(July 1, 2000 – June 30, 2001)








Office of the State Prosecutor

Investment Building, Suite 308

One Investment Place

Towson, Maryland 21204


Telephone: 410.321.4067


Fax: 410.321.3851

October, 2001



Summary                                                                                                                      3

JUDICIAL DISPOSITIONS                                                                                       5

1.     State v. Leonard E. Copsey, Sr. (St. Mary’s County)                                        5

2.     State v. David A. Buckler (St. Mary’s County)                                                 5

3.     State v. William V. Colicchio (St. Mary’s County)                                             6

4.     State v. William A. Welch (Baltimore)                                                               6

5.     Election Law Violations                                                                                    7


1.     Sheriff Accused of Misconduct                                                                         7

2.     Vendor’s Allegation of Bribery Demand                                                            8

3.     Investigation of Judicial Election                                                                        8

4.     Police Misconduct                                                                                            9

5.     Sheriff’s Receipt of Cash Gifts                                                                          9

6.     Public Official’s Drug Test Failure                                                                     10

7.     County Commissioners’ Land Acquisition Decision                                           10

8.     Town Mayor and Council’s Failure To Observe Charter                                   11

9.     Town Mayor’s Failure To Follow Charter In Awarding Contracts                     11

10.   State’s Attorney’s Campaign Reports                                                               12

ADMINISTRATION                                                                                                  12

Current Roster                                                                                                              13

Legal Interns                                                                                                                 13

BUDGET                                                                                                                     13

Staff Positions                                                                                                               13

MANAGING FOR RESULTS PROGRAM                                                                13

Corruption Complaints                                                                                                  15

Election Law Complaints                                                                                              15

Other Complaints                                                                                                         16

Timeliness                                                                                                                     16

Complainants’ Survey Results                                                                                       17

QUESTIONNAIRE SUMMARY:                                                                               17






            Fiscal Year 2001 started with two major investigations carried over from FY2000.  Both of them involved allegations of bribery with sufficient source material to make the allegations credible.  A great deal of effort was expended on each with little success.

            One of the investigations resulted in placing charges for election law violations and reopening a theft case which had been dismissed under suspicious circumstances.  The other was terminated after a series of investigative attempts were made to corroborate the source.  As the investigation progressed the source became less cooperative due to family reasons.  Finally, another agency’s investigation of other individuals involved in the scheme convinced us that success was improbable.

            Another investigation, referred to us by a State’s Attorney, was terminated after six months when the subject, the County Sheriff, resigned.  Normally, a resignation does not conclude an investigation if there is anything to be gained by continuing.  This was an appropriate case for termination of the investigation based on the subject’s resignation from office.

            In May of this year a well publicized dispute in Frederick City was referred to us by the State’s Attorney who had a conflict.  It involved a police raid and the seizing of records belonging to the proprietress of a prostitution business.  The dispute arose at the conclusion of the prostitution case when the records were returned to their owner before reporters could view her list of patrons.  It was alleged that City officials had improperly returned the records so as to avoid embarrassment of prominent citizens and possibly officials who could be extorted.

            A civil suit against the City resulted when it was disclosed that the defendant’s attorney was in the process of shredding the records.  The purpose of our investigation, which is continuing, is to determine whether or not City officials committed misconduct by intervening in the return of the records seized by the police.  Records used as evidence in a criminal prosecution are usually retained for thirty days following sentencing in the event that an appeal is filed.

            Other investigations are discussed in this report without disclosing the identities of the subjects.  They are listed so as to give the reader some idea of the types of cases processed in FY01.

            Referrals from the State Board of Elections increased dramatically in this fiscal year.  Unfortunately, there were changes in personnel which influenced the timely processing of 161 new cases.  As of the date of this report the backlog has been disposed.

            The year can be summarized as a one with a lot of work, but no high profile prosecutions.  Notably, four State’s Attorneys referred cases to us that justified an independent prosecutor’s investigation.




                                                                                                            Stephen Montanarelli

                                                                                                            State Prosecutor











(July 1, 2000 – June 30, 2001)





1.      State v. Leonard E. Copsey, Sr. (St. Mary’s County)


This case and the following Buckler case resulted from allegations that a $500.00 cash contribution was made in the summer of 1998 to a candidate campaigning for State’s Attorney for St. Mary’s County in return for a favorable disposition of the Buckler case. Pursuant to a plea agreement the Defendant pleaded guilty to making a cash contribution in excess of $100.00 and the State dismissed the more serious charge of making a contribution in a false name. In his statement of facts Assistant State Prosecutor Thomas Krehely told the court that the Defendant acknowledged making the contribution after discussing his son-in-law’s (Buckler) case with the State’s Attorney, but the State could not prove that the contribution prompted the dismissal of the original charges against Buckler.

