Sue-Ellen Hantman

Howard County District Judge Sue-Ellen Hantman (Baltimore Sun file photo/Doug Kapustin / January 3, 2003)

A Howard County judge on Thursday threw out a drunken driving case saying it was linked to a police quota system that mandated officers write two to four citations an hour. Police conceded a memo that went out to officers was poorly worded but said the department does not have a quota system.

Police Chief William J. McMahon criticized the judge for what he called a "bad decision." The memo referred to officers conducting what are called "saturation patrols" targeting drunk and aggressive drivers and funded by a federal grant. The woman who got her arrest tossed had been stopped on Main Street in Ellicott City with what police said was a blood alcohol content of .17 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

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Here is a copy of the memo distributed to Howard County police officers: