Trooper sentenced to do essay

September 28, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

Trooper Dale Carnegie came to court yesterday to explain why he failed to show up for a drug trial and left with a punishment more often given to errant schoolboys than undercover officers -- a 500-word essay ordered by the judge.

Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Eugene M. Lerner sentenced Trooper Carnegie to write an essay on "the value of a subpoena" for failing to show up for the Aug. 25 trial of an Annapolis man he arrested on drug charges.

Willis Wilkerson, 23, was arrested by the trooper March 31 in Annapolis and charged with cocaine possession and distribution.

Trooper Carnegie's absence forced Assistant State's Attorney John H. Robinson III to drop charges against Mr. Wilkerson, who was accused of selling the trooper $20 worth of crack cocaine about three blocks from the State House.

The trooper, a six-year veteran and a member of a state police drug task force, told the judge yesterday that he thought the trial had been delayed.

"I've never had anything like this happen before, and I'm sorry that it did," he said.

He said he had called the state's attorney's office two weeks before the trial and again the day before and was told by two different people the case had been continued. But he said he could not remember who told him that.

Judge Lerner said he found it difficult to accept that Trooper Carnegie had forgotten to obtain the names of the people he called.

"Don't they teach them that in trooper school, to get a name when they call? I mean, he could've been talking to a child for all he knew," the judge said.

Mr. Robinson, who requested yesterday's hearing, said that his office specifically refused a written request by Trooper Carnegie's supervisor to delay the trial last month.

Mr. Robinson said that only he, State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee and William Mulford II, the prosecutor who heads drug enforcement unit, could seek a postponement. But none had talked with the trooper, he said.

The judge ordered the essay because he said he considered the case a "serious matter."

"I don't know when you graduated from trooper school or if they told you the value of a subpoena, but the average citizen on the street knows what a subpoena is," he said.

The assignment is due in 20 days.

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