The Defendant’s attorney told the court that his client made the contribution because the candidate’s father, a retired circuit court judge, had urged him to do so and that he did not understand the technicalities of the election laws.  The retired judge was deceased at the time of the investigation.

District Court Judge John Slade fined Copsey $500.00 plus costs and gave him probation before judgment with a term of six months probation.


2.      State v. David A. Buckler (St. Mary’s County)


Three counts of receiving stolen goods against Buckler were dismissed in September 1998 after a District Court Judge refused the State’s offer to place them on the stet docket.  These counts were reinstated by the State Prosecutor’s Office as a result of its investigation of the alleged illegal contribution made by Copsey.  On March 21, 2001 Judge John Slade accepted an Alford plea to a misdemeanor theft from Buckler, which is not an admission of guilt, but an acknowledgment that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to support the charge.  Judge Slade stated that ordinarily he would make a defendant serve at least two days in jail for such an offense, but in accordance with the plea agreement, he suspended a sixty-day sentence, placed Buckler on one year of unsupervised probation and granted him probation before judgment.


3.      State v. William V. Colicchio (St. Mary’s County)


On June 15, 2001 Colicchio was convicted of securing a voter registration by unlawful means.  The case was unusual in that the Defendant prepared a voter registration form and forged a woman’s name.  When the forgery was discovered by the local election board, the woman involved suspected the Defendant who admitted the offense when confronted by investigators.  He received a suspended sentence of thirty days and six months unsupervised probation plus a $500.00 fine and payment of costs.


4.      State v. William A. Welch (Baltimore)


Mr. Welch, age 47, a Baltimore City Liquor Board Commissioner, was charged on August 4, 2000, with making illegal cash payments to poll workers to help his mother’s campaign on the day of the City’s primary election in September 1999.  The charge was filed after Welch pleaded guilty to other charges filed by the City’s State’s Attorney resulting from an incident at Fourth District Councilwoman Agnes B. Welch’s campaign headquarters on election night.  Welch was accused of discharging a firearm when a campaign worker said that he refused to pay her forty dollars for working the polls.  

On September 13, 2000, Welch pleaded guilty to paying for “walk-around services” in violation of the Election Code.  He was fined $1,000.00 and was placed on probation for one year upon suspension of his one-year sentence.




5.      Election Law Violations

Towards the end of FY01 twenty persons were charged with violations of the State Election Law.  Eighteen chairpersons and treasurers were charged with failure to file campaign reports; one defendant was charged with unlawful voter registration and another with false voting.  All of the defendants were pending trial as of July 1, 2001.



During FY01 forty-three (43) corruption allegations/complaints and one hundred forty-seven (147) election law referrals were closed.  Closure indicates that the inquiry or investigation was terminated by a charging document or for one of the reasons listed on the Exhibit attached to this report.

A sampling of some of the closed cases follows.  They are summarized so as to give some indication of the types of inquiries and investigations performed by the Office without revealing the identities of the subjects.

1.      Sheriff Accused of Misconduct

A complainant referred to the State Prosecutor by a State’s Attorney alleged that the County Sheriff and a Deputy Sheriff had followed her for two hours one evening and that another deputy finally stopped her at 2:20 A.M., administered a breathalyzer test and gave her a warning ticket for crossing a shoulder line.  She alleged that the Sheriff was trying to intimidate her for filing a false imprisonment charge against one of his deputies.  The deputy, her former boyfriend, had previously followed her in his squad car, stopped her three times, handcuffed her and issued her a trumped-up traffic ticket after they had an argument.  The false imprisonment charge was pending against the deputy at the time of the incident with the Sheriff.

The Sheriff denied that he was in the car that followed the complainant for two hours.  On April 16, 2001 six months after initiation of the State Prosecutor’s investigation, the Sheriff tendered his resignation to the Governor.  In a public statement he stated that his resignation was prompted by his need for surgery and that it had nothing to do with the investigation.  In light of the Sheriff’s resignation, the State Prosecutor decided to terminate the investigation.  The deputy sheriff accused of false imprisonment resigned during the investigation and criminal charges against him were dismissed by the State’s Attorney.

