Attorneys for the former Anne Arundel county executive convicted last year of forcing police to collect campaign donations and requiring county employees to empty his catheter bag argue that while his actions were “boorish,” they weren’t criminal.
John R. Leopold, 71, was found guilty last year of two counts of misconduct, for using police to perform political functions and for requiring county workers to empty the catheter bag, reports The Baltimore Sun. The Republican politician was sentenced to 30 days in jail, community service, five years of probation and a $100,000 fine.
His attorneys are appealing his conviction for criminal misconduct in office, arguing it was based on a flawed reading of an unclear law and should be overturned, the newspaper reports.
"Leopold is unaware of any Maryland law which has imposed criminal liability for boorish, loutish behavior akin to the conduct in the … case," lead attorney Bruce Marcus wrote in a court filing.
Tossing out the conviction would clear Leopold's record and possibly revive his political career, the Sun says. He said last summer that he'd like to run again some day: "I still have a lot to offer, and would like to contribute in the way I know best."
Prosecutors and witnesses said during the trial that Leopold ordered his taxpayer-funded police protection detail to collect contributions from donors and compile dossiers on adversaries during his 2010 re-election campaign. The Sun says that at trial allegations were raised that Leopold forced employees to empty urine from the catheter bag he used after back surgery; asked police to deliver his campaign signs and remove an opponent’s signs; and ordered police to keep a lookout while he had sexual trysts in the back seat of a car.
Leopold's attorneys say his actions didn’t violate state criminal laws.
"The amorphous, highly individualized notions of what behavior is or is not socially acceptable cannot serve as a basis to impose criminal liability," Marcus wrote in court documents.
State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt argued in court documents that Leopold's actions were willful and corrupt.
"Requiring an elderly, female clerical employee to get down on her hands and knees in front of her male employer numerous times a day to drain the urine out of his catheter bag, and to continue to require that she do so for at least six months after he ceased to have even an arguable need for any assistance, constitutes an impermissible abuse of power," Davitt wrote, according to the Sun.
>>Read the full Baltimore Sun story at: http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/anne-arundel/pasadena/bs-md-ar-leopold-lingers-20140202,0,4173331.story