Supreme Court won't hear lawyer's suit against drug task force

March 25, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear Stephen P. Bourexis' $10.5 million lawsuit against the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force, ending nearly two years of litigation between the prominent Westminster defense attorney and the drug group.

Mr. Bourexis had asked the high court to review the dismissal of his suit against the task force. The suit, filed in Carroll Circuit Court in May 1992, was dismissed that September by a Carroll judge.

The dismissal was affirmed by the Court of Special Appeals, and Maryland's Court of Appeals refused to review the case. Without comment, the Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case.

"This is it for that suit," said Judith S. Stainbrook, Mr. Bourexis' law partner and attorney in the case. "I'm still glad that I filed the lawsuit, and, in something like this, you need to take it as far as you can."

In the suit, Mr. Bourexis said the task force violated several of his constitutional rights by refusing to "work with" some of his drug clients. The flamboyant attorney had asked the Supreme Court to stop the task force from discriminating against any drug suspects on the basis of their attorneys.

Assistant State's Attorney Barton F. Walker III, task force coordinator, said yesterday he was pleased with the high court's decision.

"People have asked me if this suit was without merit, and I would say it was completely without merit."

Mr. Bourexis, often a thorn in the task force's side, contended in the suit that the task force had excluded clients of his from becoming informants or entering plea negotiations. Mr. Bourexis had sought damages against the task force and two of its officers, state police Tfc. Robert Heuisler and Westminster police Sgt. Andrew McKendrick.

In his request to have his case heard by the Supreme Court, Mr. Bourexis said the task force's practice of selectively working with drug defendants based on their lawyer was potentially damaging to the attorney-client privilege recognized by most states.

Lawyers for the task force and the officers called Mr. Bourexis' original suit and his subsequent filing with the Supreme Court groundless. In his answer to Mr. Bourexis' Supreme Court filing, Charles S. Fax, Sergeant McKendrick's lawyer, said the suit was "unworthy of the court's attention."

Leo J. Ottey Jr., the assistant state attorney general representing the task force, said yesterday that he, too, was pleased with the court's decision.

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