Jessamy will have clear path to election as state's attorney

July 08, 1998|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

In the increasingly unpredictable world of the 1998 elections, here's one sure bet: Patricia C. Jessamy will remain in office as Baltimore's top prosecutor.

That's because no one signed up by Monday night's filing deadline to oppose Jessamy in either the Democratic primary or November's general election.

Jessamy -- a longtime deputy who was appointed city state's attorney in 1995 after her boss got a high-level state job -- said she was "very pleased" to have a clear path in her first election.

Jessamy, who has been at odds with the Police Department over dropped cases and has clashed with City Council members over her reluctance to support zero-tolerance policing, added, "The fact that I made some hard decisions may be part of the reason."

She listed as an example her decision not to bring criminal charges against a police officer who shot a knife-wielding man outside Lexington Market last summer in a videotaped confrontation.

Councilman Martin O'Malley of Northeast Baltimore, one of those who have been critical of Jessamy, called the lack of opposition "a shame."

O'Malley was passed over for state's attorney by the city's Circuit Court judges in favor of Jessamy in 1995 after Stuart O. Simms was tapped to be the state's secretary of the Department of Juvenile Justice. He had been mentioned as a possible challenger but said months ago he would not be a candidate.

Jessamy will not be the only unopposed incumbent in the courthouse. Judges Joyce M. Baylor-Thompson, Lewyn Scott Garrett and Howard I. Golden, of the city's Orphans Court, which processes wills, face no opposition.

The nine sitting Baltimore Circuit Court judges who are up for election would not have to face the voters if not for Page Croyder.

A veteran assistant city state's attorney who heads the central booking unit, Croyder said she filed as a candidate Monday because of her frustration that judges often run unopposed.

Among Baltimore's state legislators, only Sen. Perry Sfikas of Southeast Baltimore has a free ride. Sfikas, a Democrat from the 46th District, has no primary opposition, and no one filed to oppose him as a Republican or an Independent.

Each of the city's seven other state senators faces at least one opponent in September's primary or November's general election. There also will be at least nominally contested races for House seats in each city legislative district.

At the courthouse, races will be contested in the Democratic primary for sheriff, register of wills and Circuit Court clerk.

Pub Date: 7/08/98

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