City lawyer withdraws from state's attorney race

Says unjust attacks had `worn me down'

September 11, 2001|By Michael Scarcella | Michael Scarcella,SUN STAFF

Less than a week after announcing his candidacy, Baltimore lawyer Warren A. Brown announced last night he is withdrawing from the race for city state's attorney - saying that he has a family to raise and that unjustified personal attacks from opponents had "worn me down."

"It was a vicious undertaking," Brown said. "I was slapped down. [Opponents] focused on things that had nothing to do with my ability to bring down crime."

Brown said he will hold a news conference this afternoon outside his offices to discuss his decision.

"I was completely naive," he said. "I was hoping people would stop and reflect on what I bring to the table. They didn't. If you're not a politician, you won't get in."

Brown, 48, had made a public show of his candidacy Wednesday when he showed up outside the city's two courthouses with a throng of placard-waving supporters.

He said last night that the decision to run was one he had labored over for a year - enduring "sleepless nights" - because it would mean walking away from his law practice.

It also meant putting himself under scrutiny, and Brown had harsh words Wednesday for Julius Henson, a campaign consultant working for City Councilwoman Lisa J. Stancil, who also is in the running for state's attorney.

Henson was digging into matters such as alleged extramarital affairs, prompting Brown's comment, directed to Henson, that "your vicious lies won't send me packing." He added then, "I am here to stay."

Last night, Brown said, "I put my feet in, and the piranhas attacked."

Although he skirted around overt personal attacks against Henson at the announcement rally last week, he singled out Henson last night as influencing his decision to quickly end the quest to become the city's top prosecutor.

"He's just doing his job," Brown said of Henson. "But his attacks are irrelevant."

Henson, informed last night of Brown's withdrawal, said, "I am supposed to do you in, out of the gate. That's my job.

"The art of politics ... places candidates under the microscope. Few people can survive that scrutiny."

"It got to be too much," Brown said last night. "I was cranky to my children, and it wasn't fair to them."

Henson contended last night that Brown's campaign was "in bad shape to begin with," and that Brown's record wasn't going to hold up to further inspection.

Brown said he will continue to practice law and coach youth football.

Others still in the race include incumbent Patricia C. Jessamy, who has held the office for six years, and Baltimore defense lawyer Anton J. S. Keating.

In halting his bid for the job, Brown spoke of Keating - the lone white candidate in the group - as "the most knowledgeable" but said that "he won't win unless there's a split in the black vote."

Brown did not offer an endorsement of any of the candidates, however, saying, "I am more than willing to sit down with whoever wins to discuss ideas."

During his short campaign, Brown called for tougher penalties for serious crime and greater use of probation before judgment for petty offenders to avoid the criminal stain that could ruin job and housing opportunities.

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