehood Green Party

League of Women Voters of DC

Stand Up for Democracy in DC (Free DC)

Ward Three Democrats

Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs

Woman's National Democratic Club

Earlier Event: November 29
DC Fair Elections Community Meeting