caroline county state's attorney scandal

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caroline

Earleville, MD

#1 Jun 7, 2009
Does anyone else think it is a scandal that the Caroline County State's attorney Jonathan Newell was struck down by Maryland's highest court for firing two ladies who helped victims and witnesses prepare for court testimony-- just because they had supported the Democrat that Republican Newell had defeated? The court said it was a violation of their free speech rights.
How can you respect a law enforcer like a state's attorney who doe not obey the law, and the basic First Amendment to the US constitution?
Please, Democrats or Independents, please come up with a candidate who will oppose and defeat this embarrassmentg, Jonathan Newell, republican, in the next election! Our county deserves better!
OldSkool

Salisbury, MD

#2 Aug 1, 2009
Caroline, sounds like you have an axe to grind. Must have been one of the fired ones. So if you know anything at all, you know Jonathan has done one hell of a job, turning that office around. Greenleaf sucked. Plain and simple, the worst prosecutor I have ever seen. I have seen dozens and he, by far, was the most pompous, incompetant one I have seen.
mom in md

Linkwood, MD

#3 Jan 1, 2010
Caroline co. SUCKS in justice, they let MEN off that beat their wives while holding their infant kids, and when letters pour in to convict this person, what happens, Aqquitted, UN Freaking BEBELEIABLE, thats Jonathan for ya, folks, Hope the next one does a beter job. another little tid bit, a person textes someones phone, to try and help their daughter not to get beat,and gets charges for harressment, then goes to court , the chargeing person doesnt show, the defendant shows all text, from phone, and still gets stet, Another, and what the hey, in the best interest of the child, means nothing to caroline co. they allow these dads to see their kids UNSUPERVISED. wow. wheres the justice, GREAT JOB CARLINE CO.
SAO_Insider

Arnold, MD

#4 Jan 13, 2010
OldSkool wrote:
Caroline, sounds like you have an axe to grind. Must have been one of the fired ones. So if you know anything at all, you know Jonathan has done one hell of a job, turning that office around. Greenleaf sucked. Plain and simple, the worst prosecutor I have ever seen. I have seen dozens and he, by far, was the most pompous, incompetant one I have seen.
Unless you can back up your opinion with hard facts, it cannot be believed, unless you've mistakenly switched Greenleaf's name with Newell's. That would make more sense.
SAO Insider

Arnold, MD

#5 Jan 20, 2010
caroline wrote:
Does anyone else think it is a scandal that the Caroline County State's attorney Jonathan Newell was struck down by Maryland's highest court for firing two ladies who helped victims and witnesses prepare for court testimony-- just because they had supported the Democrat that Republican Newell had defeated? The court said it was a violation of their free speech rights.
How can you respect a law enforcer like a state's attorney who doe not obey the law, and the basic First Amendment to the US constitution?
Please, Democrats or Independents, please come up with a candidate who will oppose and defeat this embarrassment, Jonathan Newell, republican, in the next election! Our county deserves better!
I side with you. The opinion of the Md. Court of Appeals raises a serious question about the character of the person elected:

“The State Defendants and supportive Amici characterize Newell’s decision as a legal mistake (assuming he unlawfully dismissed Plaintiffs for their campaign activity). This may be so. A trier of fact may choose to believe that Newell’s decision reflected his best judgment concerning the successful and efficient running of the SAO. We hold, however, only that Plaintiffs articulated facts tending to show that Newell’s decision to fire them was, at worst, a targeted reprisal for speaking against him or, at best, a reckless disregard for their rights to free speech.”

Pg. 60, Opinion of Court dated March 13, 2009 in Newell v. Runnels.
Oh Bama

Denton, MD

#6 Jan 30, 2010
Who cares.
hunky

Ridgely, MD

#7 Mar 16, 2010
Caroline County is so understaffed. I had compelling evidence against a man for 2nd degree assault charges. I had to stalk the States Attorny General to be seen by him before trial. I phoned him right after the assault, not return phone calls. I sat and waited in his office until Icould not be ignored. Traditionally the States Attorney General assignned to your case meets with you approx. 20 minutes before your case is heard. I had legal, medical witnesses. The case was lost due to blant perjury on the defentants side. I believe that had I met with my assiagned States Attorny, I could have won the case. I am a college educated, 6 figure tax payer in Caroline County. I try to buy local, get my homeowners,car,motorcycle insurance thru a Caroline County provider. I get my hair cut locally. My tax dollars help feed the needy..I have no problem with that...I do have a problem with a Court system that does not represent it's citizens to the best of their ability.
locallawyer

