City sheriff scramble

August 31, 1994

Most politicians are known for their chutzpah. But few are as brazen as Shelton J. Stewart Jr.

In 1986, he became Baltimore's sheriff. Two years later, he was convicted of obstruction of justice and removed from office. Now he is running for sheriff again.

Voters should strongly rebuff this effort by a convicted felon to return to office. They can do it best by pulling the lever for John W. Anderson, who was appointed to the post in 1989.

L For the most part, Sheriff Anderson has done a splendid job.

He has hounded dead-beat parents for support payments and generally worked to heighten the profile of his department. This is good.

But we are disturbed by some of his recent muscle-flexing

moves, such as ordering deputies to begin enforcing traffic violations. Mr. Anderson should take care to avoid catching the megalomania virus of the Pepersack brothers, the power-hungry sheriffs of Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties.

Beatrice Brown, arguably the most active of Mr. Anderson's challengers, has pointedly criticized the incumbent for straying from the focus on court services. This is her second try for the office.

For Register of Wills, we endorse the incumbent, Mary W. Conaway. The incumbent state's attorney, Stuart Simms, and Clerk of the Circuit Court, Saundra E. Banks, are both unopposed.

L The city's Orphans' Court has gone through some rough times.

Earlier this year, that three-person bench was effectively down to one judge, with one ill and a vacancy. As a result, the whole process of handling estates, contested wills, suits against dead parties and guardianship issues came to a virtual halt.

In April, things finally began improving with the swearing in of Joyce M. Baylor-Thompson to the bench.

We are firmly of the opinion that the whole Orphans' Court system throughout Maryland is a relic. These benches ought to be consolidated with the Circuit Courts, as has been done in Harford and Montgomery counties. As long as the court exists in Baltimore City, however, we have to give voters guidance about persons seeking judgeships.

There are several qualified challengers. But we feel that the incumbents, Ms. Baylor-Thompson, Howard I. Golden and Michael Waring Lee deserve re-election. They know the job and are capable of handling it.

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