Bobo's son convicted in theft of $2,000 bicycle

March 30, 1995|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

The son of Del. Elizabeth Bobo was given a suspended 18-month prison term yesterday for stealing a $2,000 racing bicycle, a conviction that his attorney said will be appealed.

Clifford Louis Bobo, 27, a law student and professional bicycle racer, was sentenced after Carroll County District Judge JoAnn Ellinghaus-Jones denied his attorney's request for a new trial.

Mr. Bobo maintained his innocence at yesterday's hearing, contending that his arrest was the result of a "grudge" his former friends hold against him for trying to improve his life.

"I think what we have here is a group of individuals who have chosen to do nothing with their lives and hold a grudge against someone who has," said Mr. Bobo, who lives in the 9200 block of Winding Way in Ellicott City.

But Judge Ellinghaus-Jones said she didn't believe Mr. Bobo. "I feel you were less than honest," she told him. "I'm not impressed with your attitude."

In addition to the suspended prison term, she ordered Mr. Bobo to complete two years of probation and 100 hours of community service.

She then stayed the sentence, pending the outcome of Mr. Bobo's appeal to Circuit Court. He has 30 days to file his appeal.

He wants a new trial so he can challenge the credibility of three prosecution witnesses who were arrested on drug possession charges the day before his trial. Their cases are pending.

Defense attorney David Greenberg of Columbia noted that he and Assistant State's Attorney Shawn Larson were unaware that the witnesses -- former friends of Mr. Bobo's -- were arrested after a police raid at their home in Columbia's Owen Brown village.

Judge Ellinghaus-Jones acknowledged that the witnesses' credibility might have been damaged had she known of their arrests. But she said the main issue was the credibility of Mr. Bobo, whom she said she found to be dishonest during his testimony.

Mr. Bobo, who had no criminal record, was convicted Jan. 19 of theft, a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. His case was moved to Carroll County to avoid a conflict for Howard County court officials.

His mother is a lawyer and former Howard County executive who was elected a state delegate for the county's District 12B last fall. Ms. Bobo says she supports her son's decision to appeal. "He's an adult. How he handles this case is his choice," she said. "I'm very proud to be his mother."

Mr. Bobo was arrested in September 1993 after a three-month police investigation into the theft of a Cannondale bicycle from the roof of a car parked at the Dorsey's Search Village Center in Columbia.

An anonymous caller told police he had seen Mr. Bobo unstrap the 1993 ultralight red bicycle from the car's roof and take it to his house, according to court records. The caller said Mr. Bobo stripped parts from the bicycle and mailed the frame to a bicycle dealer in Italy, records say.

A police search of Mr. Bobo's home turned up several components identified by the owner of the bicycle, records say. Two of his friends told police that he had bragged about the theft and "was excited" because the crime had been reported in the Columbia Flier, a weekly newspaper.

His conviction may jeopardize his law career, although a felony conviction does not automatically disqualify someone from obtaining a Maryland law license, according to state laws. The state Board of Law Examiners determines whether a felon has been rehabilitated and should be permitted to obtain a license.

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