Arlington Prosecutor Joins Race In Fairfax

By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 14, 2007

An assistant prosecutor from Arlington County will challenge the longtime chief deputy prosecutor from Fairfax County in the race to succeed Fairfax Commonwealth's Attorney Robert F. Horan Jr. (D), who announced this week that he would not seek an 11th term, election officials said yesterday.

Raymond F. Morrogh, 49, who has been Horan's chief deputy since 1988 and a prosecutor since 1983, filed for the Democratic nomination. Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Patrick A. McDade, 35, will seek the Republican nomination. Horan said this week that he would resign in either late summer or early fall, meaning Morrogh will be the acting commonwealth's attorney when the general election is held Nov. 6.

Horan said that he has had more than 125 assistant prosecutors during his 40-year tenure and that he would aggressively discourage any of them from challenging Morrogh. He also said he would make campaign appearances on Morrogh's behalf. McDade did not return a call yesterday seeking comment; Republican officials in Fairfax also did not return calls.

McDade is a 2004 graduate of the George Mason University School of Law and spent a year clerking for Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Leslie M. Alden, according to the law school's Web site and court sources. He has worked in the Arlington prosecutor's office slightly less than two years.

"He has been a good assistant commonwealth's attorney," said Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney Richard E. Trodden, adding that McDade started his prosecuting career in traffic court and moved up to "garden-variety felonies."

McDade may continue to work as a prosecutor in Arlington while running in Fairfax, Trodden said, "as long as he doesn't campaign while he's working." Trodden, a Democrat, said he would not endorse his assistant over Morrogh.

In the other three large Northern Virginia counties with elections this year, there are no challengers as yet to the chief prosecutors: Trodden; Paul B. Ebert (D) in Prince William; and James E. Plowman (R) in Loudoun. The filing deadlines in Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington was yesterday for both parties. Democrats in Loudoun have until April 26.

Gilbert K. Davis, the colorful Fairfax trial attorney who challenged Horan for the job in 1975 and ran for lieutenant governor and attorney general, said he had been approached about making a run for the job again but had decided against it. He said he would support McDade, adding that he had faced McDade in court in a drunken-driving case and that "he is a competent lawyer in the courtroom."

Morrogh's experience is slightly more high-profile. He and Horan prosecuted sniper Lee Boyd Malvo in 2003, and he alone handled Fairfax's most recent death penalty trial, of Sterling Fisher in 2001. Morrogh also assisted Horan in the trials of CIA killer Mir Aimal Kasi in 1997 and child abductor Caleb Hughes in 1991. All four resulted in convictions.

Morrogh has also prosecuted numerous other murder and sex-crime cases in Fairfax and handles the daily supervision of the 22 assistant prosecutors in the Fairfax courthouse. Raised on Long Island in New York, he is a graduate of West Springfield High School and George Mason University, where he received bachelor's and law degrees.

"It's a privilege to be a prosecutor," Morrogh said yesterday. "I enjoy coming to work every day. I like to go after the bad guys and help the victims." He said he would take any challenger seriously. "This job means everything to me," Morrogh said.

The job pays about $130,000 annually.

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