2 washingtonblade.com • april 22, 2011
Police, prosecutors pledgefight against hate crimes
D.C. Police Chie Cathy Lanier and ocials with theUnited States Attorney’s Oce and the Oce o theD.C. Attorney General called or improvements in thecity’s juvenile justice system as a means o address-ing a sharp increase in hate crimes targeting the LGBTcommunity.Lanier and the other ocials answered questionsand pledged to redouble eorts to combat anti-LGBThate crimes at an April 14 Town Hall meeting spon-sored jointly by the D.C. group Gays and LesbiansOpposing Violence, the Mayor’s Oce o GLBT Aairs,the Oce o the D.C. Attorney General and the D.C.Police Department’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit.GLOV Chair A.J. Singletary opened the meeting,held at the city’s Reeves Center municipal building at14th and U Streets, N.W., by reviewing recent D.C. po-lice crime statistics showing that hate crimes in the citytargeting LGBT people increased by 40 percent overthe past year.“This troubling increase in hate crimes against theLGBT community must be stopped,” he said. “GLOVis committed to ensuring the District government is do-ing all that it should to protect our community, and wemust ensure that the community is doing what it can toprotect itsel.”Singletary and GLOV Vice Chair Hassan Naveedtold o GLOV’s programs aimed at educating LGBTpeople on steps they can take to avoid being targetedor a hate crime and how best to respond when threat-ened with anti-LGBT violence. Details o the group’santi-violence programs can be accessed at glovdc.org.Lanier and Robert Hildum, deputy D.C. AttorneyGeneral or public saety, said a large number o hatecrimes targeting the LGBT community are committedby juveniles, who, upon arrest, must be processedthrough a juvenile justice system they described asfawed. The strict privacy rules required under D.C.’sjuvenile justice laws oten prevent D.C. police romproperly investigating crimes o violence by some-times barring them rom questioning youth charged incrimes.In addition to Singletary and Naveed, others speak-ing at the town hall were Andrew Barnett, executive di-rector o the LGBT organization Sexual Minority YouthAssistance League (SMYAL); Chris Farris, ormerGLOV co-chair; and Wendy Pohlhaus, Executive As-sistant U.S. Attorney or External Aairs.Pohlhaus said the U.S. Attorney’s oce, which pros-ecutes criminal cases in D.C., must careully decidewhich cases should be prosecuted as hate crimesbased on the language in the city’s hate crimes statute.“It’s sometimes hard or the community to under-stand that the government must prove that a crime wascommitted because o hatred or prejudice” in order tosuccessully prosecute a case as a hate crime, shesaid.Singletary said it was signicant that much o the topbrass o the police department attended the town hallmeeting, including Deputy Chie Diane Groomes andthe heads o the police units that oversee the GLLU.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Free State Legal Projectto open in Maryland
The Free State Legal Project, a pro bono and re-duced-ee legal service or low-income LGBT people,will open May 23 in Maryland, according to an an-nouncement rom the group.The organization has hired its rst ull-time execu-tive director, Lee Ann Hopkins, a longtime LGBT ad-vocate. The group estimates there are about 25,000low-income LGBT people in need o its services in theBaltimore Metropolitan Area.Initially, Free State will accept cases limited to hous-ing discrimination, landlord and tenant concerns, di-vorce and dissolution, employment discrimination,name changes and sex change corrections or birthcerticates and other orms o identication and, nally,basic estate planning, which will include wills, power oattorney documents and advance directives, the groupsaid.Client intake hours will be by phone rom 9 a.m. to 1p.m. on Mondays and Thursdays, and rom 5 p.m. to 7p.m. on Wednesdays. The phone number is 410-625-5428. Inormation can be ound online at reestatele-gal.org.Area residents who are members o the bar andwould like to be placed on the pro bono and reduced-ee volunteer panels are asked to contact Lee AnnHopkins, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 410-625-5428.
