Adultery statute won't be used against 3 officers 277-year-old law is called ambiguous

March 24, 1992|By Roger Twigg | Roger Twigg,Staff Writer

The Baltimore County Police Department has dropped its attempt to use the state's 277-year-old adultery law to discipline three officers, a police spokesman said yesterday.

Following Sunday's article in The Sun about the disciplining attempt, Police Chief Cornelius J. Behan announced that the law will not be the basis for administrative charges against the officers.

E. Jay Miller, a police spokesman, citing several reasons for Chief Behan's decision, said the adultery statute is ambiguous and the county state's attorney's office refused to file criminal charges against the officers. The law, which was enacted in 1715, provides for a $10 fine.

"It was also the legal opinion that any such charge would likely be struck down on judicial review or constitutional grounds," Mr. Miller said. "It should have been obvious that the department was struggling with this type of investigation."

Lt. Louis T. Caslin, president of the Baltimore County Police Lodge 4, said he was pleased that the department chose not to seek administrative charges against the officers, whose names were not made public by the department.

Mary M. Kramer, an FOP attorney representing the officers, had contended that the officers' personal lives were "nobody's business" as long as performance on the job was not affected.

"Maybe now we can get on with the important business of fighting crime," Lieutenant Caslin said.

Lieutenant Caslin said the officers who had been the focus of the investigation were happy to hear that the matter had been dropped and wanted to "put it behind them and get on with their lives."

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