Greiber says arrests rose but prosecutions dropped

September 18, 1994|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Sun Staff Writer

While county police are arresting more people than ever, State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee is taking fewer of them to court, John R. Greiber, the Republican candidate for the office, charged Friday.

But Mr. Weathersbee said his opponent's calculations make no sense and the number of indictments his office obtained increased from 1,608 in 1990 to 1,925 in 1993.

"This is the most ridiculous example of an individual who knows nothing about the criminal justice system," he said.

In a 12-page memo delivered to reporters, Mr. Greiber said county police arrests jumped from 11,561 in 1990 to 14,758 last year. Meanwhile, he contended, the number of cases prosecuted by Mr. Weathersbee's office dropped from 4,395 in 1990 to 2,533 last year.

"If crime is up, why are prosecutions down?" Mr. Greiber asked. "These two figures should be parallel. But they are not in sync."

Mr. Greiber said he has spent a year compiling the figures to support his assertion that Mr. Weathersbee is incompetent. He counted the number of criminal cases filed in Circuit Court for each of four years, then compared them with county police arrest figures for the same years.

But it's not that simple, Mr. Weathersbee said, calling Mr. Greiber the "master of mistakes."

The figures Mr. Greiber cited are not comparable for two reasons, he said.

First, the number of criminal cases filed in Circuit Court each year are not just the product of arrests made that year. They also include violations of probations issued by judges, appeals and requests to move a case from District to Circuit Court. Second, many arrests for minor offenses are resolved in District Court and never get to Circuit Court.

State police also said Mr. Greiber's arrest figures are incorrect because they do not include arrests made by state and `f Annapolis police, sheriff's deputies and other law enforcement agencies.

"This demonstrates Mr. Greiber's frightening lack of understanding of the criminal justice system," Mr. Weathersbee said.

"That's baloney," Mr. Greiber countered, claiming Mr. Weathersbee is "cooking the books."

"Each case number has some history or origin of arrest. They are generated by arrests unless a person turns himself in. And how often does that happen?"

Mr. Greiber also contended that the number of juvenile arrests is climbing while prosecutors are taking fewer of them to court. But Mr. Weathersbee said that those figures are not comparable, either, because the police send those cases to the state Juvenile Services Administration, which then decides whether to send them on to the state's attorney's office or handle them in another way.

Mr. Greiber, a partner in the Annapolis law firm of Council, Baradel, Kosmerl & Nolan who describes himself as a constitutional lawyer, says he has tried fewer than six criminal cases. But he maintains that a background in criminal law is not necessary to be state's attorney because the job is mainly administrative. He says criminal law is "child's play" and "not rocket science."

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