Candidates were asked:
1. Please state your views on the following issues that have been raised in the Attorney General's race: A - Father Carcich's sentence. B - The prosecution of political corruption in Maryland. C - Overcrowded prisons.
2. In what way, if any, would you alter the role of the attorney general? Edward L. Blanton Jr., 46, of 5025 Long Green Rd., Glen Arm, is an attorney; he was law clerk with Tax Court of the U.S. and assistant attorney general in Maryland.
1. Father Carcich's sentence: The sentence imposed is a function of judicial discretion. If the attorney general had serious reservations about his ability to obtain a conviction based upon the indictment, his plea bargain may be defensible. Not having the facts available to the attorney general, I hesitate to be critical of what appears, on its face, to be a travesty of justice.
Political corruption: Political corruption is insidious and widespread in our state and must be eradicated by vigorous action and vigilance by all elected law enforcement officials, including the attorney general and the appointed state special prosecutor.
Overcrowded Prisons: The overcrowded prisons are an obstacle to winning the war against crime and must be resolved immediately by construction of additional facilities, expansion of neighborhood correctional facilities and use of halfway houses.
2. I favor an expanded role for the attorney general as an advocate for the people before the Public Service Commission. I favor expansion of the consumer protection division, notwithstanding the fact that I favor moving the complaint handling and preliminary investigation activities of the consumer protection division to the office of the Commissioner of Consumer Credit, in order to remove the conflict of interest which exists between the attorney general and the commissioner when he represents the consumer protection division in the courts. This step would permit the attorney general to devote his activities exclusively to investigation and enforcement of decisions of the consumer protection division in the courts.
I favor employment of experienced lawyers in the state Law Department, a move I am convinced will permit material reduction in the budget of the attorney general while providing better legal representation to the state agencies for which the attorney general acts as counsel. Warren K. Rich, 39, of Lee Haven Rd., Easton, is an attorney. He has served as assistant attorney general and counsel to Department of Natural Resources.
1. Father Carcich's Sentence: I do not believe the sentence should have been plea bargained; because of the public nature of the case it should have been exposed to a public trial and the sentence, if any, imposed by a court of law.
Political Corruption: The attorney general's office is not the primary prosecutor of corruption.This area of concern has been delegated to the office of special prosecutor and the local state's attorney. When requested, in accordance with law, the attorney general should investigate and prosecute in an aggressive manner. By working closely and assertively with state bureaucrats, the office of attorney general can stop certain elements of corruption before it starts.
Overcrowded Prisons: The way to relieve this problem is not to prematurely release persons who have committed violent acts or crimes against another person. In the long run, a new system of remedial punishment will be imposed. There appears no direct relationship between rehabilitation and incarceration. Certain criminals can better become law-abiding citizens if not exposed to the prison system.
2. The office of attorney general should be an integral part of the decision-making process. It should serve to simplify laws and cut through bureaucratic red tape. Every regulation issued by each agency will be scrutinized and discarded unless the law mandates the regulation. All surviving regulations will be written and publicized in a manner that everybody can understand.
The attorney general will recommend that all programs duplicative of existing federal programs be discarded. We should no longer blindly accept federal requirements merely because they are accompanied by promises of money.
Existing state programs can be delegated and become operational at a county or city level. In this way the cost of government can be reduced and at the same time become more efficient. I look at the attorney general's office as an activist office, operating within the framework of the Maryland Constitution and yet with accessibility to the public.