Endorsements in Courthouse Races

August 30, 1994

At some point in their lives nearly every Anne Arundel resident has to deal with the county courthouse. Even when not involved personally with a trial, a civil suit or probate, we have a vested interest in a fair, secure, smooth-running local court system. Voters should not neglect to cast their ballots in the courthouse races on Sept. 13.

For sheriff, county police Sgt. George F. Johnson IV is unopposed in the Democratic primary. The Republican contest pits Baltimore City sheriff's deputy John E. Moran IV against incumbent Robert G. Pepersack Sr.

We have our share of problems with Mr. Pepersack, principally that he doesn't seem to understand that the sheriff's role does not include law enforcement, only courthouse security, service of legal papers and prisoner transport. Still, his qualifications far exceed Mr. Moran's, and he has professionalized the sheriff's office.

For Clerk of the Circuit Court, three Democrats and three Republicans have filed. The court clerk oversees basic day-to-day courthouse operations.

Our Democratic choice is Janet S. Owens, who recently resigned as a judge of the Orphans' Court to run for court clerk. She is a former director of the county Department of Aging and the Housing Authority. On the GOP side, we endorse Robert P. Duckworth, currently chief deputy court clerk. He has worked for the federal Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Nine Democrats and eight Republicans -- a record -- are vying for three seats as Orphans' Court judges. These judges resolve disputes over wills and estates.

Our Democratic recommendations are Betsy K. Dawson, an Annapolis attorney; incumbent judge Judith L. Duckett; and Edith L. Segree, a former County Council aide recently named to replace Mrs. Owens.

Our Republican choices are Elaine M. Furth, deputy to the county Register of Wills from 1991 to 1994; retired teacher and civic leader Mary Sellman Jackson; and William A. Scott, an attorney and retired Army colonel.

Republican Register of Wills George M. Nutwell Jr. and Democratic challenger Candace H. Beckett are unopposed in the primary.

Tomorrow: Preview of State's Attorney race.

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