The five-day administrative hearing for two correctional officers facing dismissal for their roles in the Dontay Carter escape ended yesterday after an assistant state attorney general said the officers should be fired for the sake of public safety.
Lawyers for the officers continued yesterday to try to shift some of the blame for the convicted murderer's Jan. 18 escape to Judge John N. Prevas, who presided over Carter's trials in Baltimore Circuit Court.
Pointing to the officers' unblemished records -- and testimony on the guards' behalf from four other Circuit Court judges and a petition signed by more than 300 correctional officers -- the lawyers said the guards made mistakes but are deserving of compassion and a chance to keep their jobs.
Joan L. Bossman, the assistant attorney general who presented the case on behalf of the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, responded: "The issue here is not a matter of compassion for these two men. It's a matter of the safety of the entire state of Maryland.
"These men were sleeping on the job with their eyes open," Ms. Bossman added. "The public safety requires that these men never return to their positions as correctional officers."
She has argued that the officers were negligent in failing to shackle Carter and accompany him into the judge's restroom from which he escaped. Carter was recaptured the next day.
Ms. Bossman has said department policy prescribes dismissal as the punishment for security breaches that lead to escape. Jack B. Rubin, lawyer for officer Frank Beales, disputed that point yesterday, saying an appeals court ruling earlier this year allows for lesser punishments.
"You have in front of you evidence in this case that cries out that you recommend something over than termination," Mr. Rubin told Administrative Law Judge Joan C. Ross. Reading from a letter to the editor written by Assistant City State's Attorney Page Croyder, he added: "If we have no compassion for these two men, we are self-righteous hypocrites because who among us make no mistakes?"
Also facing dismissal is Officer Irvin Curtis.