2.      Vendor’s Allegation of Bribery Demand

A vendor reported that a state official had suggested that a lucrative state contract could be obtained in return for a substantial cash payment.  A number of investigative measures and techniques were used to corroborate the vendor’s allegation.  These proved unsuccessful and the investigation was abandoned when it became evident that the vendor was uncooperative.  In addition, another agency’s investigation made it unlikely that the official would resume contact with the vendor.

3.      Investigation of Judicial Election

            Complaints were received that poll workers had received illegal payments during a judicial election on behalf of one of the candidates.  It was also alleged that a “flyer” was distributed on the day of the election promoting two candidates, one of whom had not authorized that his name be used in conjunction with another candidate.

Investigators contacted more than one hundred poll workers and other persons involved in the election.  It was determined that an attorney working for one of the candidates paid an unemployed person to work on Election Day.  The attorney had paid the same person for “odd jobs” prior to the election.  Another attorney directed two of his employees to work the polls on Election Day.  Except for the above possible violations, other evidence of “walk-around” services was based on hearsay.

The “flyer” was produced by a campaign committee that had nothing to do with either candidate’s campaign.  It contained an authority line and simply stated a preference for the two candidates named.  In the context of free speech there was nothing illegal about its contents.


4.      Police Misconduct

The State Prosecutor was asked by a city police department to review a case of alleged police misconduct which a State’s Attorney refused to prosecute.  The State’s Attorney’s decision provoked a great deal of resentment on the part of City officials who were attempting to uncover corruption in the department.  Following a detailed examination of the evidence with the Internal Affairs Unit of the Police Department, the State Prosecutor agreed with the State’s Attorney and declined to prosecute for the following reasons:

a.       Key evidence consisting of photographs of the officer retrieving planted evidence was missing;

b.      The credibility of one of the prime investigating officers was questionable;

c.       Typical surveillance equipment such as a video camera was not used in a staged trap of an officer suspected of planting evidence;

d.      The “trap” was poorly executed and a lack of follow-up in order to determine what happened to the planted drugs caused a lapse of ten days before the officer was charged.  Therefore, the opportunity to question the officers involved as they left their duty posts was lost.

Although this case was deemed to be very important in the department’s efforts to uncover police corruption, the evidentiary problems in a highly controversial case against a police officer made it unacceptable for criminal prosecution.


5.    Sheriff’s Receipt of Cash Gifts

An investigation was initiated to determine whether alleged cash gifts to a Sheriff influenced him in the performance of his duties.  Allegedly some of the gifts were in the form of campaign donations either unreported or reported in lesser amounts than actual value.

An analysis of the Sheriff’s bank records and campaign reports failed to corroborate the source’s allegations.  However, the Sheriff did admit to certain cash gifts which were not reported on his annual state financial disclosure statements.  The statements were amended by the Sheriff and the case was closed.

6.    Public Official’s Drug Test Failure

A complaint was received alleging that a public official had failed his pre-employment drug test, but was allowed to assume his duties.  Allegedly, this was due to political influence by the appointing authority.

The appointing authority agreed to cooperate in the inquiry providing that strict confidentiality be maintained as to personnel matters.  An independent labor and employment law attorney was hired by the appointing authority to address the allegation of impropriety and to render advice regarding compliance with Section 17-214 of the Health-General Article of the Maryland Code regarding pre-employment drug tests.

It was determined that the employee had not been given proper notice as required by the Health Care Article, but that the failure was unintentional.  The independent attorney provided a resolution to the problem which was acceptable to the parties involved.  There was no evidence that the employee was treated differently than other employees who tested positive on their pre-employment drug tests.  As a result of the inquiry, an audit was conducted and new procedures installed to ensure strict compliance with the Health-General Article regarding testing of employees for a drug-free workplace.


7.    County Commissioners’ Land Acquisition Decision

A complaint was received alleging that County Commissioners had authorized the payment of $850,000 for land appraised at $133,405.  The land, a working farm, was purchased in order to build a county road to be jointly financed by the State and County.  It was alleged that one commissioner negotiated directly with the landowners and voted for the purchase.

County records of the purchase, including executive session minutes of the Board of County Commissioners were reviewed.  The Director of Public Works was also interviewed.

It is noted that extensive negotiations took place from October 1999, when the appraisals were received, until August 2000, when the Commissioners, voting 2-0 with one abstention, exercised the option to purchase the land.  There was a great deal of input from county officials involved in land acquisition and public works.  One factor, made public by the Commissioner accused of impropriety, was the possible loss of $3.5 million of state funding if the County entered into a protracted condemnation of the property.

There was no evidence that the Commissioner involved benefited personally from the transaction, or that he was corruptly influenced.

