A friend e-mailed me this May 12 Washington Post story with the subject line what a tool. The person to whom that referred is a Georgetown University law student, 28-year-old Drew Hoffman, "who was trying to impress his girlfriend" when "he cranked up his new Infiniti to 126 mph on the George Washington Memorial Parkway -- among the highest speeds ever clocked on the stretch of federal road." I suspect some of the animus toward Mr. Hoffman derives from his a) driving a silver 2006 Infiniti G35; and b) trying to lose the police officer by pulling onto a ramp... that led to CIA headquarters.
Though Hoffman will serve a few days in jail, his misdemeanor likely will have fewer long term consequences than the malfeasance of 26-year-old Yalie Joseph Masters, who already is making the summer associate gossip rounds for videotaping a roommate and the roommate's girlfriend in the shower without their knowledge, and then being discovered because he stored the data on a drive accessible to his roommates. A bit ironically, Masters wrote a letter in his first semester of law school advising the government not to permit so many electronic protections that would block discovery, and was in a group of law students who attended hearings and gave testimony on this proposed revision of the FRCP.
The part of the Post story that interested me, however, is at the end: "Hoffman wound up in federal court because the 23.5 mile stretch of parkway from Mount Vernon to McLean -- except the part in the city of Alexandria -- is federal land." I hadn't realized until a colleague explained it to me last month that the District of Columbia doesn't really have a full court system of its own, one that would parallel the set present in most of the U.S. For example, a case like Hoffman's, a routine moving violation, was tried in U.S. District Court rather than a traffic court; D.C. has "Adjudication Services" and a "Traffic Adjudication Appeals Board," but not what I would consider a proper court.