Howard Week

September 23, 2001

Howard judge named chief of District Court

Howard County District Judge James N. Vaughan, a 19-year veteran who has ordered criminals to read Les Miserables and invented a "maxim of red lights" for traffic cases, was named chief judge of Maryland's District Court system Tuesday.

Vaughan, 66, was appointed to one of the state's top three judicial positions by Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell. Vaughan took his new post Wednesday, replacing Martha F. Rasin, who resigned to return to her previous job as a trial judge in Anne Arundel County.

"He brings the ability to be outspoken and present his point of view in a forceful way," Bell said. "He's got a great sense of humor. He's able to deal with weighty issues, but he doesn't take himself too seriously."

Investigation in shooting reveals dispute over call

As an investigation into the first fatal shooting by Howard County police in more than two years moves forward, a disagreement has emerged over whether there was specific reason to believe that the man killed by police last week was armed with a gun.

Pfc. Timothy Wiley, who shot Harold Clifton Schwartz, 43, Sept. 10, told his lawyer he believed that Schwartz was the person who a police radio dispatcher had said was armed with a handgun.

Schwartz did not have a gun at the time of the shooting, police said.

"His entire interaction with Schwartz was based on the presumption that he was the person with a handgun referred to in police dispatches," said Wiley's lawyer, Tim McCrone.

"The dispatch was never corrected in a way that Wiley would have believed any differently," McCrone said.

But the initial "10-32" police radio dispatch, which means "subject with a gun," was "quickly clarified" to indicate that the person calling in a complaint had a handgun, not Schwartz, said county police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn.

Redistricting board settles on recommendation

What began in July with five competing plans for redrawing the boundaries of Howard County Council districts was narrowed to one recommendation Thursday night on a 4-3 party line vote.

Democrats on the Howard County Councilmanic Redistricting Commission prevailed with a plan that concentrates the bulk of Democratic voters in three Columbia-based districts, while leaving most Republicans in the other two districts that cover the rural western county, Ellicott City and part of Elkridge.

It is not a great departure from current district lines.

The main changes, if the County Council goes along, would move most of Fulton and Scaggsville into western District 5, while pushing west Columbia's District 4 farther north to take in Dorsey Search and areas north of Route 108. The council has scheduled a public hearing Nov. 5 after the regular County Council meeting.

Despite a few amendments to make the new districts closer to the ideal population based on the 2000 Census, Republicans still denounced the final version as a partisan attempt to "pack" their voters, while Democrats said their goal was to keep communities together.

Report shows changes in suspension data

Howard County students did a behavioral flip-flop last school year. The number of suspensions in middle schools increased while suspensions in elementary and high schools declined, according to a report presented to the Board of Education Thursday night.

That's the opposite of the previous school year, when middle school incidents dropped and the county's older and younger children were suspended more often.

"The numbers go up and down every year," said Alice Haskins, director of middle schools. "I don't think we should try to attribute the numbers to anything."

Haskins said she found the increase in middle school suspensions somewhat alarming. They grew enough to cause the system's total number of suspensions to increase, even taking into consideration the fewer suspensions in high schools and grade schools.

Murder trial begins in hotel shooting case

The first-degree murder trial of a 21-year-old Jessup man accused of a double shooting that left one man dead at a birthday party in a Columbia hotel in January began Tuesday in Howard County Circuit Court.

The case centers on an incident that attracted widespread attention and concern about teens holding parties in hotels, and it generated sharp parental criticism of police handling of the subsequent investigation.

Shamal Ira Chapman is accused of shooting a gun through two closed doors between adjoining hotel rooms. Long Reach High School senior Andre Devonne Corinaldi, 18, was killed in the incident, and Lauren Nicole Perkins, 18, of Elkridge was injured.

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