Loose Lips

Judge Blasts “Oblivious” Office of the Attorney General

A Superior Court judge has trouble trusting the District's Office of the Attorney General to prosecute its cases fairly, according to a stinging court order issued earlier this month.

The order from Judge Stuart G. Nash aims to put an end to the attorney general's case against John Barbusin, an sergeant in the District's Protective Services Police Department who was prosecuted for possessing an AR-15 assault rifle. Barbusin, whose department provides security for District government buildings, claimed that he was authorized to buy the rifle for his work.

During the trial, it was revealed that OAG attorneys hadn't disclosed an email that confirmed Barbusin's claim that he had permission to buy the gun. Nash threw the case out, on the grounds that the e-mail should have been shared with the defense. The OAG prompty asked Nash to reconsider, but maybe they shouldn't have—Nash's order refusing the request contains a whole new round of slams for the attorney general.

It's hard to pick which one of Nash's remarks is most likely to give attorney general Irv Nathan indigestion.

Nash argues that dismissing the case shows that "no arm of law enforcement should exist above the law," including the attorney general. There's his assertion that the prosecutors admitting they should have disclosed the email restores only "some of this Court's faith in prosecutions pursued by the Office of the Attorney General. And there's Nash calling the OAG "oblivious" to the irony that, even as they were trying to pursue a law enforcement official for breaking the law, they could be breaking the law themselves.

J. Michael Hannon, Barbusin's attorney, compares the case to the federal pursuit of Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, which resulted in sanctions against two federal prosecutors for withholding evidence. "Sgt. Barbusin almost had his life and his career ruined had this document not surfaced," Hannon tells LL.

There's a bit of bureaucratic intrigue at play here, too. Hannon claims his client was pursued as part of a turf war between the Metropolitan Police Department and the Office of Protective Services, which is part of the Department of General Services. A DGS spokesman declined to comment on the alleged turf war, while an MPD spokeswoman referred questions to the OAG. Ted Gest, a spokesman for the OAG, declined to comment on whether prosecutors would attempt to retry the case.

  • Typical DC BS

    And this idiocy over DC's rampant left wing lunacy about guns continues to roll on. Just like in Chicago - you disarm honest citizens and all you do is leave the criminals to be the only ones armed.

    Never mind the one-party corruption from the top of DC government on down - a fine example of banana republic politics.

  • drez

    Not quite the Friday newsdump I was hoping for, but I'll take it.

  • drez

    I'm shocked, shocked, shocked that a judge would call Vince Gray's attorney general "oblivious" and say they "transgressed on core constitutional protections".
    I mean, how could this be possible with Vince Gray setting such a sterling personal example of character, integrity, and leadership?

  • SEis4ME

    Typical. ..uhm...the overwhelming majority of victims in Chicago are innocent bystanders and drug/gang related. Reading your drivel. ..I assume u want to arm kids and drug dealers?

  • DCShadyBoots

    drez you are so tired. Irvin Nathan, the DISTRICT's Attorney general is the previous General Counsel of the United States House of Representatives with impeccable credentials. Get over yourself so that you can get out of your way.

  • Smh

    Another reason for the AG to be ELECTED!

  • noodlez

    @DOWNTOWN RESIDENTIAL-IF THAT COMMENT TIME STAMP IS CORRECT I WOULD NEVER HAVE FIGURED YOU FOR A DAY DRINKER!

    COME ONE SON IT'S AUGUST WITH NO HUMIDITY. LIGHTEN UP!

  • SEis4ME

    He's a lost cause. Only he would consider the former GC as incompetent for no reason other than the fact Gray hired him.

    Rather than sad and Tea Party'ish but oh well!

  • Corky

    If drez had bothered to read the opinion, he would see that Attorney General Nathan is the one who corrected the mistake. I don't think anyone can say with a straightface that AG Nathan is corrupt or unethical in any way. They sure weren't saying that when he went after Harry Thomas. BTW, the shield pictured is that of the Federal Protective Services police, not the District's Protective Services Police. They are two different police forces.

  • Drez

    LOL Same Fish, same barrel.
    And I do love a good fish fry on Fridays.

