Jessica M. Karmasek Nov. 4, 2013, 7:55pm

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) -- A Washington, D.C., attorney who specializes in defending marijuana possession cases and who is suing over the decision to delay the District's attorney general election has thrown his hat in the ring.

Paul Zukerberg filed his candidacy for attorney general with the District of Columbia Board of Elections -- one of the entities he is suing -- Monday morning. He is a Democrat.

The primary election for attorney general still is set for April 1, 2014.

However, legislation passed by the District of Columbia Council, and approved without Mayor Vincent Gray's signature, will cancel the election -- despite the fact that a majority of District voters approved a ballot initiative calling for an elected attorney general beginning in 2014.

Zukerberg, who ran unsuccessfully for an at-large seat on the District council, originally filed his suit against the board of elections and council in the District of Columbia Superior Court Sept. 30.

The case has since been removed to federal court at the defendants' request.

If the court grants Zukerberg's requested motion for a preliminary injunction, the board will be prohibited from removing the office of elected attorney general from the District's 2014 ballot.

Without the injunction, voters would not be permitted to elect an attorney general before 2018.

"For over a quarter century I have been fighting for equal justice under the law," Zukerberg said in a statement. "In that time, I have seen a lot of injustice, but never did I believe that in America I would see our government cancel an election."

He continued, "As attorney general, I will fight corruption, protect our citizens and reform our broken juvenile justice system. And I will never sit idly by, or bow to pressure, when the voting rights of District residents are threatened."

Judge James "Jeb" Boasberg for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia already has granted the plaintiff's request for an expedited schedule of briefs and argument.

The defendants' opposition to the preliminary injunction was due last week. Zukerberg had to file his reply brief Monday.

A hearing on the preliminary injunction is set for 10 a.m. Thursday -- one day before the signature petition process begins for the Democratic primary election.

"This fight is about more than any single candidate, or any one election. It is about the fundamental right of the people to chose their own form of government," Zukerberg said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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