Man again asks ruling on abuse be overturned Lawyer for Weiner files papers after Bollinger reinstates conviction

February 12, 1997|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A day after Baltimore County Circuit Judge Thomas J. Bollinger Sr. restored the 1995 conviction of a Baltimore pawnbroker for beating his estranged wife, the man's lawyer moved to have his record wiped clean again by filing new documents in Circuit Court.

The move came after Bollinger on Monday reversed his controversial Jan. 31 decision to change Charles H. Weiner's battery conviction to probation before judgment. Bollinger reinstated the conviction on grounds that Weiner never signed a "written consent" agreeing to the probation terms.

At the same time, in a highly unorthodox move prompted by days of criticism from legislators and women's groups, Bollinger disqualified himself from hearing the case -- and any other cases involving rape or domestic violence.

Yesterday, Weiner's lawyer filed the written consent on Weiner's behalf, hoping to overturn Bollinger's most recent order and to wipe out the conviction.

"The court did not afford Defendant an opportunity to sign a written consent at the time of the hearing," noted the consent form, written by Weiner's lawyer, Steven R. Freeman.

Freeman said the written transcript in the case should suffice as documentation that Weiner agreed to the probation.

But county Administrative Judge John Grason Turnbull II said Weiner's written consent comes too late. Bollinger's order of probation before judgment "has been stricken. It's too late to do that after the fact," he said.

Turnbull said he will find another judge to reconsider Weiner's original motion to have his battery conviction wiped out.

"I will circulate a memo to see who would be willing to hear it. If enough of the bench disqualifies themselves, I'll have to go outside the circuit, maybe to Harford County," he said.

Turnbull noted that other judges may want to disqualify themselves from hearing the case because of the controversy.

Weiner, 50, was convicted of battery after he beat his estranged wife in the foyer of their Owings Mills home in December 1994.

In changing the battery conviction to probation before judgment, Bollinger said he acted to "remove a stigma" after Weiner's lawyer told him that, among other things, the conviction might have doomed his client's application to join a country club.

Weiner, who was in Florida on business yesterday, did not return a reporter's phone call.

Freeman said he also is considering appealing Bollinger's latest order to the state Court of Special Appeals.

Pub Date: 2/12/97

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