Colt Leitess takes back state's attorney's office in Anne Arundel

Selene San Felice
Contact Reporterssanfelice@capgaznews.com

Democrat Anne Colt Leitess is Anne Arundel’s state’s attorney once again.

Republican incumbent Wes Adams conceded at his joint election party with County Executive Steve Schuh, who also lost his race, around 11 p.m. on Tuesday.

Colt Leitess is the first woman elected to the position in the 94-year history of the office. She was the county’s first woman state’s attorney after being appointed to the job by a panel of judges to replace the retired longtime head prosecutor Frank Weathersbee.

See live results from the Anne Arundel state's attorney race »

“I'm very humbled by the voters supporting me. I am ready to do the job that I did for 25 years in that office,” she said. “I thanked (Wes) for a hard-fought race. He was a very tough opponent and he was very kind on the telephone. He offered to make it a smooth transition.”

Since she lost to Adams in 2014, Colt Leitess has been critical of overspending and his management style. She has spent the last four years as the head of the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office Special Victims Unit, focusing on cases involving child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.

Colt Leitess will start her new term tackling some of the biggest criminal cases in Anne Arundel's history: the trial of a man charged with shooting five people in the Capital Gazette newsroom, and prosecutions stemming from two separate investigations into drug distribution rings that spread opioids across the county.

When asked how she will handle the cases, Colt Leitess noted helping Weathersbee convict Scottland Williams in 1998.

“I think I have cases older than you,” she told a reporter. “I am going to be honored to represent the state of Maryland in any case that comes forward. I am looking forward to returning to the office that was the crux of my entire career. I’m just very honored and humbled to have prevailed in the election.”

Adams, a former Prince George’s County prosecutor from Severna Park, campaigned four years ago promising major change. That change came in the form of cracking down on opioid cases and cleaning house in the office led by Democrats for its entire modern history. By this year, more than a third of the state’s attorney’s staff had been fired or resigned.

A new sheriff in town

After defeating Sheriff Ron Bateman in the June primary, Republican Jim Fredricks, a county police lieutenant, appeared to have won Tuesday’s election.

See live results from the Anne Arundel sheriff race »

He led Democrat James Williams, a deputy sheriff, by about 3,700 votes at 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Bateman, a former county police officer, faced a number of problems in his final term. He switched from Democrat to Republican. Several prominent Republicans called for him to step down after he was charged with domestic violence. But he stayed in office and was found not guilty after his wife declined to testify. In the weeks before the primary, however, a member of his staff leaked a sealed indictment to an Annapolis area drug ring being swept up by the Maryland State Police.

The new sheriff will take over an agency responsible for warrant service and security at the county courthouse in Annapolis.

Both candidates made a point to say they wanted more restrictions on who can own a firearm after run-ins with law enforcement or other state agencies.

Other court races

The new clerk of the court takes over after the retirement of longtime clerk Robert Duckworth of Crofton.

Duckworth endorsed his fellow Republican and chief deputy clerk, Doug Arnold. But that didn’t keep Democrat Scott Poyer from winning by a narrow margin, 737 votes as of Tuesday’s unofficial results.

The clerk is responsible for court scheduling, record keeping, jury selection and other functions that keep civil and criminal legal systems moving. But there also are ceremonial roles, such as presiding over judicial swearing-in ceremonies and conducting weddings.

For Register of Wills, Incumbent Republican Lauren Parker appeared to beat Democrat Joseph J. Janosky by about 12,500 votes.

Republicans Maureen Carr-York and Nancy Phelps along with Democrat Vickie Gipson took the three Orphans Court seats

See live results from the clerk of the Circuit Court race »

See live results from the judge for the Orphans' Court race »

See live results from the register of wills race »

Editor Rick Hutzell contributed to this report.

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