Candidates were asked:
1. Federal prosecutors recently criticized local state's attorneys for failing to aggressively prosecute political corruption. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
2. Given limited resources of the office you seek, what types of crime do you think most need vigorous prosecution? Vote for 1 William R. Hymes, 51, of 3109 Hearthstone Rd., Ellicott City, is a private attorney. He was an assistant state's attorney for Howard County and has been a member of the District Advisory Board for the Public Defender System.
1. I would agree with the criticism of those offices which are large enough to conduct a proper investigation. However, I believe the smaller counties would be better served to work with our newly appointed state prosecutor of federal prosecutors who are better equipped to prosecute political corruption cases.
2. I firmly believe that all types of crimes that come within the purview of the office should be vigorously prosecuted without de-emphasizing any particular classes of crimes. Charles E. Wehland, 48, of 6451 Lawyers Hill Rd., Elkridge, is currently state's attorney for Howard County. He is a former Peoples' Court judge and a former deputy state's attorney.
1. I agree that there is a lack of local prosecution of political corruption eases; however, I suggest that a state's attorney in Maryland is not armed with investigative tools to uncover political corruption and prosecute it. The investigative agencies at his command are the local police departments and, to a limited extent, the Maryland state police. In most jurisdictions, the local state's attorney has little or no control over what matters are investigated or the procedures used in investigating crimes within their jurisdiction. On the other hand, the Department of Justice has at its command the investigative resources of the IRS and the FBI. It also has a use immunity statute which permits federal prosecutors to compel a witness to testify before a grand jury by granting that witness limited or "use" immunity. In every instance in which I have been presented with factual information establishing a sufficient basis for prosecution, a prosecution has been brought whether it dealt with political corruption, violation of election laws or criminal activity involving members of the bar or other persons prominent in the county.
2. Obviously, emphasis has to be given to prosecuting those crimes which most severely damage the lives and security of the people of Howard County. These include certainly the more serious crimes against persons as well as crimes against property. However, I hasten to add that equal enforcement of the law requires enforcement of the laws which affect the influential including fraud, bribery and the so-called "white collar" crimes.