  • Asuka

    It's sort of astounding that this stuff is still going on post-Heller. Guns (particularly shot guns and assault rifles) are not the problem, and those who seek to do away with the 2nd Amendment aren't thinking rationally. Study after study after study has shown that gun control - no matter how draconian - simply doesn't work, and its only accomplishment is to tip the balance of power in favor criminals. Liberal or conservative, everyone should defend the Bill of Rights and consider an attack on one Amendments an attack on all of them. Barbusin, just like Adam Kokesh, is a victim of an oppressive and contemptible policy that is as immoral as it is irrational, and the social activists who pass for contemporary journalists are collectively at fault for allowing their intellectual dishonesty to color their reporting on this issue.

  • drez

    Dude, every now and again you go way way way off the deep end.

  • Asuka

    @drez

    Why? Because you don't agree with me? It's the height of hypocrisy that this and other mainstream press (yes, this is a mainstream opinion journal - there is absolutely NOTHING separating the opinions of this organization and, say, the Post or the Times, so the claim that it's "Alt" is laughable) will only rally the troupes when a piece of the Bill of Rights it agrees with is attacked. There's absolutely nothing I said in that post that isn't demonstrably true. Despite the anecdote-dependant narrative pushed by the media, the overwhelming majority of gun violence is committed by criminals with stolen hand guns, not legally-purchased, $2000 long guns, so whom do these policies empower and whom do they punish? Are these policies in a law-abding citizen's best interest? And more importantly, ARE THEY WORKING?

    Devote real time to researching a problem and try to not let the political biases and ideologies of others prevent you from taking rational positions.

  • Asuka

    troops

  • drez

    Because the post was about the AG under Irvings abridging the rights of a defendant at trial, not about the subject matter of the trial itself.
    I actually don't have an opinion on whether the Protective Services officer should have an AR-15 (or whatever). That to me is a matter decided by the employment policies and proceedures of that agency.
    I do think that an AG which withholds exculpatory evidence and draws the ire and contempt of a federal judge does material damage to the district. And despite my playing with the "fish in the barrel" comment, I think it reflects poorly on both Irvings and Gray that this would happen.

  • Asuka

    It's totally relevant, because, firstly, the case should have never been brought because the law underpinning it is unconstitutional, and secondly, it exposes the links to which this AG will go to in the effort to further an unjust law. What politics informed the decision to withhold that evidence? Likely the very same politics that informed the law he's been accused of breaking, and that's a point that is totally pertinent to the discussion.

  • drez

    I will grant the latter portion of your argument.
    But I do believe the former portion is at best a distraction.

  • Typical DC BS

    @SEis4ME: The only drivel is the nonsense being posted by you regarding guns. The only victims in Chicago are kids and drug-involved morons? Please, you're the one spewing BS.
    Or I guess common sense abandoned you, like the liberal idiots who run Chicago, long ago? You have a PERFECT example of what happens when you disarm law-abiding citizens - crime rampant and scum ruling the streets. Kind of like many areas of NE and SE, but you must be blind to that as well.

  • SEis4ME

    The only victims in Chicago are kids and drug-involved morons? Please, you're the one spewing BS.

    Well if that's what you think then ok. But it's CLEARLY not what I said which was that the "overwhelming" number of murders have involved bystanders and drug/gang offenses. And even in your silly response, you fail to note how less strict gun policies would've saved their lives since most of the deaths were those who likely had no legal grounds to own a gun in the first place. It's fine...make me into a idiot. But at a minimum you should back up your own dumb a** assertions.

    You are a PERFECT example of when gun zealots not choose "reading to comprehend" as a advantage to debating an issue.

    Again, make your OWN point and demonstrate how the crime in DC would be lesser if victims were strapped. Then you can complain about something else...

  • SEis4ME

    The only victims in Chicago are kids and drug-involved morons? Please, you're the one spewing BS.

    Well if that's what you think then ok. But it's CLEARLY not what I said which was that the "overwhelming" number of murders have involved bystanders and drug/gang offenses. And even in your silly response, you fail to note how less strict gun policies would've saved their lives since most of the deaths were those who likely had no legal grounds to own a gun in the first place. It's fine...make me into a idiot. But at a minimum you should back up your own dumb a** assertions.

    You are a PERFECT example of when gun zealots not choose "reading to comprehend" as a advantage to debating an issue.

    Again, make your OWN point and demonstrate how the crime in DC would be lesser if victims were strapped. Then you can complain about something else...

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