Blizzard puts prosecutors in fast motion

January 12, 1996|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County prosecutors rushed to file motions yesterday to prevent charges from being dismissed against 11 juveniles whose court dates were postponed because of this week's blizzard.

Juvenile cases must be brought to court within 60 days of the citation by police, said Kristin Riggin, a spokeswoman for the county state's attorney. And the courthouse in Annapolis was closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday because of the storm, which dumped nearly 2 feet of snow on the region.

The motions were filed to beat the 60-day deadline in cases ranging from drug violations to battery and disorderly conduct charges, she said.

In some instances, cases had to be postponed for several weeks because of the time needed to serve subpoenas and because they had to be reset around the schedules of the Juvenile Court master, the lawyers and the parties involved, she said.

Robert G. Wallace, courthouse administrator, said it was the first time the courthouse had been closed for three consecutive weekdays in at least 20 years.

The storm created no problems with the 180-day deadline required to bring criminal cases in Anne Arundel Circuit Court, Ms. Riggin said.

Judge Robert H. Heller Jr., administrative judge of the Circuit Court, said the storm also did not pose any problems for lawyers trying to meet deadlines to file suits or reply to court actions. The three-day closing just meant a three-day extension of the deadlines, he said.

Mr. Wallace said late yesterday that no decision had been made on whether to close the courthouse today in anticipation of a new storm.

The 150 courthouse employees will be notified of a closure through a telephone tree and by morning radio and television reports, Mr. Wallace said.

"It's [the weather] just too unpredictable to decide now," he said.

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