Arrest of gay bar ownersprompts action in Rehoboth
In a continuing eort to correct what CommissionerDennis Barbour called a “sting” and an “unjust action,”the Rehoboth Board o Commissioners voted on Apr.14 to begin the process o expunging the criminal re-cords o those business owners who were arrested inSeptember or violating the city’s little-used noise ordi-nance.Owners o two o the most popular gay establish-ments in Rehoboth, John Berdini o Cloud Nine and BillShields o Aqua were arrested in the raid. Even thoughthe city did not pursue the cases, the owners now havearrest records, which can prevent them rom pursuingother business interests or licenses.The Board o Commissioners voted 6-0 to assist anyo the arrested parties who sought to expunge theircriminal records i asked. They also indicated theywould pay costs associated with the resolution. Com-missioner Stan Mills, who initiated the raid, recusedhimsel, based on a suggestion rom the state’s Pub-lic Integrity Commission. The commission ound thatMills, who owns property behind several gay establish-ments, “is using public oce to secure unwarrantedprivileges, private advantage or gain.”For several months the commission discussed theissues related to late night noise rom patios and attheir March meeting decided to allow establishmentsto keep their patios open until 1 a.m. until at least theend o 2011.
D.C. police move to blocktestimony in Wone civil trial
The ongoing criminal investigation into the 2006murder o attorney Robert Wone inside the DupontCircle area home o three gay men could be harmed iattorneys or the men are allowed to orce homicide de-tectives to testiy or the deense at an upcoming civiltrial on the Wone case.That was the argument made by Assistant D.C. At-torney General Patricia Bonkor on Tuesday on behal opolice ocials at a D.C. Superior Court status hearingin the $20 million wrongul death lawsuit that Wone’swie, Kathy Wone, has brought against the gay men.Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward wereound not guilty in a criminal trial in 2009, in which theyaced charges o obstruction o justice, conspiracy toobstruct justice and evidence tampering in connectionwith Wone’s murder. Authorities did not charge the menor anyone else with the murder, and D.C. police saythey are continuing their investigation.Many court observers believe police and prosecu-tors hope to charge one or all o the three gay deen-dants with the murder i new evidence suraces in theirinvestigation. With that specter hanging over theirheads, the three deendants have invoked their FithAmendment right to reuse to testiy in the civil case ongrounds that such testimony could violate their consti-tutional protection against sel-incrimination.In Tuesday’s status hearing, Donkor said attorneysrepresenting the men led a subpoena calling or thecourt to orce at least our homicide detectives to tes-tiy, rst through pre-trial depositions and possibly atthe trial itsel, without speciying what questions theyplan to ask the detectives.She told Judge Michael Rankin, who is currentlypresiding over the civil case, that disclosure o any in-ormation that had not be disclosed in the criminal trialwould be highly damaging to the ongoing police probeinto Wone’s murder.Benjamin Razi, the lead attorney representing KathyWone in the civil case, told Rankin his client isn’t takingsides in the dispute over the police testimony, saying,“We don’t have a dog in this ght.”But Razi reiterated his longstanding concern thatthe deendants’ reusal to testiy or submit to deposi-tions on all questions posed by the plainti overstepsthe bounds o the Fith Amendment protection againstsel-incrimination and amounted to an obstruction oMrs. Wone’s ability to shed light on what happened onthe night her husband was ound stabbed to death inthe guest bedroom at the deendants’ townhouse onSwann Street, N.W.Rankin cut Razi o, saying those issues would bedecided later. He directed deense attorneys to coop-erate with Donkor and D.C. police ocials in seekingto reach an agreement over what the detectives wouldbe asked i he eventually allows the deense to ques-tion them in depositions or at the trial. He scheduled aollow-up hearing on the matter or May 5.The Wone civil trial is scheduled to begin Oct. 7.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
D.C. Police Chie
and ofcials with the UnitedStates Attorney’s Ofce vowed to redouble their eorts atera sharp increase in anti-LGBT hate crimes in the city.
Washington Blade photo by Michael Key