Ex-defender charged with theft, perjury

September 26, 2001|By Sarah Koenig | Sarah Koenig,SUN STAFF

A former public defender has been indicted by a Baltimore grand jury on charges of theft and perjury.

David R. Eaton, who worked in the city public defender's office for more than 20 years, is accused of stealing $114,412 during a four-year period from the elderly, mentally disabled man for whom he was financial guardian.

The misappropriation led to Eaton's disbarment in July, less than a week after his retirement.

Claiming "a continuing scheme" of theft, a grand jury also indicted Eaton, 63, of Roland Park on two counts of perjury, saying he signed fiduciary reports that he knew were "willfully and corruptly false."

If convicted, Eaton faces up to 35 years in prison. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Deputy State's Attorney Haven H. Kodeck said prosecuting a fellow attorney "is very uncomfortable, especially when it's someone who's in the system, and who's worked cases with you on the other side." But, Kodeck added, "We're one of the few jurisdictions that prosecutes attorneys. We're not proud of that fact, but it's our belief that they should be held to a higher standard."

Eaton, 63, had been financial guardian for E. Read Beard Jr. since 1982 because Beard could not read, write or calculate numbers, court documents show.

Beard, of Guilford, died in February of last year at age 72.

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