Md. Judge Criminally Charged in Environmental Case
Posted Jan 24, 2008 3:22 PM CDT
By Martha Neil
A Maryland judge who has served on the bench for nearly 25 years has been criminally charged in an environmental case resulting from work done at his waterfront vacation home.
The charges against District Judge Askew Gatewood Jr., which carry a potential prison term of up to seven years, if he is convicted, follow previous civil actions filed against him by Anne Arundel County and the Maryland Department of the Environment, reports the Baltimore Sun.
Gatewood, who is the president and owner of Monumental City Realty Corp., allegedly did not comply with earlier orders that he clean up tons of construction rubble dumped along the waterfront as landfill in October 2006 by as many as 40 or more trucks, in violation of environmental laws and planning and permitting requirements.
The newspaper reports that John R. Leopold, the Anne Arundel County executive, wrote to Douglas Gansler, the state attorney general, late last year "questioning the state's commitment to prosecuting environmental crimes and suggesting that the judge was receiving 'special treatment.' " While he applauds news of the "strong" prosecution, he also says it is "long overdue," the Sun recounts.
However, a spokeswoman for Gansler contends that the matter was handled appropriately. "We would not be doing our job if we rushed through an investigation without having all of the evidence before we went to court," Raquel Guillory says.