Lansdowne resident Brian S. Bailey, a former candidate for state delegate in District 12, was sentenced to a $500 fine, one year of supervised probation and 200 hours of community service following criminal election law violation charges for failing to provide an authority line for campaign material in the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore County on Wednesday, Aug. 13.
The sentence was the result of a probation before judgement, which requires the defendant to serve a period of supervised probation.
"A probation before judgment allows an individual to keep a conviction off his record. Before granting probation before judgment, however, the judge must find the defendant guilty (i.e. he is convicted)," wrote Maryland State Prosecutor Emmet C. Davitt in an email.
However, Bailey's attorney Terrance Nolan, explained probation before judgement differently.
"It happens before the verdict is determined. The court stops before it can reach a verdict of guilt or innocence and issues a probation before judgement," Nolan said.
The sentence follows charges issued June 2 by Davitt that Bailey "published and registered a website domain name in the name of www.Dongarrafor Delegate.com, which he used to publish derogatory campaign material concerning Rebecca Dongarra, a candidate running against him in the 12th District," according to a June 2 press release issued by the Maryland Office of the State Prosecutor.
According to information released by Davitt, an investigation of the website revealed that it didn't provide the proper authority line required, and instead said, "Not authorized by any candidate or campaign committee."
GoDaddy.com supplied records that showed Bailey paid for the site using personal funds and also paid an additional fee for private registration of the domain name to protect his identity, the release said.
Davitt said Thursday that he thought the verdict was fair.
"We see this occasionally and it can be either charged civilly, or criminally when we feel it was done intentionally, which we felt it was in this case," Davitt said.
Bailey was one of 10 Democratic candidates for state delegate in District 12, an area comprised of portions of southwest Baltimore County and Howard County. The top three Democrats, Clarence Lam, Terri Hill and Eric Ebersole, will face three Republicans in the November general election.
"I have discussed this issue at length before. The Primary Election is over. Time for people to move on. I stand by my original statement and really have nothing further to add," Bailey wrote in an email Thursday in response to the sentence.
Bailey orginally said he took responsibility for the lack of authority line on the website and that he stood behind its contents.
Dongarra said on Thursday that she felt the sentence was too lenient.
"I think it's an example of those convicted of campaign violations getting a slap on the wrist," Dongarra said. "I think if we're going to make it so that our campaign laws are just, they need to have teeth to carry weight."
Baltimore Sun Media Group reporter Amanda Yeager contributed to this story.
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