Attorney in race for county post

A Westminster attorney who says Carroll needs a new approach to prosecuting crimes planned to enter the race for county state's attorney this morning.

Linda A. Holmes, 37, will become the nominee of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee.


"Being state's attorney is not just about knowing the law, it's about making choices and it's about managing people," she said yesterday.

"I believe that I will bring a fresh perspective and new approach to how the state's attorney's office is run."


Mrs. Holmes will run against the winner of the Republican primary in September. Twenty-year incumbent Thomas E. Hickman is running against one of his former employees, Frederick County Assistant State's Attorney Jerry F. Barnes.

Mr. Hickman could not be reached yesterday for comment.

Mr. Barnes said of Mrs. Holmes' entry into the race: "I think this is very exciting. It's interesting, and it should put a good perspective with three different views on what the future of the prosecutor's office should be."

Mrs. Holmes said that one of her priorities would be to change the way the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force operates. The task force, a cooperative group made up of officers from the state police, sheriff's department and the city of Westminster, has been under fire over how it handles its money. The state's attorney is one of the group's policy makers.

"I'm not criticizing what they're doing, but I would like to change things so that they [the officers] can go out there and do their jobs," she said.

Mrs. Holmes said yesterday she would not plan to replace the staff attorneys in the office. "I have met all of them, and I have great respect for each of them," she said.

Democrats have been searching for a state's attorney candidate since fall, when Carroll County Democratic Central Committee Chairman L. Gregory Pecoraro proclaimed his party had a good chance to take the post, which has been in Republican hands since the 1970s.

Mr. Pecoraro said yesterday that he asked Mrs. Holmes in March if she wanted to run for the office. She came forward when she realized the party needed a candidate, he said.


"I'm thrilled somebody we asked so early on has come back with a positive answer," he said.

"She's respected. She's a good attorney. She's been active in the community.

"She's a person of real integrity, and I think she's going to set a very different tone for the office."

Mrs. Holmes, who began practicing law in Carroll County in February, has been an attorney since 1982. She graduated from Rutgers University in New Jersey, where she was born, in 1976.

She moved to Maryland and was a manager for Proctor and Gamble until she entered the University of Maryland School of Law. She was a staff attorney with the U.S. Department of Energy until joining a Baltimore law firm.

She took some time off from law to raise her three children -- ages 2 to 7 -- and resumed her law practice in February, focusing on family law. She has been married 12 years.


Last night, Republican Central Committee Chairman Thomas W. Bowen said that either of his party's candidates could win the general election against Mrs. Holmes.

"Quite frankly, I don't think it's time for a change in that office," Mr. Bowen said. "It really surprises me that people in Carroll County would vote for somebody picked by the central committee. Either one of those men would be very, very capable, and I'm sure neither will be concerned about" the Democratic opposition.