Gary wants voters to have power to remove judges, parole board members


Del. John G. Gary, the Republican candidate for county executive, wants county voters to have the power to remove judges and parole board members who accept plea bargains and release violent criminals.

That is a key plank of Mr. Gary's anti-crime platform, which also calls for the hiring of 80 new police officers over four years. Mr. Gary released his plan Wednesday.

If elected, Mr. Gary said, he would prod the General Assembly to give voters the recall power. "For once, judges and parole board members will be working for us instead of criminals," he said.

"That's way, way out of the bailiwick of the county executive," said Del. Theodore J. Sophocleus, Mr. Gary's Democratic opponent in the Nov. 8 general election. "That has nothing to do with the operation of the county.

"I have to question why he didn't introduce legislation to do it and get it taken care of during his 12 years in the legislature."

Mr. Gary also has proposed:

* Creating mandatory sentences and banning bail and parole for repeat violent offenders.

* Creating a school for nonviolent juvenile offenders with state and county money.

* Offering employers incentives to train and hire inmates at the county Detention Center. He also has said he would attempt to create a training school within the jail.

Mr. Sophocleus, a former county councilman appointed to a vacant delegate seat in 1993, dismissed much of Mr. Gary's package -- mainly the elements dealing with sentencing and judicial reform -- as outside the realm of the executive and County Council.

Mr. Sophocleus laid out his anti-crime platform during the primary. His plans include hiring 49 new officers during the first two years, at a cost of $2.6 million, and creating overlapping patrol shifts that would place more police on the streets during peak crime periods.

The Democrat also proposed the creation of small neighborhood units that would operate out of storefront substations donated by shopping centers and a program to monitor known repeat offenders.

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