- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Five St. Mary’s drug suspects summoned to court for arraignment on indictments appeared in court one day this month, while lawyers waived that proceeding for two clients and a bench warrant was issued for one suspect who did not show up for his hearing.
The county’s lead prosecutor said last week that local judges are following state judicial procedures by issuing summonses instead of arrest warrants with the indictments, but that he prefers having the suspects taken into custody before a bond is set for their pretrial release.
Jacqueline Dale Buckler, 44, of Ridge was arraigned on indictments alleging she distributed oxycodone last August in Ridge and distributed oxycodone last September in Dameron.
Byron Donald Green, 31, of Lexington Park was arraigned on an indictment alleging he attempted to possess oxycodone last September in Mechanicsville with the intent to distribute the drug, and unlawfully carried a handgun.
Chelsea Shyan Brandon, 28, of Lexington Park was arraigned on an indictment alleging that last September in Lexington Park, she illegally possessed methadone, distributed hydrocodone and possessed oxycodone with the intent to distribute the drug.
A lawyer waived Kevin J. Hancock’s arraignment on an indictment charging the 28-year-old Leonardtown resident with the possession of oxycodone with the intent to distribute the drug last October in Leonardtown, and the possession of a firearm during a drug trafficking crime.
A lawyer waived Timothy John Wiley’s arraignment on indictments charging the 49-year-old Ridge resident with twice distributing cocaine last October in Ridge.
Antonio Wendell Chase, 26, of Lexington Park was arraigned on an indictment charging him with possessing marijuana last September in Lexington Park with the intent to distribute the drug, and driving with a suspended license.
Jake Allen Clark, 23, of Lexington Park was arraigned on an indictment charging him with possessing marijuana last October in Lexington Park with the intent to distribute the drug.
A judge issued a bench warrant for the arrest of Terry Lee O’Neil III, 31, of Ridge for failing to appear at his scheduled arraignment on an indictment charging him with distributing marijuana last September in Ridge.
“I was a little surprised myself,” that only one drug suspect served through a summons missed his arraignment, St. Mary’s State’s Attorney Richard Fritz (R) acknowledged Friday at his office in the courthouse. “If the system works, it works.”
Fritz lamented, however, the Maryland Rules of Procedure that call for a summons to be issued when a circuit court indictment is based on the “same factual scenario” as any initial district court charges filed in a case.
“I’m old school,” Fritz said. “I believe that [the rules] are much too lenient. I believe [an indicted] person should be brought before the court, and bond should be considered as it is warranted.”
In two felony drug cases, the suspects had not been served with their summonses to appear in court for the Jan. 17 arraignment docket.
Fritz said last week that only one person from law enforcement tries to track down a suspect to serve them with a summons, while any law officer can arrest any suspect at any time, and anywhere, if they’re wanted on a warrant, and that more seized drugs and more charges can arise through that arrest. “It’s a good law enforcement tool, an arrest warrant,” the prosecutor said.