Bill would curb release of suspects A violent history could rule out bail

January 14, 1993|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

Rick Tabor, whose brother-in-law was killed by a man with a history of violent crimes, wants to slam shut what he calls the judicial system's "revolving door."

And state Delegates John Astle, D-Annapolis, and Phillip D. Bissett, R-Mayo, want to help him. They have introduced legislation to prohibit district court commissioners from releasing suspects who are arrested for violent crimes if they already are on parole or probation for another violent crime.

Mr. Tabor's brother-in-law, Dan Heiser, was murdered Nov. 16 during the armed robbery of a Catonsville gas station. His killer, who also died in the robbery attempt, had been arrested for another armed robbery and released on bail only 10 days earlier.

"If he hadn't been released, Danny would still be here," said Mr. Tabor, an Arnold resident and county police sergeant. "But they keep letting these violent types out on bail."

Mr. Tabor said the law must be changed so that suspects with a history of violent crime remain in jail, and off the streets, at least until the conclusion of their trials.

The delegates' bill was one of dozens being introduced by the county's 18 delegates and senators as the General Assembly convened yesterday. If passed, the bills could affect everything from high school graduation requirements to new streets signs, and everyone from foster parents to the owners of defect-plagued boats.

Of more than 3,000 bills considered annually, only 500 to 600 pass the legislature and even fewer are signed into law by the governor.

William Katcef, a county prosecutor and representative of the Maryland State's Attorneys Association, said his group may back Mr. Astle's and Mr. Bissett's bill.

The association backed similar legislation last year in response to the 1990 rape and murder of Gwynn Dixon Criswell, whose body was discovered behind the Crofton library. But the proposal, sponsored by Del. Marsha Perry, D-Crofton, failed in the House Judiciary Committee.

"It seemed so obvious a measure, so sensible, to me," Delegate Perry said. "But you always have to face the defense lawyers in that committee. Why they would be against it I don't know."

In other proposals:

Delegates Joan Cadden, D-Brooklyn Park, and John Gary, R-Millersville, would eliminate a requirement by the state Board of Education that high school students complete 75 hours of community service to graduate;

Del. Charles W. "Stokes" Kolodzieski, D-Carvel Beach, said he wants to place a moratorium on most new liquor licenses in his district, made up of communities from Brooklyn Park to Severna Park east of Ritchie Highway.

Mr. Bissett would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to donate their organs and would streamline the organ donor process.

Also yesterday, the county's house delegation elected Del. Michael E. Busch, D-Annapolis, as its chairman. Del. W. Ray Huff, D-Pasadena, was chosen as vice chairman.

Mr. Huff, who in previous years has complained that he has been overlooked for leadership positions, popped a champagne cork after the delegation vote. "We haven't had anything [a leadership post] in North County for quite a while," he said.

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