Greiber says Weathersbee's office is causing delays in criminal trials

February 01, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

An Annapolis lawyer running for county state's attorney charged yesterday that the incumbent's policy of allowing prosecutors to practice civil law part time has delayed criminal trials.

At a news conference, John R. Greiber Jr. cited statistics showing that State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee's office exceeds the state average for the length of time between when a criminal complaint is filed and when the case is completed.

In Anne Arundel, the average number of days between the initiation and completion of the case rose from 138 days to 144 days in the 12-month period ending June 30, according to the annual report by the administrative office of the courts.

By comparison, the statewide average dropped from 150 days to 112 days, the report says.

Although most defendants do not await trial in jail, Mr. Greiber said, the numbers mean many defendants are behind bars longer than necessary, at a cost of $52.10 each per day. "It all bears on how much value

the people of Anne Arundel County are getting for their prosecutors," Mr. Greiber said.

"I don't believe they're getting enough."

Mr. Greiber, a Republican candidate, said that if he is elected state's attorney he would prohibit prosecutors from practicing civil law privately and has persuaded Del. John Gary to introduce in the General Assembly a bill that would prohibit the practice.

Mr. Gary, a Republican who is running for county executive, was at Mr. Greiber's news briefing to show his support.

Mr. Weathersbee said a small number of attorneys in the office work on private legal matters -- possibly two or three of his office's 28 lawyers -- but they do it on their own time, after regular working hours.

"They may write a will here, or a contract there, but it's not something that's ever delayed cases," he said.

"Everybody in this office works full time and it's required that they do so."

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