Broccolino, McLendon for Prosecutor

August 31, 1994

In the race for Howard County state's attorney, voters have more than just personalities to consider. The integrity and independence of the law enforcement office is at stake.

State's Attorney William Hymes has chosen not to run for a fourth four-year term. Seeking to succeed him are Democrats Michael Weal and Dario Broccolino and Republicans Marna McLendon and Joseph Fleischmann II.

By all reports, Mr. Weal, senior assistant state's attorney for the county, is a competent, experienced prosecutor. With 17 years in the county office, he has racked up an impressive list of accomplishments and is well versed on the office's inner workings.

Mr. Weal, however, has demonstrated in this campaign that he is not so cautious in guarding the probity of the state's attorney's office. His decision to use other assistant state's attorneys in his campaign shows that he fails to realize the importance of independence in running the office. Mr. Weal has promised two assistant prosecutors the deputy positions if he lands the top job, although he says he made the promises before the assistants joined his campaign. We fail to understand the significance of this latter assertion.

The fact is, Mr. Weal has allowed at least the appearance of a conflict of interest to exist. Moreover, he lends credence to what is commonly believed in legal circles; that the county prosecutor's office is rife with patronage that may even extend to defense attorneys. This cannot be tolerated.

Mr. Broccolino, a state's attorney coordinator and former Baltimore prosecutor, is the other Democratic candidate in the Sept. 13 primary. As a coordinator, he offers training to state prosecutors on the latest advances in their field. He has campaigned as someone outside the inner circle of the county prosecutor's office and has espoused the fundamental importance of an independent state's attorney. He has the right intentions and wins our endorsement.

On the Republican side, we endorse Ms. McLendon, an experienced former assistant state's attorney who understands the need for change in the prosecutor's office.

Her challenger, Mr. Fleischmann, has been away too long from daily prosecutorial duties.

=- Tomorrow: The 6th Congressional District.

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