Salisbury, MD

#8 May 14, 2010
The Court only held that, taking all facts most favorably to the plaintiffs (i.e., not taking into account the other side of the story), the plaintiffs' case was not so weak that it couldn't be sent to a jury. Those ladies actively campaigned against Newell and wrote disparaging letters about him to the newspapers. One was Greenleaf's Treasurer - would you want them working for you under those circumstances? And no, I am not Newell and don't work for him.
Merlin

Cambridge, MD

#9 May 15, 2010
locallawyer wrote:
The Court only held that, taking all facts most favorably to the plaintiffs (i.e., not taking into account the other side of the story), the plaintiffs' case was not so weak that it couldn't be sent to a jury. Those ladies actively campaigned against Newell and wrote disparaging letters about him to the newspapers. One was Greenleaf's Treasurer - would you want them working for you under those circumstances? And no, I am not Newell and don't work for him.
That was Newell's defense to the lawsuit. The lower court agreed with him, but two appeals courts rejected that argument. The point of the opinion is that Newell, as a lawyer, should have known, like you, that the First Amendment allows the ladies to express their political beliefs without fear of retaliation from thin-skinned winners with grudges. The 1st Amendment. Learn it. Live it.
locallawyer

Linkwood, MD

#10 May 17, 2010
That's simply not true. The Court did not decide who would win the case, only that the lower Court erred in dismissing the case outright before trial(a drastic action only applied in extremely weak or frivolous cases), rather than allowing it to go to a jury.
The Court then laid out what the law will be in the case when and if it does go to a jury. The jury will have to decide whose set of facts to believe. Then a balancing will occur to see if protecting the ladies' speech outweighs the right to run an efficient office and choose who you want to work for you.
Merlin

Cambridge, MD

#11 May 26, 2010
Local Lawyer's May 17 post is his spin. Maryland's highest court ruled that Mr. Newell's celebrated win in the trial court was wrong; therefore, it reversed the win and sent the case back to the trial court. The ruling stresses that public employees in non-management jobs cannot be fired for supporting on their own time the political candidate of their own choice. By the way, the case has now settled and is over.
Susan Runnels

Denton, MD

#12 Jun 1, 2010
I am one of the ones fired by Jonathan Newell and have tried to get my voice heard in the Times Record and Star Democrat..to no avail. Here is my letter/comment to the Editor which the Times Record would not print;
Silent No Longer
I have yet over the course of seven years been contacted by the Star Democrat or the Times Record for a comment or response in regards to my lawsuit Runnels vs. Newell, so I felt compelled after reading the articles this week to set the record straight.
First, the articles reported that I sued the State and Caroline County State’s Attorney Jonathan Newell for amounts ranging from $7 million to $1 million. FACT: No specific sum was ever requested in the suit. It sought all back pay and front pay due me, damages in an amount to be determined at trial, over-time wage premiums, treble damages, and attorney fees and costs. No dollar figure was ever specified. A copy of the suit can be obtained from the ACLU. From the time I presented my case to the ACLU to the present, it has never been about money. It was about the violation of my freedom of speech.
Second, Newell was quoted in the article as saying “he wanted to implement several changes in the State’s Attorney’s office that involved the termination of the staff.” FACT: Only staff that openly supported Robert Greenleaf in the election were fired. Staff that did not openly support Greenleaf were retained by Newell.
Third, the article reported that “prior to the settlement agreement Newell was completely exonerated of all charges against him.” FACT: The settlement of $45,000, paid by the State, was in exchange for Newell's release, and I would never have agreed to dismiss Newell without the State’s promise to pay the settlement amount. In addition, the State can only act through its employees, and Newell was the only state official whom I claimed had violated my rights.
Fourth, Newell was quoted as saying “these two started out as Greenleaf’s pawns and wound up being the ACLU pawns.” FACT: I am very offended by this, as anyone who knows me knows I am a pawn to no one. I am my own person and make my own decisions. Perhaps if either the Times Record or Star Democrat had ever called me for comment that would be clear to readers.
Fifth, I was totally amused by the quote from Newell saying “to me there should have been a trial from the get-go” and that he was disappointed not to have had a full public hearing about the facts of the case. FACT: I could only laugh hysterically, because my day in court would have been my reward … win or lose. It was the State and Newell who contacted my attorneys to discuss settlement after the appeals court reinstated wrongful termination claims against them. Why did Newell allow the State to approach me and ask if I would be willing to settle the case if he wanted his day in court?
You may ask yourself why I decided to settle this lawsuit. Since neither paper called me for comment, I’ll now tell you that it has been a long seven years and the words of Newell telling me I should have looked for a job the day after the election still ring in my ears. Well, I’m tired of the ringing and I was ready to let it go and move on.
I am very proud of the fact that, with the help of the ACLU and attorney Tom Glancy, I was able to obtain a clear victory from the state’s highest court, which unanimously found in favor of the free speech rights of all public employees. The court ruled that the government’s interest in providing effective public service must be balanced against the preeminent rights of public employees to engage in personal political expression.
As a good citizen I have done my part, and this ruling will help protect the jobs of the next set of public employees who decide to participate in a political campaign – no matter who they campaign for.
Oh, and thanks for the advice on how to spend my money, Jonathan, but that is a decision I will make.
Susan Runnels

