McCrone enters race for state's attorney Democrat faults record of incumbent McLendon, has support from police

March 26, 1998|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

Political newcomer Timothy J. McCrone formally threw his hat into the ring for the job of Howard County state's attorney yesterday, promising to "restore tough, effective prosecution of criminals."

"The truth is that in recent years, some of the effectiveness that we once knew from that office has waned," the Ellicott City Democrat said at his announcement.

In an early sign of law-enforcement support for McCrone, he was introduced by former Howard County Police Chief James N. Robey, a candidate for county executive.

John Paparazzo, president of the local police union, and several members of the county police force attended the announcement

McCrone is expected to focus much of his campaign on the record of Republican State's Attorney Marna McLendon. He has cited statistics he said showed that just over half the people prosecutors take to trial are convicted.

A former Howard County prosecutor now in private practice, McCrone also referred yesterday to what he sees as "the abdication of responsibility" in the controversial case of Linda R. Tripp.

McLendon, who handed off any investigation of the Columbia woman for possible wiretap violations committed when Tripp secretly taped a former White House intern, has said partisan politics had made it impossible for her office to handle the case.

Robey, a fellow Democrat, said politics had nothing to do with his support for McCrone.

"I just think he is an outstanding individual who will give 110 percent to putting criminals behind bars in Howard County," Robey said.

Howard County Council members C. Vernon Gray and Mary C. Lorsung, both Democrats, also attended yesterday's announcement along with other officials of the county Democratic Party.

McCrone, 44, a Buffalo, N.Y., native, graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1981. He then joined Howard County's Office of Law as legal adviser to the police force.

A Howard prosecutor for six years, McCrone became supervisor of the office's narcotics team before leaving in 1991 to enter private practice. He is the attorney for the police union.

McCrone said that as state's attorney, he would focus on prosecutions of burglars, refuse to let accused armed robbers plea bargain to lesser offenses and seek mandatory sentences for convicted drug dealers.

He said he wanted to "stop the bleeding" of prosecutors leaving the office. Nearly half of the 22 prosecutors in McLendon's office have left since February 1996.

"There's an awful lot of talent going out the door," McCrone said.

Pub Date: 3/26/98

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