The Maryland Court of Special Appeals yesterday turned down Robert J. DiGrazia's appeal of his firing from the job of Montgomery County police chief, saying his dismissal was soley the political prerogative of the county executive.
DiGrazia has maintained that he was illegally fired last December without a hearing mandated for law enforcement officers who are under investigation.
Yesterday, the appeals court said diGrazia's "position is nothing more than a murky conclusion based on a hazy inference drawn from a fuzzy suspicion."
The appeals court upheld a county judg's ruling last February that di-Grazia was never under investigation by Charles Gilchrist, the county executive who dismissed him.
Gilchrist fired diGrazia within days of taking office, contending that the chief's strained relationship with the county's 750 officers rendered him ineffective in leading the department.
The court ruled that diGrazia was a political appointee whose employment is not protected by the Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights.
"Where an individual obtained a position via political appointment, he does so at the risk that his continued employment may be jeopardized by a change of administrations," the court stated. "Put another way, he who lives by the sword shall die by the sword."
DiGrazia's lawyer, Peter Davis, said he is considering asking the court to reconsider its opinion or may attempt to take the matter to the state's highest court, the Court of Appeals.