Letter to the Editor: Calvert States Attorney Race – Facts May Help

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Letters to the Editor

Facts May Help

To the Editor:

Kathryn AtLee Marsh, as Deputy State’s Attorney for Calvert County, holds the top non-elected office position. In the SA’s absence, she acts as State’s Attorney, with responsibility for the entire office including fiscal and personnel issues. Mr. Rappaport is Chief of the District Court Division, one of 3 divisions. Both are seeking Republican Nomination to succeed Laura Martin who is retiring.

Mr. Rappaport would like you to think he has more experience than Ms. Marsh and is qualified. I beg to differ. While serving as Deputy SA for the County, 2007- 2015, I professionally evaluated both candidates. I understand their qualifications and that is why I chose to serve as Mrs. Marsh’s treasurer.

Mr. Rappaport claims he’s a “go to prosecutor for serious felonies” and has a “90% plus conviction rate prosecuting Calvert County’s most serious criminals.” He boasts he’s “personally prosecuted 18 vehicular homicides” with a “100% conviction rate.” His campaign literature implies he and his “team of prosecutors” handle “90% of all cases” in the County.

Fact: His assertions are, at best, gross misrepresentations. The great majority of “serious criminals” are prosecuted in Circuit Court by Ms. Marsh and the 8 Circuit Court attorneys she directly supervises, not in District Court where Mr. Rappaport and 2 full-time Assistant SA’s handle a caseload of mostly misdemeanor offenses. Mr. Rappaport personally averages 5 to 6 of the thirty District Courts Dockets each month. Although Mr. Rappaport is directly involved with the vehicular manslaughter cases, they’re a small fraction of the “serious felonies.” Maryland Case Search (MCS) shows there were only 13 vehicular manslaughter cases charged from 2006-2018. Approximately 83% of all Circuit Court cases handled by Mr. Rappaport were actually misdemeanor cases begun in District Court that only went to Circuit Court because defendants asked for a jury trial.

Fact: MCS data shows Mr. Rappaport has had fewer than 10 jury trials in over 11 years as a prosecutor in Calvert County.

Fact: Serious felonies are assigned by the SA to the prosecutor with the trial skills to handle that case. Kathryn Marsh has been assigned the most difficult caseload of sexual assaults, child abuse and homicides. Ms. Marsh has never hesitated to take difficult cases to trial; by contrast, Mr. Rappaport has often found reasons he “can’t make this case” and, instead, negotiated “slap on the wrist” plea bargains.

It’s been reported that Mr. Rappaport raised more money for his campaign than Ms. Marsh. There are disturbing reasons for this. For example, I received a call from a local defense attorney who said he’d received a letter from Mr. Rappaport asking for a financial contribution. He found it offensive someone wanting to be chief prosecutor, with power over plea bargains, would ask for money from lawyers he would be opposing. Maryland Election Board data shows Mr. Rappaport raised over $7,300 from criminal defense attorneys including $450 from Democratic State Senator Mike Miller and $250 from Democratic State Delegate Joe Vallario. The database shows he received over $16,000 in out-of-state contributions. Sure it’s “legal” to accept the money but ….

This election is about who will be the best State’s Attorney. No one knows the candidates’ qualifications better than Republican incumbent, Laura Martin; she hand-picked Kathryn Marsh as Deputy. When asked by the Calvert Recorder, State’s Attorney Martin replied, “Deputy State’s Attorney Kathryn Marsh would be the natural successor to the position of State’s Attorney. Over the years, she has worked in nearly every division of the office, understands the budgetary process and is an excellent trial attorney. She would serve the citizens of Calvert County well.”

Fran Longwell
Deputy State’s Attorney for Calvert County (retired)

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