Appeals court rejects drug task force suit

November 03, 1993

The state's highest court has affirmed the dismissal of a $10.5 million suit filed against the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force by a Westminster defense attorney.

Without comment, the Maryland Court of Appeals last week declined to hear Stephen P. Bourexis' appeal of a Carroll Circuit judge's dismissal of his 1992 suit.

Mr. Bourexis' suit contended that the task force blackballed his clients from becoming informants or entering plea negotiations. He had sought damages against the task force, state police Tfc. Richard Heuisler and Westminster police Sgt. Andrew McKendrick.

In June, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld Carroll Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr.'s dismissal of the suit, although the judges on that court described the task force's conduct as "close to discrimination."

Judge Beck, in dismissing the suit against all three defendants in September 1992, said the task force "has full discretion" to decide whether or not to plea bargain with any defendant or defense attorney.

The Court of Special Appeals said it reluctantly upheld Judge Beck's decision. The panel didn't reverse it, the judges said, because they believe the task force is an entity that cannot be sued, that police officers are immune from suit and that Mr. Bourexis failed to show the blackballing had hurt his law practice.

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