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Shank blasts Poole over crime issues

October 24, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

The Republican trying to unseat Del. D. Bruce Poole accused the lawmaker of being soft on crime Friday.

"I am concerned that Washington County has become a drug market and I think it's time we send a message that we're not going to tolerate it," Maryland House of Delegates candidate Chris Shank said.

Poole defended his record on crime, saying he, not Shank, has received endorsements from law enforcement groups.

Poole also said he has helped to write and pass laws that toughened the penalties for domestic violence, drunken drivers and violent offenders.

Shank, after touring the Maryland Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown, listed three examples where Poole appeared not to follow through promises to be tough on crime.

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- Poole supported a bill to supply heroin addicts with needles.

"I think that's bad public policy and sends the wrong message to out-of-town drug dealers," said Shank, who would rather see tax money spent on drug treatment.

Poole argued that the needle exchange program was for Baltimore City and Prince George's County and said he would not support it for Washington County.

- Poole was one of three lawmakers who voted against allowing nurses to testify against accused child abusers.

"I think that child abusers are the worst kind of offenders. We should do everything we can to get them here," he said of the prison.

Poole said he has been tough on child abusers, but in this case he didn't want to allow false accusations for a crime that can be hard to disprove.

"Parents could find themselves charged. I think they deserve a fair trial," he said.

- Poole voted against the victim's rights amendment to the state Constitution in 1994.

The amendment would have required the courts to notify victims about upcoming trials and give them a chance to participate.

Poole said he supports the idea of victim's rights but didn't want to see it written into the Constitution.

Poole feared the amendment would have to be interpreted by the courts, meanwhile clogging the criminal justice system.

Poole accused Shank of telling only part of the story during his campaign.

But Shank said Poole's voting record shows he is out of touch with his constituents.

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