Sources say McCrone backs Weathersbee

Juvenile division chief would finish his term

December 14, 2007|By Larry Carson and Tyeesha Dixon | Larry Carson and Tyeesha Dixon,SUN REPORTERS

Howard County State's Attorney Timothy J. McCrone is backing 12-year office veteran Lara C. Weathersbee to serve the remaining three years of his term, according to county government sources.

Deputy State's Attorney Dario Broccolino is likely to be named interim state's attorney today, after McCrone resigns and is immediately sworn in as a Circuit Court judge, the sources said. The ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m. today.

Gov. Martin O'Malley announced McCrone's appointment to the Circuit Court on Dec. 3.

McCrone told a group of people in his office that he plans to back Weathersbee, a senior assistant state's attorney who heads the juvenile division, as his permanent replacement, and that he would like everyone else to support her, too, the sources said.

Weathersbee said late yesterday: "It's my understanding that the judges established a process. I have great respect for that." She declined to comment further.

Efforts to reach McCrone yesterday were unsuccessful.

Three county Circuit judges were to choose the interim state's attorney. After McCrone becomes a judge, he will join them to choose a permanent replacement. As a well-respected, twice-elected law-enforcement official, McCrone's recommendation would likely be valued by the other judges.

Judge Lenore R. Gelfman, who is leading the selection process, said the judges are advertising within the county's legal community for anyone who wants to serve the remaining three years of McCrone's term. She said this week that no one has lobbied her.

The court has informed the Howard County Bar Association that the position was advertised in an e-mail sent to members this week announcing the vacancy.

Weathersbee, a registered Democrat like McCrone, is the daughter of Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, and the wife of Sang Oh, a local land-use lawyer who was a top aide to former Howard County Executive James N. Robey. Frank Weathersbee has been Anne Arundel County state's attorney since 1988.

Lara Weathersbee joined the Howard state's attorney's office in 1995. Before she was appointed head of the juvenile division in 2003, she prosecuted felony cases in the Circuit Court division.

She graduated from Towson University in 1991 and the University of Maryland School of Law in 1994.

Howard County Executive Ken Ulman would not comment directly on Weathersbee, but said he values McCrone's judgment.

"Tim McCrone has been an excellent state's attorney and has built a great team. Continuity in that office is important. I would hope that Tim's support for a successor within that office be given a great deal of deference. I have every confidence the judges will make a wise decision," Ulman said.

Former county State's Attorney Marna L. McLendon, a Republican now working for the Arizona attorney general, said, "It's highly unusual to have anyone other than a deputy or senior-level prosecutor appointed as state's attorney, because of the need for continuity in the office at the policy level or high decision-making level." McLendon named Broccolino one of her two deputies in 1999.

Before coming to the Howard County states attorney's office, Broccolino, 63, worked for a decade as the Maryland state's attorneys coordinator, organizing seminars and education programs for prosecutors in the state. Before that, he worked for 11 years as an assistant state's attorney in Baltimore.

Broccolino graduated from Loyola College in 1967 and the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1970.

larry.carson@baltsun.com tyeesha.dixon@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Melissa Harris contributed to this article.

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