Pardoning the Unpardonable

October 07, 1994

A pardon for Sam Green? Incredible. And yet true.

Those with long memories recall the X-rated testimony at Samuel A. Green Jr.'s 1974 corruption trial. At the time, he was the powerful Baltimore County state's attorney. But he flagrantly betrayed the voters' trust. He extorted money from a top assistant. He covered up a bribe from a man seeking to get his arrest record expunged. He cheated on his expense account. He agreed to fix a case in exchange for sex. He threatened to kill a former deputy. He turned his office into a modern-day Sodom.

This is the man Gov. William Donald Schaefer has pardoned?

He met a hatcheck girl at a nightclub and hired her as a secretary -- without any typing test. Then he falsified her application to say she had an 11th-grade education. She, in turn, provided him with back rubs and did anything else he asked.

He regularly had sex with other office secretaries, including nights in motel rooms. He bragged about often opening his mail in the morning while engaging in sexual activity with a secretary.

He cheated a client out of $235,000 while acting as his legal guardian. He created phony legal files to cover up a bribery payment. He perjured himself before a grand jury.

He was an appalling embarrassment to the legal community. He corrupted his office and stained this state's criminal justice system.

Now Mr. Green has been pardoned. It is an unpardonable act by Governor Schaefer. Mr. Green never showed remorse for his unseemly and abusive actions, which netted him 6 months in prison on a three-year sentence. Once before he tried to win a partial pardon, but Gov. Harry R. Hughes rightly rejected this bid in 1979, noting that Mr. Green showed no repentance. He still doesn't.

Last month, Governor Schaefer signed a posthumous pardon for Jerome Cardin, one of the major culprits in Maryland's shameful savings and loan scandal. That was bad enough. But now comes the Green pardon. What next? We shudder to think.

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