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Letter to the editor – 11/25/13

I read with interest Professor McLain’s recent column, “Evidentiary rules in rape cases unfair to victims and to jurors,” Daily Record (Nov. 15, 2013).

While it would be inconsistent with my role as Counsel to the General Assembly to comment on the merits of her proposal, I did want to clarify one point: the constitutional provisions prohibiting dual office-holding, Article 35 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights and Article III, Sec. 11 of the Maryland Constitution, have never been interpreted to bar Assistant State’s Attorneys from serving in the legislature.

In fact, the Attorney General of Maryland has repeatedly approved of such service.

72 Opinions of the Attorney General 286 (1987); 48 Opinions of the Attorney General 323 (1963); 44 Opinions of the Attorney General 110 (1959).

Moreover, the citizens of the State of Maryland currently receive the benefit of two assistant state’s attorney’s service in the House of Delegates: Doyle Niemann of Prince George’s and Luke Clippinger, who represents Baltimore City and prosecutes crime in Anne Arundel.

A third, Delegate C.T. Wilson of Charles County, recently left the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office for private practice.

It is worth noting, however, that in a part-time citizen legislature, in which members have or have had other careers in business, government, and even as lawyers, the legislators are informed but not defined by those other careers or the clients that they represent.

-Dan Friedman