Corrupt prosecutor pardoned

October 04, 1994|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,Sun Staff Writer

Former Baltimore County State's Attorney Samuel A. Green Jr. has been pardoned by the governor for his 1974 conviction for conspiracy, misconduct in office, obstruction of justice and inducing perjury, a gubernatorial spokesman said yesterday.

Mr. Green's conviction on corruption charges involved a scheme to cover up an illegal $750 payment from a man who wanted an arrest record destroyed.

But the scope of his trial broadened to include tales of his sexual exploits, often involving members of his staff who testified in court before overflow crowds.

Twenty years later, the trial is still remembered for its often lurid testimony.

"You wouldn't have wanted your mother or sister in the courtroom," recalled Towson attorney Peter D. Ward, who prosecuted the case for the attorney general's office nearly 20 years ago.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer has not officially announced the pardon, and officials so far have not provided details of Mr. Green's application despite repeated requests by The Sun. However, Brendan Clifford, an assistant for legal, labor and special issues, said the governor has signed the executive order.

"At first, my initial reaction is surprise," said Mr. Ward. "My considered reaction, in light of other events, is I'm not surprised."

He referred to the governor's recent, posthumous pardon of the late Jerome S. Cardin, who was convicted of stealing $385,000 from Old Court Savings and Loan.

Mr. Cardin had a long record of civic duty and philanthropy. But Mr. Ward said, "I'm not aware of any great good deeds that Mr. Green has done."

Mr. Green was sentenced to three years in prison and served six months before being released in March 1976, at age 44, still maintaining that he was not guilty.

"I just don't desire to go through life with a conviction I don't feel in my own mind was justified," he said then.

Attempts to locate Mr. Green since his pardon application in August have been unsuccessful. He was not living at the address listed on his Florida driver's license.

According to a handful of lawyers, officials and friends who have had news of him in recent years, Mr. Green has been living and working in Florida and Georgia.

One friend said a Christmas card that he sent last year to Mr. Green's former West Palm Beach address was returned marked "addressee unknown."

Where is he now?

A lawyer who spoke under condition of anonymity said he talked with Mr. Green several months ago.

At the time, he said, Mr. Green sounded well and said he was working in historical restoration in Macon, Ga., traveling back and forth from Florida.

But in Georgia, officials at the historical society and at several historic rehabilitation projects said they hadn't heard of him.

Although the secretary of state ran a required legal notice in August that listed Mr. Green's application along with several other requests for pardons, the Parole Commission has so far refused a formal request by The Sun to release his application under Maryland's public information law, citing possible confidentiality restrictions.

The Parole Commission reviewed Mr. Green's pardon request and returned it with a recommendation to the governor. Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Nathan said the recommendation is confidential.

Mr. Green was disbarred in November 1976 in a Court of Appeals decision that said, "It is difficult to conceive of a crime which strikes more at the very fundamentals of our system of justice than that of subornation of perjury. . . ."

The pardon does not affect Mr. Green's disbarment.

In Baltimore County, Deputy State's Attorney Howard B. Merker said his office had nothing to do with the pardon and wasn't notified of Mr. Green's application. Mr. Merker said he now has Mr. Green's old desk.

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