The State's Attorney's RaceIn response to your editorial...


April 03, 1994

The State's Attorney's Race

In response to your editorial of March 21 ("Weathersbee's Weakness"), you ask what do I have "to lose" by taking a flawed case to the jury?

The answer, obvious to any fair-minded person, is integrity. First, mine. And then that of the criminal justice system of Anne Arundel County.

I will not take a case before a jury on skimpy evidence, as you suggest, and then blame that jury when a verdict is not guilty. That, to me, is the easy, dishonorable, weak . . . choice. . . . As a professional prosecutor, my duty is "to do justice," to obtain a just conviction, not merely provide the public with the "entertainment" of a public trial. It often takes a great deal of time and hard work, in some cases years, to develop sufficient evidence to prosecute a serious case. It is my responsibility to the citizens of this county to ensure that people who commit crimes are, in fact, guilty, and then punished.

Determinations of which people to charge for which offenses may always, especially in a political year, lead to criticism of the prosecutor. A decision to bring particular charges or seek particular sentences will bring allegations that it was politically motivated, . . . while a decision not to charge may bring more editorials of weakness. The decision for me is, in fact, easy -- I'll do the right thing.

So you ask, what do I have to lose in bringing a given case before the jury? When prosecution in this county is driven by media opinion, or as your editorial pointed out, the yapping of a political opportunist, the citizens of this county will be the ultimate losers.

Frank R. Weathersbee


G; The writer is state's attorney for Anne Arundel County.

I am dismayed, but not surprised, by the state's attorney's mudslinging against his opponent. The incumbent has resorted to personal attacks in a desperate attempt to distract the voters from the management problems that plague his office.

I am proud of John Greiber and the way he is challenging the incumbent's record. John is being as harsh as the truth and as uncompromising as justice. To his opponent, whose mismanagement and poor judgment are endangering the public's safety, that might appear to be "mean-spirited" and "malicious."

The state's attorney is not, as he sees himself, simply the manager of "the largest law firm in the county." He is, rather, the county's chief law enforcement officer. . . . The people deserve an honest and spirited debate on fighting crime and a thorough accounting of the incumbent's record to enable them to cast an informed vote in November. The present state's attorney needs to join the debate and stop the name-calling. Or, as a great American once said, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

Mark Parenti


G; The writer is chairman of Greiber for State's Attorney.

Trash: To Burn or Not to Burn?

I think that Elise Armacost's column in the March 13 Sun for Anne Arundel County ("Trash: Good Scare, But Was It Science?") was right on the mark.

The opponents of incinerators and landfills like to use scare tactics regarding the potential consequence of whatever project they don't want in their backyards. What really disturbs me is the use of "hired gun" professionals or scientists who are brought in to give credibility to a particular point of view. They give science a bad name. . . . I am a registered engineer and registered geologist and have devoted a great deal of my professional career to environmental issues that range from helping municipalities to select the best site for a landfill to cleaning up contaminated soil and ground water at abandoned industrial sites. . . . I have found that the best way to communicate is to assume that the people who are interested in an issue are intelligent and able to understand facts that are presented.

I am particularly offended by Peter Montague's portrayal of the toxicology of various particulates that enter a typical incinerator exhaust stack without, as you pointed out, discussing the effectiveness of available scrubber technology and how that impacts what is released to the atmosphere. This information is well-documented and available from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Clean Air Act requires emissions to be below certain levels. Any source of air emissions such as an incinerator exhaust stack must be monitored on a regular basis. If reported emissions are above the required levels, corrective action just be taken or the facility must cease its operations.

Dr. Montague's statement, "Put a hole in the ground and contaminate a small area of ground water, or burn it and spread it through the countryside," demonstrates ignorance with respect to migration paths of ground water-borne contaminates. also wrongly assumes that all landfills contaminate the environment.

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