8.    Town Mayor and Council’s Failure To Observe Charter

A State’s Attorney referred a complaint to the State Prosecutor involving violations of a town charter by local officials.  The allegations consisted of failures to follow charter provisions for increasing salaries, purchasing equipment, renting town property, adopting yearly budgets and conflicts of interest.

An audit of the town’s financial records and interviews did not indicate that any funds were missing.  However, charter provisions were virtually ignored and the town’s affairs appeared to have been conducted for years in an informal manner.

Although a finding of deliberate failure to observe mandated charter provisions could constitute misconduct in office, criminal charges were not recommended in the State Prosecutor’s report to the State’s Attorney.  Changes in the town’s administration during the investigation have resulted in the enforcement of charter provisions.

9.    Town Mayor’s Failure To Follow Charter In Awarding Contracts

An inquiry was conducted, at the request of a group of citizens, in the manner in which their mayor was awarding contracts.  The town’s charter specified that contracts in excess of $5,000 had to be in writing, advertised for bids, awarded by sealed bid and approved by the Town Council.  However, no procedures had been adopted by the Town Council for awarding contracts or for emergency procurements.

The inquiry established and the Mayor acknowledged that he had not followed the charter provisions and had divided projects into separate contracts in order to avoid the mandated provisions for contracts in excess of $5,000.  He explained the necessity of expediting certain projects in the absence of a public works director and the potential loss of state contributions.  Since there were no specific prohibitions or procedures in place, he acted unilaterally.

A letter was addressed to the Mayor, which he agreed to make public at a Town Council meeting, outlining our findings.  In addition, a purchasing ordinance was adopted in conformance with charter provisions.  We found no corrupt motive in the Mayor’s actions.

10.  State’s Attorney’s Campaign Reports

A complaint was received alleging that a State’s Attorney’s campaign reports were inaccurate and that they failed to disclose certain expenditures.  The State’s Attorney explained that his previous treasurer had made erroneous entries and that he had appointed a new treasurer, a certified public accountant, who was in the process of reconciling the accounting records and preparing amended reports.

The State Prosecutor’s auditor reviewed the reconciliation and compared it to copies of bank statements and checks, front and back.  The reconciliation was found to be accurate; all discrepancies were explained and campaign reports were amended.


Two significant changes occurred in the Office staff with the addition of Carolyn June Hess and Brandi Brooks Wright who filled vacancies created by the departures of Assistant State Prosecutors Tom Krehely and Isabel Cumming.

Brandi Wright, a 2001 graduate of Villa Julie College with a Bachelor of Science degree is performing the duties of a paralegal.  Carolyn Hess was appointed Senior Assistant State Prosecutor on August 8, 2001.  She is a 1997 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law and was an Assistant State’s Attorney in the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office for three years.  She was selected among 45 applicants for the position.


Current Roster





Stephen Montanarelli

State Prosecutor


Thomas M. (Mike) McDonough

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor


Carolyn J. Hess

Senior Assistant State Prosecutor


James I. Cabezas

Chief Investigator


John C. Poliks

Special Agent


John R. Draa

Investigative Auditor


Brandi M. Wright



Cynthia A. (Cindi) Lewis

Personnel Officer


Deborah A (Debbie) Amig

Administrative Aide




Legal Interns





Jacob Schwartz

University of Baltimore

August 2000 – Present

Kevin Overton

University of Baltimore

September 2000 – Present









General Funds






Staff Positions






Contractual (FTE)










FTE = full-time equivalent




            This state mandated program, designed to measure agency performance, was in its third year of implementation in FY01.  We are not satisfied that the measuring units that we have devised represent a true picture of the work of the Office.  This is due to the difficulty in trying to measure the degree of citizen satisfaction with an agency whose work is mostly confidential.

            As the following Exhibit indicates none of the corruption complaints investigated in FY01 resulted in prosecution. This is the case in approximately seven out of ten such investigations conducted by the Office each year.  Due to the nature of corruption investigations, which involve misconduct in office or bribery, the necessity to prove corrupt behavior in the performance of official duties, or improper influence in the performance of such duties usually requires direct evidence of such conduct.  Circumstantial evidence in such cases rarely satisfies the state’s burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  Examples of direct evidence would be a witness who can testify to criminal conduct or a financial document showing that the official benefited illegally from his position.

