City / County Digest


January 03, 2007

Jessamy starts fourth term as city state's attorney

Patricia C. Jessamy was sworn in yesterday morning as Baltimore's top prosecutor, a position the 58-year-old Mississippi native has held since being appointed to the job in 1995. In November, Jessamy, a Democrat, was easily re-elected to her fourth term as Baltimore state's attorney.

Jessamy first took over the state's attorney's office when her predecessor, Stuart O. Simms, left for a state position. She was appointed by the Baltimore Circuit Court to complete his term.

After she was sworn in yesterday, many of the city's 200 assistant state's attorneys raised their hands to renew the oath of office.

Other Baltimore-area prosecutors were also sworn in yesterday.

Joseph I. Cassilly, the state's attorney for Harford County, was sworn in for his seventh term, making him the longest-tenured state's attorney in Maryland. Cassilly, a 56-year-old Republican who was awarded a Purple Heart for his service in the Vietnam war, ran unopposed. He has not been challenged in an election since 1998.

In his remarks, Cassilly appealed to County Executive David R. Craig and members of the Harford County Council to help find a "consolidated home" for his office, which has 70 employees working in five facilities. He also pledged to craft new gang and truancy legislation, and stronger penalties for driving under the influence of drugs. "The challenges are not getting any less -- only worse, and only harder to deal with," he said.

The previous longest-serving state's attorney had been Baltimore County's Sandra A. O'Connor, a Republican who retired last year after her eighth term. Democrat Scott D. Shellenberger, 47, was sworn in as Baltimore County's top prosecutor yesterday.

In Carroll County, Jerry F. Barnes, a 58-year-old Republican who has served as the county's state's attorney since 1994, was sworn in for another term. Re-elected Howard County State's Attorney Timothy J. McCrone, a Democrat, was sworn in for a second term. Frank R. Weathersbee will be sworn in for his fifth term as Anne Arundel County state's attorney today.

Sun reporters Julie Bykowicz, Justin Fenton, Laura McCandlish and Tyrone Richardson contributed to this article.

Baltimore City: Politics

ACORN doing survey on mayoral race

Baltimore's mayoral election is in its infancy, but one advocacy group is already taking the city's political pulse. ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, started an automated phone survey of about 20,000 residents yesterday, said Derrick Jessup, director of the Baltimore chapter. The calls this week ask respondents to record a message indicating their choice. "We're trying to stay ahead of the game," Jessup said. "ACORN is going to play a major part in deciding who's going to be in the race." ACORN will use the results to help decide whom to endorse, Jessup said.

John Fritze

Harford County: Havre de Grace

Police identify man hit by train

Havre de Grace police have identified a man who was struck and killed by a train last week as 43-year-old Barney Thomas McGonigal. A friend had reported him missing early Thursday morning, hours after he was killed by a southbound Amtrak train, according to Maj. John Van Gilder, a Havre de Grace police spokesman. McGonigal's identity was confirmed through fingerprints, Van Gilder said. McGonigal, of the 400 block of Franklin St. in Havre de Grace, was killed about 12:30 a.m. near Havre de Grace Middle School.

Justin Fenton

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