So back in December, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty issued an executive order granting the police department the ability to issue subpoenas to aid in investigations.

All hell broke loose, with a former U.S. attorney telling the Examiner that the move “has the theoretical potential to screw up investigations royally.”

Then the D.C. Council, despite the strenuous lobbying of Attorney General Peter Nickles, voted to overturn the order on Jan. 6.

Ten days later, the mayor’s office conceded defeat. Sort of.

This is from another executive order, issued Jan. 16 (emphasis LL’s):

While Mayor’s Order 2008-154, dated November 7, 2008, delegating [subpoena] authority to the Chief of Police was likewise designed to enhance the Metropolitan Police Department’s ability to conduct criminal investigations and is valid despite the D.C. City Council’s unlawful attempt on January 6, 2009 to repeal it, pursuant to Bill 18-23, the “Metropolitan Police Department Subpoena Limitation Emergency Act of 2009”, Mayor’s Order 2008-154 is hereby rescinded after consultation with the Attorney General and the Chief of Police.

Well, then, glad that’s been all straightened out.

The order places subpoena power in the hands of…Nickles.

At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson convened a hearing at noon today to examiner the subpoena situation, as reported today by D.C. Wire. Nickles and police chief Cathy Lanier are scheduled to appear.