Defense lawyer says prosecutor drove at him

August 31, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

A prominent Westminster defense attorney told police that Carroll State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman drove at him as he walked along campaigning for Mr. Hickman's Republican primary election opponent.

The prosecutor says that if he had tried to run him over, he wouldn't have missed.

Stephen P. Bourexis -- whose relationship with the five-term prosecutor can most politely be called strained -- said that on Sunday, a brown Ford Bronco drove toward him, swerved and stopped in front of him, according to an incident report filed Monday with Maryland State Police by the defense attorney.

"The driver exited the Bronco [and] was observed by the victim to be Thomas Hickman, the current Carroll County State's Attorney," the report said.

Reached yesterday, Mr. Hickman laughed heartily when told of the report -- which does not recommend any criminal charges -- filed by Mr. Bourexis.

"He says I tried to run over him? If I was trying to run over him, I certainly wouldn't have missed. I'm a good driver," Mr. Hickman said.

Mr. Hickman did not deny approaching Mr. Bourexis Sunday afternoon while the defense attorney and his law partner were in Uniontown going door to door campaigning for Jerry F. Barnes, Mr. Hickman's primary opponent.

The prosecutor said yesterday that parts of the report filed by Mr. Bourexis are accurate.

"I saw him posting signs, going door to door, and I thought it was a hilarious scene, considering Steven's background," Mr. Hickman said.

He declined to explain what he meant by Mr. Bourexis' background, but he did say that in the 13 years Mr. Barnes worked for him as an assistant state's attorney, Mr. Barnes and Mr. Bourexis didn't like each other.

According to the report, which was taken by First Sgt. Thomas H. Long, Mr. Hickman snapped pictures of Mr. Bourexis:

"The victim alleges that Mr. Hickman, in a very sarcastic manner, stated, 'These pictures would look good in my private advertisements in the newspaper.' Mr. Hickman then also stated either, 'You'll be sorry for this' or 'You will regret this.' "

Mr. Hickman said he took the pictures because "I didn't think anyone would believe me that he would go door to door up there on a Sunday campaigning for him."

He said all that he told Mr. Bourexis was, "Thanks for the photos, Steve, these will run in the newspaper." Mr. Hickman laughed as he described what he did Sunday.

If Mr. Hickman thought it was a joke, Mr. Bourexis and his #F partner, Judith S. Stainbrook, aren't getting it.

In a letter sent to Mr. Hickman last night by their attorney, Glen M. Fallin, the law partners called the prosecutor's behavior "bizarre and threatening.

" . . . my clients believed that your actions signaled a threat to their physical safety.

"Surely everyone familiar with your behavior as state's attorney concluded that it's time for your reign of vindictiveness to end," said the letter, which was obtained by The Sun. "We demand you desist and repudiate publicly this behavior . . ."

Mr. Bourexis, who was suspended from the practice of law for six months this year on a grievance initiated by Mr. Hickman, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But Ms. Stainbrook said that if Mr. Hickman thinks he would embarrass Mr. Barnes or Mr. Bourexis by publishing the pictures he took, he is mistaken.

"Everybody knows Steven is a supporter of Jerry Barnes," Ms. Stainbrook said.

Mr. Barnes did not return telephone messages seeking comment last night.

Mr. Bourexis has filed -- and lost -- a $10 million lawsuit claiming the prosecutor and the county drug task force "blackballed" him from plea bargains.

Mr. Hickman has accused Mr. Bourexis of lying and, according to confidential Attorney Grievance Commission records, Mr. Hickman filed the complaint that forced Mr. Bourexis to accept a suspension from his $200,000-a-year practice in December. The records say Mr. Hickman brought the commission's attention to Mr. Bourexis' failure to repay a loan from a longtime friend and client.

Mr. Hickman has denied making the complaint.

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