Week In Review

March 26, 2006

Anne Arundel

Lawyer may seek prosecutor's job

Here is a summary of Anne Arundel news items that appeared in other sections of The Sun:

The lawyer who won an acquittal in a high-profile criminal trial in Anne Arundel County announced that he was forming an exploratory committee for a state's attorney's bid and was leaning toward trying to take the job away from the county's longtime chief prosecutor.

Republican David W. Fischer, 36, would mount what political observers say could be a serious challenge to Democrat Frank R. Weathersbee's 18-year lock on the office. Fischer's potential bid comes in a year when his party suspects the incumbent is vulnerable and as the number of GOP-registered voters has climbed in a conservative county that voted heavily for Republicans four years ago.

Fischer, the managing partner of a small private law practice in Glen Burnie, confirmed his interest Monday.

Last year he successfully defended Jacob Fortney, a white youth, against a manslaughter charge in the only one of six cases to be tried in the 2004 death of black teenager Noah Jamahl Jones in a Pasadena melee.

Maryland section, March 21

Anne Arundel

Gambling trial hits a snag

A man who said he played Texas hold 'em poker at what Anne Arundel County police investigators say was an illegal gambling venue run by a Howard County police officer and his father refused to testify shortly after their trial began Wednesday, when a judge told him he could incriminate himself because he had no immunity from prosecution.

Told by Anne Arundel County District Judge Thomas J. Pryal of his potential peril and his right not to testify against Officer Michael "Tykie" Thorn and Gary Thorn, Joseph Geiman chose to step down from the witness stand. He was the first of several prosecution witnesses who had no immunity from prosecution to say, after being advised of their rights by Pryal, that they wouldn't testify before talking to a lawyer.

The issue was sparked by the Thorns' defense lawyers arguing on the trial's first day that court rules say they should have been told about all inducements prosecutors were using to get witnesses to testify. There were none, though Assistant State's Attorney Mark Tyler quickly obtained an immunity offer that could be used to force Geiman to testify.

"You can't ambush us on the day of trial," said Joseph Murtha, the lawyer for Gary Thorn, 64, of Glen Burnie.

Tyler said he was prepared to have the immunity issue resolved by the day the trial resumes - tentatively June 30.

Maryland section, March 23

Naval Academy

Data reflect Mids' changing attitudes

A growing number of female midshipmen at the Naval Academy believe students won't be resented if they report sexual misconduct, according to survey data released by the military college Thursday.

The survey revealed that 5 percent of female Mids who responded last fall said they believe those who report sexual harassment will be resented, a sharp decline from 66 percent in 2003.

Academy officials said the data reflect a significant improvement in the climate of the academy about the reporting of sexual harassment and assault, a priority of Vice Adm. Rodney P. Rempt, the superintendent.

But the data also show continuing cultural challenges. Fewer than half of the female midshipmen at the academy - 44 percent - believe that the school provides a positive environment for women, the survey found. However, that is up from 24 percent in 2003.

Maryland section, March 24

Anne Arundel

County to close charter school

Anne Arundel County school officials plan to close a beleaguered charter school tomorrow as they reassign three teachers and reshuffle students.

The action comes amid an investigation by the school system into the management of Chesapeake Science Point Charter School, and three weeks after the school's director, Jon Omural - who lacks state certification to be a principal - was replaced by a retired county school principal.

Chesapeake Science Point will close tomorrow and reopen Tuesday, school officials said yesterday. A letter announcing the change was to be sent home to parents today.

Interim Deputy Superintendent Kenneth Nichols said closing the school for a full day will give three new teachers time for planning with the other teachers, and will give the school an opportunity to redistribute students among the teachers.

Maryland section, March 24

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