            The Exhibit also shows a number of investigations closed with “No Crime” as the reason.  Many complainants come to the State Prosecutor in good faith hoping to have an independent prosecutor review their grievances against public officials.  Their complaints are investigated if there is some basis to believe that the officials have performed illegal acts.  If after the completion of the investigation the evidence indicates that the official either used poor judgment, was negligent or, in some cases, incompetent, the cases are closed with the notation of “No Crime”.  In some cases there is evidence of misconduct such as nonperformance of a required duty but the state cannot prove a corrupt motive, or the misconduct can be rectified by means other than a criminal prosecution.

            The Office regards such actions as satisfactory conclusions for the purpose of reporting results in the Managing for Results Program.  We believe that most prosecutors engaged in criminal investigations would agree.  Most citizens who have never been exposed to a corruption investigation would probably not agree.  That is a dilemma posed by a program designed to measure public satisfaction with an agency mandated by law to conduct confidential investigations and not to reveal details of its work unless it results in criminal charges or the subject(s) of the investigation requests that it be made public.

            We are working with budget analysts in trying to find a reasonable solution to the problem.

Corruption Complaints


            During FY01 a total of 43 corruption complaints or inquiries were processed.  These included four cases carried over from FY00.  In an attempt to make the statistics more meaningful we deleted 17 complaints which we deemed to be insignificant.  They represent complaints which were closed in less than fifteen days for various reasons and which did not require significant time and effort to resolve.

            The Exhibit shows the remaining 26 corruption inquiries, a description of the subject(s), the number of days between opening and closing and the reasons for closing.  All of the 21 cases closed were considered to have a satisfactory conclusion.

Election Law Complaints


            Alleged violations of the State Election Law are treated differently than corruption complaints.  Most of them are referred to us by the State Board of Elections who have imposed fines on campaign committee officials for not filing reports, or for filing late reports.  Unlike corruption cases there is sufficient reason to believe that a violation has occurred and that a charge will result if the reports are not filed and the fines paid.  The investigation usually involves determining why the campaign committee is in arrears and using the threat of prosecution if the violation is not cured in a reasonable time.  Charges are filed only after it is clear that the committee will not comply with the law unless forced to do so by a criminal process.

            The Exhibit shows an influx of 161 referrals including 14 carried over from FY00.  A total of 147 were closed primarily by the committees filing the delinquent reports and paying the fines.  Thirteen cases ended in charges which usually involves charging both the chairperson and treasurer since they are jointly and severally liable under the statute.

Other Complaints


            Ten complaints were classified as “other” since they did not involve corruption or election law allegations.  Six were deleted as insignificant.  Two were still open at the conclusion of FY01, one was closed for cessation of alleged unethical activity when the allegation was brought to the attention of a State’s Attorney and one ended in charges.  The latter was the Buckler case which was prosecuted as a mutli-jurisdictional complaint.



            One of the measuring factors used for the Office under the Managing For Results Program is the timeliness in completing investigations.  In corruption cases a target date of one year was established and six months was set for all election law cases.  These benchmarks were established based on experience and the availability of resources.

            Most of the corruption complaints were completed within the one-year target period.  Election law complaints dropped to 80% completed within six months.  This was primarily due to the large influx of cases and turnover of personnel.


Complainants’ Survey Results


            In order to determine the extent to which complainants were satisfied with services rendered by the Office, questionnaires were sent to those who furnished addresses with their complaints.  The initial survey was begun in FY99 in an effort to comply with the Managing For Results Program.  The FY2001 Survey was adopted from the simplified FY2000 Survey, in order to make it as convenient as possible for the complainants to reply.  The State Board of Elections, which accounts for most election law complaints, is sent only one questionnaire.  This primarily accounts for the difference between complaints received and questionnaires sent.

            In FY2000, 23 responses from 54 of the questionnaires mailed indicated that 74% of them were either very satisfied or satisfied with their overall experience with the Office.  In FY2001, 23 of 48 complainants who received questionnaires responded.  Their responses indicated that 87% of them were satisfied.

            The low number of responses raises doubts as to the validity of the surveys.  However, it is believed that they are useful in assessing the opinions of a number of persons furnishing information to the Office.  Twenty-two of the twenty-three persons responding stated that they would contact the Office again if they had another complaint.


            A summary of the responses to each question asked in the FY2001 Questionnaire follows:






Not Satisfied

Not Applicable


Was your complaint/inquiry answered in a timely manner?





Did you feel that the staff member with whom you spoke listened to your complaint/inquiry and offered a knowledgeable response?





Did we clearly explain the reasons for what we did or did not do?





If our Office could not assist you, did we refer you to an appropriate agency or offer helpful advice?





How would you rate your overall experience with this Office?










Would you contact our Office again if you have another complaint?






*Less than 100% accounted by complaints not responding to all questions.