September 24, 2011

Frank M. Kratovil Jr. is accustomed to being the man in charge.

Elected state’s attorney in Queen Anne’s County at 34, he became one of the youngest people to serve as a top county prosecutor in Maryland. After six years in that post, Kratovil (D) won a hard-fought election to Congress.

Then, last fall, he lost his bid for reelection.

In the aftermath of that loss, Kratovil got a call from new Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks. She asked him to work for her — not as her deputy, but as her third in command.

It took months, but Kratovil finally came around. He was recently sworn in as Alsobrooks’s assistant deputy.

“When you lose a political race, you have a professional soul-searching,” Kratovil, 43, said in an interview. “You strive to strike a balance in your life, while doing what you like to do. I’ve always loved the prosecution side of things, dealing with law enforcement, going home at the end of the day feeling you’ve done something good.”

Kratovil will have his hands full in Prince George’s.

He is in charge of Circuit Court prosecutions, which include most felony charges, such as murder, sexual assault and armed robbery. Kratovil said he will supervise the prosecutors who handle the case against Alexis Simpson, 19, who is accused of fatally stabbing her Bowie State roommate Dominique Frazier, 18, on Sept. 15. Prosecutors reporting to him are also handling the case of two county police officers indicted last week in the beating of an unarmed University of Maryland student last year.

Kratovil also will head up two new sections, one targeting repeat violent offenders and one focusing on criminals accused of violating the terms of their parole.

Alsobrooks and Kratovil said focusing on repeat violent offenders could put a dent in Prince George’s crime rate because a relatively small number of people are responsible for the majority of violent crimes in the county.

And having a team of prosecutors tracking parole violators is part of her plan to try to reduce recidivism in the county, Alsobrooks said.

Alsobrooks said the reaction in her office and around the courthouse to the hiring of Kratovil has been positive.

Circuit Court Judge C. Philip Nichols Jr. is among those happy to see Kratovil join the county state’s attorney’s office. “He’s bright, articulate and competent,” Nichols said. “Every time somebody that squeaky clean comes here, it’s a major advance for us in Prince George’s County.”

Working in the Prince George’s state’s attorney’s office is a homecoming of sorts for Kratovil, whose father is a retired county Circuit Court judge. Raised in Lanham, Kratovil was a prosecutor in Prince George’s for a couple of years before he moved to the Eastern Shore in 1997 to work as an assistant state’s attorney in Queen Anne’s County.

He was elected Queen Anne’s state’s attorney in 2002. Kratovil served one full term and part of another before defeating Andy Harris (R) in a tight congressional race to represent Maryland’s 1st District in 2008. Harris handily won the rematch last fall. The district includes the Eastern Shore and several Baltimore suburbs.

Kratovil said that he is considering running again for his former congressional seat or perhaps launching a bid to become Maryland attorney general.

If he decides to mount a campaign, Kratovil said he plans to work for the Prince George’s state’s attorney’s office through the election. He said he continued to work full time as Queen Anne’s state’s attorney during his first campaign for Congress.

Kratovil is earning $125,00 annually in his new post. He and his wife, Kim, who live on Kent Island, have five children, ages 1 to 13.

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