Jessica M. Karmasek Mar. 27, 2013, 4:15pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- District of Columbia Attorney General Irvin Nathan testified Tuesday in favor of expanding his office's subpoena power.

Last month, Nathan announced proposed legislation to help implement the voters' choice to give the District an elected attorney general starting in 2015.

In 2010, a majority of voters favored the District's Home Rule Charter be amended to allow the election of an attorney general.

Currently, the District's attorney general is appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the D.C. Council.

In 2015, the Attorney General's Office will become fully independent of mayoral control.

The proposed legislation, discussed Tuesday, would help effectuate that change.

One bill would expand the attorney general's authority, while the other would remove lawyers from the elected attorney general's supervision, according to The Washington Times.

Nathan testified that the soon-to-be elected office should be granted further subpoena powers.

"Our prosecutors have no meaningful ability to compel witnesses to provide information during a criminal investigation," he said, the Times reported.

"This is a major impediment."

Nathan -- who says he does not plan to run for election in 2014 -- explained that restrictions put in place in 2010 currently make it more difficult to issue subpoenas.

But defense attorneys argued, in response, that the legislation would give the District's attorney general "overly broad" subpoena power and could potentially be abused.

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