Endorsements in Courthouse Races

August 30, 1994

In the race for Howard County sheriff, incumbent Michael A. Chiuchiolo has no opposition for the Democratic nomination. The 53-year-old sheriff is probably best known for whom he fired in 1991: twin brothers who were deputy sheriffs but prone to mimicking Nazis while on the job. Donald and Dennis Pruitt tried to pass off their behavior as harmless joking, but the brothers -- the department's second- and third-ranking officers at the time -- persisted over the objections of employees and supervisors for eight years. It was time for them to go.

Since cleaning up that stain, Mr. Chiuchiolo has infused the sheriff's office with a renewed spirit, giving long-time employees new opportunities and offering law enforcement training for inexperienced employees. The department is recognized statewide for its efforts in improving racial, religious and ethnic understanding and was recently granted state funds to run an innovative alternative sentencing program.

In the Republican primary for sheriff, Richmond Laney and Theodore W. Morse are both Ellicott City residents with similar backgrounds in the armed services and private enterprise. Neither, however, has experience in law enforcement. Due to Mr. Laney's experience as an active reservist and his current service on the county's Property Tax Assessment Board, we recommend him in the primary.

Meanwhile, the battle for Circuit Court clerk in Howard County is heating up as a serious contest between two viable candidates, even though the position traditionally generates little excitement. Because the two contenders hail from different parties, there will be no primary.

That should give Democratic contender Leslie J. Cale a chance to become better known before the Nov. 8 general election when she faces Republican incumbent Margaret D. Rappaport.

Ms. Rappaport is credited with managing the transfer of county land records to microfilm in the clerk's office, and is generally regarded as a good administrator. She has, however, been known to alienate some employees.

Ms. Cale has no direct experience in the clerk's office but has worked as a court reporter for 11 years and is generally well-liked.

Tomorrow: State's Attorney endorsements.

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