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WAGING AN ESTATE BATTLE Two lawyers with very similar practices are facing off in a federal appeals court over the right to represent the estate of Prince Jones Jr., who was shot and killed by Prince George’s County police in 2000 after a car chase into Virginia. Both Gregory Lattimer and Terrell Roberts III are well-versed in litigating high-profile cases against the police. Lattimer, a D.C. solo practitioner who argued for Jones’ mother on Sept. 19, also represents the family of Charquisa Johnson, a 23-year-old shot and killed by a D.C. police officer on April 26. Lattimer says, “Because of our expertise in this area, we are never overmatched by the government or by the big firms that can paper you to death.” Lattimer also represents Leroy Richmond, a Brentwood postal worker sickened by anthrax in 2001. On the other side, Roberts of Riverdale, Md.’s Roberts & Wood, who represents Jones’ father, represented Nelson Robles, a traffic violator who was bound to a pole with handcuffs by Prince George’s County police in 1996. The county fended off Robles’ federal damage suit by asserting immunity, and Roberts’ certiorari petition was denied last March. “I like the idea of vindicating people’s constitutional rights,” Roberts says. “We are the last hope of people who are abused by police.” � Jonathan Groner A MATTER OF COMMITMENT Since he routinely represents mentally ill clients involuntarily committed for psychiatric care, Alexandria solo defense attorney Gary Jeter is no stranger to the thorniness of civil commitment issues. It’s a good thing. Just more than a month ago, the former Alexandria assistant commonwealth’s attorney was appointed to the politically charged case of convicted child molester Brian Manuel. Manuel completed a jail term on Sept. 13 for molesting a 7-year-old boy, but Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore says he is a predator who should be held in jail indefinitely. Under Virginia’s Sexually Violent Predators Act, which went into effect earlier this year, the convicting court may order indefinite civil commitment. And Kilgore has filed a commitment petition to that effect. A trial in Alexandria Circuit Court is set for Oct. 24. Jeter, who graduated from George Mason law school, says the Manuel case is much more complicated than the average commitment case, but it won’t pay much more. The pay cap for court appointed defense work is $1,200, no matter how many hours Jeter spends on the matter. One of the great joys of being a solo-practitioner, Jeter says, is “you can work any 60 hours a week you want.” � Siobhan Roth

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