Civil rights leader Snowden goes before jury

Carl O. Snowden, the civil rights chief at the Maryland Office of the Attorney General, will go before a Baltimore jury Friday afternoon on marijuana charges.

Snowden, 59, was arrested in April, along with Anthony Hill, 29. Officers testified before the trial began that they approached Snowden's car when it was parked in Druid Hill Park, just off Reisterstown road.

They said they found a brown cigar containing what they thought was marijuana as well as a plastic bag they believed they contained more in Hill's pocket.

"He said please don't lock him up, I can't be arrested," Det. Vaughn Diggs told the judge Friday. "I asked him how come, and he said because of his job."

Hill, a convicted felon who is on the state's sex offender registry, was convicted on the possession charge in June. At a district court hearing, his attorney said all the marijuana found in the car belonged to Hill. Stuart Simms, Snowden's lawyer, is expected to use that statement as part of his defense.

An attorney for Hill could not immediately be reached for comment.

Michael W. Reed, the judge in the case, said before proceedings began that he used to work for the attorney general's office and described Snowden as "an effective leader," he added that he also used to work for Simms and regarded him as "a mentor."

Reed said the associations would not affect his ability to be impartial in the case and Assistant State's Attorney Deniece Robinson declined a chance to ask for a new judge.