Need For Vigilance On Drunk DrivingOn behalf of the...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

December 06, 1992

Need For Vigilance On Drunk Driving

On behalf of the Carroll County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, it was disheartening to learn that a conflict of interest may have led to the recent acquittal of a four-time DWI/DUI offender in Carroll County Circuit Court.

Accounts published in a recent article (Oct. 11) indicated that a former Carroll County assistant state's attorney gained an acquittal for his client, claiming the state had failed to disclose evidence to the defense attorney before the trial. Specifically, the defense attorney claimed he was not given a list of the names and addresses of the prosecution's witnesses.

While breakdowns of this nature do occur infrequently, the circumstances surrounding this case place the defense attorney a most unfavorable light. It seems that the defense attorney, who protested to Judge Francis M. Arnold that "the state failed to follow the rules," may have violated some rules himself. The rules that we make reference to are those that Maryland lawyers use to govern the legal profession.

Prior to his resignation from our prosecutor's office, the defense attorney in question is reported to have prepared preliminary witness lists for the state's case against the very individual that he took on as a client. While we respect an attorney's right to pursue criminal defense work after leaving an office as a prosecutor, we find it unconscionable that an attorney would use the resources of their former office as a client pool. . . . The business of representing a client in cases in which they had input while working for the prosecution certainly goes against the grain and appears to violate the ethical principles of the legal profession . . .

Let us also not overlook the defendant in this case. Did our criminal justice system shortchange him by reducing the likelihood that he will receive medical diagnosis and/or treatment?

This incident reinforces a need on the part of our organization to monitor our court proceedings in which repeat DWI/DUI offenders are charged, and to speak out on behalf of public safety and fundamental fairness.

Anyone interested in joining or assisting MADD in this or other endeavors is encouraged to call 876-MADD.

Shirley Hampt

Westminster

The writer is president of the Carroll County chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Tax Hell

Brian Sullam has missed the boat. Money magazine has counted all of Maryland's taxes, not just the income tax. Let's see, we have income tax (with a hefty piggyback), property tax (including the highest closing costs in the country), sales tax (now including snacks and some services), gas tax, tobacco tax, alcohol tax (including a bottle tax in some counties), not to mention users fees on every service available, the state lottery and horse racing.

A state with only enough population to send eight members to Congress has enough taxes to be second on Money's list. As to the services we get for this money, Maryland has more kids in private school avoiding the public education debacle than any other state. Our public education process fails on every national standard. . . . I didn't put the billboard up (that proclaimed Maryland "state of taxes"), but I'd be glad to admit it if I did.

Steven E. Davidson

New Windsor

Who Won The Election? We All Did

Above and beyond the post-election emotional euphoria or disillusionment of who or what issue won or lost in this election, I believe something very deep and profound has been missed. Who really won? Who really won was the average, every day, get up and go to work, come home and keep the family, home or farm together Carroll countian.

I am the Democratic chief judge at the Mechanicsville polling place. I've been working for the Board of Elections at this polling place for a number of years. I have never witnessed such overwhelming numbers of voters. Not only was the sheer volume of voters profound but the intensity of their voting effort was remarkable. I was impressed with the very conscientious, determined people waiting in long lines with hardly a whimper of complaint.

I timed how long people stood in line. . . . When I would ask people how long they'd been waiting to vote, they consistently said they'd been waiting about half the time my watch said they'd been waiting. Time flies when one is intent.

No one had time for complaining. They were on a mission to make a difference in our world. We, the people, won this election. No one can complain that a bum was elected because of low voter turnout.

Everyone elected has a mandate to get in gear and do something about our present economic and societal malaise. Many people remarked that they'd be back in two or four years if the people they voted for did not get something done.

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