A group of Howard County Sun articles that revealed how local judgeshad issued lenient sentences to drunken drivers has won the Chesapeake Associated Press public service award.
Two photographs published in the Howard County Sun also were honored as best sports picture and best spot news picture.
The awards were given for reporting in 1990 by newspapers with circulations of more than 75,000 in Maryland, Delaware and Washington.
In "Courting Disaster: Leniency for the Drunken Driver," reporter Deidre N. McCabe reviewed about 800 local cases to detail how drunkendrivers in Howard County frequently received probation before judgment, a sentence that clears the drunken-driving conviction from the offender's record. Judges in Howard County used that sentence for drunken drivers at least twice as often as judges in most Maryland counties, the report showed.