Denton, MD

#13 Jun 1, 2010
OldSkool wrote:
Caroline, sounds like you have an axe to grind. Must have been one of the fired ones. So if you know anything at all, you know Jonathan has done one hell of a job, turning that office around. Greenleaf sucked. Plain and simple, the worst prosecutor I have ever seen. I have seen dozens and he, by far, was the most pompous, incompetant one I have seen.


No it was not one of the ones fired if I write anything I will put my name to it and Marge would do the same. You must not have been one of Jonathans victims but one of his defendants
caroline

Earleville, MD

#14 Jun 7, 2010
Susan, thank you so much for telling your side of the story here. I wondered why the only place I could find any information about the high court decision was out of the area, in the Sun or the legal newspaper in Baltimore. It is amazing that the local papers would write news articles about you and never call you for your side of the story and then refuse to run your letters.

When did you write your letter that they refused to print? just wondering how long the censorship has been going on. I wrote about this here a year ago and it is only now, thanks to your posting here, that people are getting the full story.
Susan Runnels

Denton, MD

#15 Jun 7, 2010
caroline wrote:
Susan, thank you so much for telling your side of the story here. I wondered why the only place I could find any information about the high court decision was out of the area, in the Sun or the legal newspaper in Baltimore. It is amazing that the local papers would write news articles about you and never call you for your side of the story and then refuse to run your letters.
When did you write your letter that they refused to print? just wondering how long the censorship has been going on. I wrote about this here a year ago and it is only now, thanks to your posting here, that people are getting the full story.
Thank you for your response, I did not respond to any of the "stories" Newell or Evans wrote until May 5th, I am not stupid enough to respond to anything while there is an open case...some of Newells remarks could have been uncovered as down right lies had there been a court case. Just glad its over...
Lisa Ann Sears

Santa Barbara, CA

#16 Aug 3, 2011
Susan-how many times did you misuse your position in the SAO, for your own mission? I remember speaking to Newell on the phone, prior to the election. i specifically said to him, that "Susan Runnels is a Cancer to the SAO".
Lisa Ann Sears

Santa Barbara, CA

#17 Aug 3, 2011
He told me, many ppl felt that way. He also said, "Susan' days are numbered". I have seen you single- handedly, harass people via your position at the SAO. With you at the SAO. Your daughter in the Sheriff's Department, and a Son in Law, Chief Of Police.
Lisa Ann Sears

Santa Barbara, CA

#18 Aug 3, 2011
....of Federalsburg. You folks are bullies. Newell's decision to rid himself of you and your smear buddy, Mrs. Cooper. Was the best decision Newell made as States Attorney. Nevermind, Robert Greenleaf is a much better fit, at the Legal Aid Bureau, maybe.
Lisa Ann Sears

Santa Barbara, CA

#19 Aug 3, 2011
Ask yourself. Why would Newell want somebody that has been drooling all over doofus Greenleaf, for years, working in his office? Btw-Why doesnt it surprise me, that a "scandal" in Caroline County Involves either, a Nagel or a Runnels. Karma is a bitch.
Old neighbor of Lisa Sear

Ephrata, PA

#20 Aug 4, 2011
OMG....you are still psychotic Lisa! I see you still have your obsessive behavior and can't find anything better to do with your time. GET A LIFE YOU NUT!

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