Canceled '87 raid of Goslee home is probed

December 02, 1993|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Staff Writer

Maryland's special prosecutor is investigating a decision by the top echelons of the Baltimore state's attorney's office to halt a narcotics raid at the home of a prominent Baltimore lawyer in 1987.

Investigators have obtained a memorandum from Stuart O. Simms, who in 1987 was deputy state's attorney under then-chief prosecutor Kurt L. Schmoke, directing that police not carry out a raid planned by veteran narcotics detectives on the downtown residence of Georgia H. Goslee.

Mr. Schmoke is now mayor and Mr. Simms is state's attorney. Ms. Goslee, a frequent guest on WJZ's "Square Off" program for more than a decade, was a political supporter of Mr. Schmoke's mayoral candidacy and ran unsuccessfully for a Circuit Court judgeship with Mr. Schmoke's endorsement.

While prosecutors sometimes move cautiously in cases involving high-profile names, the decision to overrule police who wanted to search Ms. Goslee's home has drawn investigators' scrutiny because of the political relationships involved.

The search warrant police originally wanted for Ms. Goslee's condominium apartment was part of a major cocaine trafficking investigation of Arnold Mitchell, who is now serving a 20-year prison sentence on drug and weapons charges after ultimately being convicted as a result of the investigation.

The police investigation, confirmed later by court testimony, showed that Mitchell frequently shared Ms. Goslee's condominium apartment at 1101 St. Paul St. Although there was no indication that Ms. Goslee was involved in the activity, an informer told police that Mitchell used her apartment to conduct narcotics business.

Dated March 17, 1987, the memo from Mr. Simms to his top narcotics prosecutor, Jamey Hochberg-Weitzman, said:

"By way of follow-up to our conversation, I respectfully recommend that the search warrant in this matter not be executed at this time. As I indicated this morning, I believe that the evidence and information related to the search of the premises at 1101 St. Paul St. needs additional support.

"At present," the memo said, "I believe and Mr. Schmoke concurs in that belief that the probable cause of searching these premises at 1101 St. Paul St. is thin. I suggested this morning that you may advise the detectives to consider further attempts to penetrate Mr. Mitchell's operation at 1101 by further identification of the doorman or through the informant. In the event the officers proceed with the execution of the warrant, please advise."

A law enforcement source familiar with the case at the time said that "consulting with the front office was not that unusual. If a prosecutor came across a public figure in an investigation, the bosses would be notified. The reason was the prosecutor didn't want the bosses to read about it in the newspaper."

"What was highly unusual in the Goslee matter," the source said, "was that she wasn't an elected official and that the top people interceded in her behalf to shelve the search warrant."

2 judges have been quizzed

Both Ms. Hochberg-Weitzman, now a District Court judge, and Circuit Judge John N. Prevas, who signed other warrants in the case, have been interviewed by investigators for Special Prosecutor Stephen Montanarelli.

Mr. Montanarelli refused to comment on the case. Ms. Goslee has left Maryland for Florida to pursue a career in show business, according to friends and business associates. Contacted yesterday in Miami, she said she would have no comment on the issue.

Judge Hochberg-Weitzman said she "wasn't at liberty to discuss an ongoing investigation" and did not recall exactly when she was interviewed by a member of the prosecutor's staff.

Judge Prevas said he told an investigator who interviewed him that he wondered at the time why narcotics detectives didn't seek a warrant for Ms. Goslee's apartment and was told that prosecutors had warned police not to search it.

Grand jury raised allegations

Investigators for the special prosecutor's office obtained the Simms memorandum after Mr. Montanarelli's office began investigating allegations raised in a March report by a special city grand jury charging that Baltimore's war on drugs is poorly managed and politically influenced by some members of the Police Department and state's attorney's office.

The investigation has been continuing since May.

Mr. Simms refused to discuss the case or say why he interceded or made a decision to abort the raid on Ms. Goslee's apartment.

Instead, he again criticized the grand jury report, calling it "balder--."

"I have worked as a state and federal prosecutor for 15 years, and I stake my career on what I have done," he said.

"I have been involved in political investigations . . . some have resulted in charges, others did not and never, never has anyone made allegations of favoritism by me for members of the bar," Mr. Simms added. "This office has investigated over 80 lawyers resulting in 40 indictments. This sort of thing goes against my record of public service."

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