Prosecutor to run for state's attorney in 1994

July 20, 1993|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A 16-year veteran prosecutor announced yesterday his plans to run for Howard County State's Attorney in the 1994 election.

Michael Allen Weal, now chief of the State's Attorney's District Court Division, filed candidacy papers with the county Board of Elections yesterday afternoon.

The 46-year-old Ellicott City resident is a registered Democrat. He is the first person to announce his candidacy for the office, which is staffed by 22 prosecutors.

"I've wanted to run for a long time," Mr. Weal said. "I just think I can do the job."

William R. Hymes, now in his fourth term as the county's top prosecutor, said he hasn't decided whether he will seek another four-year term.

He said he will make the decision after the fiscal year 1995 budget is done next spring.

Mr. Hymes, 66, said it is unlikely that he will seek re-election. However, he said, he wants to make sure his programs, such as the computerization of his office, are completed before he leaves the position.

The deadline for filing candidacy notices with the elections office is July 5, 1994.

Mr. Weal, who has headed the District Court division since 1979, said he wants to give the State's Attorney's Office a "contemporary outlook," while maintaining or expanding many programs already in place.

The candidate believes the office should establish a victim-witness department that covers Howard Circuit Court and District Court as well as juvenile and child-support cases.

The current program, staffed by only two people in Circuit Court and a legal assistant in District Court, assists victims and witnesses through criminal trials. The staff is now forced to "pick and choose" which cases to handle because of the growing caseload in the courts, Mr. Weal said.

In addition, Mr. Weal said he would like to reorganize the Child Abuse and Sexual Assault Unit to improve the working relationship among the State's Attorney's Office, police departments and organizations that deal with the issue.

Mr. Weal said he also would like to expand the 2-year-old Alcohol and Drug Diversion Program to relieve the growing caseload for county prosecutors.

The service is designed to allow first-time offenders charged with minor alcohol and drug offenses to get their cases dismissed once they complete education and counseling programs.

Mr. Weal joined the State's Attorneys Office in 1977 after three years in private practice.

As chief of the District Court division, Mr. Weal is responsible for the orientation and training of all new prosecutors and interns. He has written a prosecutor's handbook for the training program.

Mr. Weal served as president of the county Bar Association in the 1990-91 term. He received his law degree at the University of Baltimore.

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