A career Anne Arundel prosecutor was chosen Thursday as the county's new state's attorney, making her the first woman to hold the position as the top prosecutor in the county.

Anne Colt Leitess, 49, will complete the 18 months remaining in the term of longtime State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee, 69, who retires Tuesday to accept a gubernatorial appointment to the state Parole Commission.

The position has an annual salary of $160,730. Leitess, of Crownsville, said she plans to seek election to the post in 2014.

"I am in it for the good of the county and the good of the citizens," she said. She's a Democrat, but said he considers herself a member of the "law enforcement party."

"There are important criminal cases, important matters," she said. "It is the biggest law firm in Anne Arundel County – there are 46 attorneys that I'll be in charge of." In all, the office has more than 110 employees.

This won't be her first time directing the work of others. For about six years, Leitess has been chief of the trial unit that focuses on violent crimes, trying cases as well as supervising five attorneys and two support staffers. During her career, she said, she's handled more than a dozen murder cases.

Calling her an "excellent choice," attorney Drew Cochran of Annapolis said Leitess "looks to do justice, not win at any cost." He said she took time to teach him legal fine points, though she was hardly obligated to help a defense attorney learn the ropes.

A majority of the county's 12 Circuit Court judges selected her from nine applicants.

"Every single one of the judges I have appeared before," Leitess said.

The applicants had included Thomas J. Fleckenstein, a deputy state's attorney favored by Weathersbee.

Leitess, a Laurel native, started her legal career in 1988 out of University of Baltimore's law school, in the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office. She and her then-fiance and now husband were hired by Weathersbee after he met them at a 1990 prosecutors' convention. Steve Leitess is in private practice; the couple has three children.

Andrea.siegel@baltsun.com

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