- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 3, 2007

The D.C. government is fighting a subpoena to turn over documents in connection with a rare death-penalty case under way in federal court in the District.

Attorneys for Larry Gooch, 27, want the D.C. Division of Youth Rehabilitation Services to turn over dozens of records about his time as an inmate at the Oak Hill juvenile detention facility.

Mr. Gooch faces the death penalty if convicted of racketeering, murder and conspiracy. He is accused of being the enforcer for the so-called M Street Crew in Northeast, a violent PCP ring based just south of the National Arboretum.

Mr. Gooch’s defense attorneys recently filed a request for Vincent Schiraldi, director of the youth services agency, to turn over testing scores and any other academic information concerning his stay at Oak Hill.

But attorneys for the District say they will not turn over the information without a special order from the presiding judge of the family division for the D.C. Superior Court. Attorneys for Mr. Gooch have said he was at Oak Hill for at least two years as a juvenile.

Arguing that disclosure of the records could result in criminal prosecution, D.C. attorneys have asked a federal judge to quash the subpoena without a special order to mandate release of the documents.

The request is the latest development in the monthslong trial of Mr. Gooch, the only person among dozens arrested in the M Street Crew who is facing the prospect of the death penalty.

Three men identified by prosecutors as leaders in the M Street gang — John Franklin, 33; George “Shug” Wilson, 37; and William Dee Robinson, 30, a former D.C. Public Schools bus driver — are serving life sentences.

The Justice Department last year filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Mr. Gooch in 2005, a decision that had required the approval of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

Mr. Gooch’s trial began in January. He is charged in connection with five killings. Closing arguments could take place as early as next week.

Attorneys for Mr. Gooch have argued that he did not shoot anybody, balking at the description by prosecutors of Mr. Gooch as an enforcer.

Death penalty trials are rare in the District, where local law bars capital punishment. However, defendants can face the death penalty in certain federal cases. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976, only two capital murder cases have proceeded to trial in federal court in the District. In both cases, defendants were given life in prison without parole.

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