The chief judge of D.C. Superior Court has rejected a request to keep the current presiding judge on the Robert Wone case, according to court records published today.
Chief Judge Lee Satterfield said Judge Frederick Weisberg will no longer preside over the Wone case, effective Jan. 1. In accordance with the normal rotation of judicial calendars, Judge Lynn Leibowitz is taking over Weisberg’s docket.
Superior Court rules say the chief judge has the power to override the rotation and assign a single judge for the entirety of a case.
Three men are accused of crimes stemming from Wone’s murder in August 2006. Defense lawyers for Joseph Price, Victor Zaborsky and Dylan Ward argued that Weisberg should continue to hear the case. The lawyers said, among other things, that Weisberg is intimately familiar with the issues and taking him off the case would harm the defendants. Prosecutors opposed the defense request.
“The defendants have failed to show good cause why their cases should receive special assignment,” Satterfield wrote in a three-page order published on Dec. 14.
Satterfield said Leibowitz “is more than capable of managing these cases, getting up to speed and mastering the facts and legal issues in the cases well in advance of the May 10, 2010, trial date.” Click here for a copy of Satterfield’s order.