Weekend Read: A Mother’s Grief

The Washington Post reports on the stabbing death of Candance Reed who was killed on November 15 outside of a club in the 5300 block of Georgia Avenue NW after a dispute at her friend’s birthday party.

The story follows the experiences that Reed’s mother, JoAnn Lee, has had in the past week since her daughter’s death.

JoAnn Lee carries a folder with pictures of her daughter. Candance Reed with a red shirt and pigtails posing with her second-grade class in Lorain, Ohio. Candance at her senior prom at Anacostia High School. Candance visiting Las Vegas. Candance posing with her dog Sampson.
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Weekend Read: Counting those who Survive

A Washington Times report this week argues that D.C.’s declining murder rate is not an indication of the city’s drop in violent crime and shootings.

The story also highlights a divide in D.C. between neighborhoods that are saturated with shootings and crime, and the ones that aren’t.

When the murder rate and shooting statistics from Chicago and Washington, D.C. are compared, it would seem on the surface that D.C. is more fortunate than Chicago. However, other statistics and some real life events tell a different story. It is the story of a divided city, official Washington, the “City of Marble and Glass,” and the District of Columbia, “Dodge City” where the bullets still fly and the violence never ends…
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Weekend Read: Lanier: “Every murder counts just as much as every other murder.”

MPD Chief Cathy Lanier spoke at the American Bar Association this week, addressing DC homicide investigations.

Reports the Associated Press:

Lanier spent most of the session explaining her management style and steps she has taken to reduce the homicide rate, including investing in technology, building sources in the community and expanding the department’s social media presence, since taking over as chief in 2007.
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Weekend Read: Raasheem Jamal Rich, D.C.’s First Homicide Victim of 2013, Served 20 Years for 1990 Murder

The Washington Post reports that Raasheem Jamal Rich, fatally stabbed Jan. 10, was once himself a killer in 1990.

Rich spent two decades in prison, during which the number of people killed in D.C. plummeted. His conviction two decades ago, and his violent death this year, connect two wildly different moments in the history of crime in the District.
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Weekend Read: D.C. Murder Count On Pace For Record Low

The Associated Press reports on the falling homicide rate in the District, on track to be the lowest in half a century:

The crack epidemic that began in the 1980s ushered in a wave of bloodletting in the nation’s capital and a death toll that ticked upward daily. Dead bodies, sometimes several in a night, had homicide detectives hustling between crime scenes and earned Washington unwelcome monikers such as the nation’s “murder capital.” At the time, some feared the murder rate might ascend to more frightening heights.

But after approaching nearly 500 slayings a year in the early 1990s, the annual rate has gradually declined to the point that the city is now on the verge of a once-unthinkable milestone. The number of 2012 killings in the District of Columbia stands at 78 and is on pace to finish lower than 100 for the first time since 1963, police records show.

Read the full story here.

You can find more Weekend Reads here.

Getting Out the Vote at DC Jail

Today is election day, and the AP has a story about an effort to help those currently held at DC jail vote:

While it seemed ordinary, the voting that went on at the D.C. jail and a facility where women are housed next door is unique. Most states and the District of Columbia bar prisoners serving time on a felony conviction from voting. But inmates awaiting trial or serving a sentence for a misdemeanor, an estimated 700,000 people nationwide, are allowed to vote as long as they aren’t barred by a past felony conviction.

Most states, however, don’t actively help these people vote, said Marc Mauer, the executive director of The Sentencing Project, a Washington-based group that advocates for sentencing reform and alternatives to prison.

In the vast majority of jails there’s absolutely nothing being done to make that happen,” Mauer said.

Read the whole story here.

Weekend Reads: The Difficulty of Murder Prosecutions

In a series of well-investigated articles, Cheryl Thompson of The Washington Post shares some startling statistics regarding D.C. homicides.

In a 15-month study, The Post found that less than a third of the homicides that occurred between 2000 and 2011 have led to a conviction. Why? Because “murders are now inherently more difficult to prosecute.”
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Weekend Read: Inside the US Attorney’s Office

The Washington Post this week profiled US Attorney Ronald Machen, the District’s top prosecutor.

As the District’s U.S. attorney, Machen has one of the most sought-after jobs in federal law enforcement.

The former partner at WilmerHale has labored to leave his own stamp on the country’s largest U.S. attorney’s office, which has about 300 lawyers handling matters in federal court and D.C. Superior Court and a budget that purportedly exceeds $70 million. (Although other U.S. attorneys have publicized their budgets, Machen has not.)
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Weekend Read: Panel to Address Youth Murders Has Never Met

This Weekend Read comes from the Washington Examiner, which reported that a panel convened to address youth homicides has failed to meet in the 15 months since it was created.

From the Examiner:

A District panel developed after a spate of murders committed by fugitive juveniles hasn’t met more than 15 months after the law establishing it went into force, the city’s inspector general has found.
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Weekend Read: Life After a Wrongful Conviction

Fox5 has the story of Santae Tribble, who spent two decades in prison for a murder he didn’t commit.

Tribble was 17 years old when he was arrested for the murder of cab driver John McCormick.
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