State Digest


August 03, 2006

Republican to appeal ruling on Perez's run for attorney general

A Montgomery County Republican is appealing his failed challenge to the qualifications of Democrat Thomas E. Perez to run for state attorney general.

The move by Stephen N. Abrams, a GOP candidate for comptroller who as a county school board member has clashed with Perez, would take the question to the Maryland Court of Appeals.

Abrams contends that Perez, a Montgomery County councilman, lacks the 10 years of legal experience in Maryland required in the state constitution. Perez was a federal lawyer for more than a decade, but was not a member of the Maryland bar until 2001.

Abrams said yesterday that legal research he did after Monday's ruling by Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge Paul A. Hackner rejecting Abrams' challenge led him to decide to appeal.

Hackner reached the same conclusion that retiring Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. did in June. Perez had sought Curran's opinion.

A friend of Douglas F. Gansler, another of the Democrats running for attorney general, wrote Curran in May that she doubted Perez met the 10-year qualification.

The friend, Carmen M. Shepard, a former deputy attorney general who once represented Gansler in a legal matter, said she was not writing in Gansler's behalf.

"It's a quite a coincidence that the only person who sent a letter to Joe Curran was the person who represented Doug Gansler when he was sanctioned at the Court of Appeals," Perez said yesterday.

Gansler was reprimanded in 2003 for making prejudicial remarks about pending cases.

The third primary candidate is Stuart O. Simms, a former Baltimore state's attorney.

The Democratic winner will face Frederick County State's Attorney Scott L. Rolle, a Republican who has no primary opposition, in the November general election.

Andrea Siegel

Allegany County: Cumberland

Rock dam at old glass factory is to be removed in the fall

A rock dam that was used to store water for an old Pittsburgh Plate Glass factory in Cumberland will be removed from the North Branch of the Potomac River as soon as September, the Department of Natural Resources says.

A similar dam behind the Western Maryland Correctional Institution could be taken out next as the agency removes obstructions to eels swimming upstream to spawn. Boaters also would benefit by the removal of the dam.

The state hopes to have the 4-foot-high PPG dam removed no later than October, said Jim Thompson, a DNR fishery biologist.

The rocks will be used to line the shore on both sides of the river, Thompson said.

The biologist estimated the cost at $100,000, with a quarter of that money coming from American Rivers, a group that provides educational, technical and financial assistance to communities seeking removal of unneeded or outdated dams.

PPG ceased production in Cumberland 1983 but used the plant for research until 1991.

In 1996, Allegany County bought the factory and dam.


Howard County: West Friendship

Suspect in Frederick robbery caught riding in taxicab on I-70

A bank-robbery suspect who left Frederick for Baltimore in a taxicab was arrested after police called the driver's cell phone with a warning about his passenger.

Cabbie Rudolph Jordan bailed out of his car on Interstate 70 near West Friendship after slowing to about 30 mph Tuesday morning, causing the cab to crash into a police cruiser and ending a 25-mile ride for the suspect.

Bryan M. Harris, 37, of Frederick was charged with armed robbery of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank.

Jordan, 61, said he started working days about six weeks ago after he was robbed at gunpoint by a passenger.

"Then something like this happens," he said. "I guess it was just the luck of the draw."



Woman accused in assault of pregnant teenager

A woman is accused of breaking into an Elkton apartment, assaulting a pregnant teenager there and demanding the baby.

Christine Baker, 41, was arrested Friday and charged with assault, authorities said. She is accused of breaking into the apartment of a 17-year-old girl who is six months pregnant.

Police said the attacker found the girl in her bedroom and yelled, "Give me your baby. I'll take care of it."

The teenager was allegedly slapped on the stomach, said Detective Sgt. Bernard Chiominto of the Cecil County Sheriff's Office.

The girl, who was not named, ran from the house and called 911.


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