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Man chooses guilty plea over new trial

May 11, 2001

Man chooses guilty plea over new trial



By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

A Hagerstown man whose 1999 drug conviction was scrapped because of prejudicial comments made by a prosecutor to a jury was back in court Monday, and pleaded guilty to the same crime for which he had been convicted.

Dwight Anthony Glenn's sentence was again set at 14 years but instead of having six years to serve as before, Washington County Circuit Judge Donald Beachley suspended all but time served of about 19 months.

Glenn, 31, formerly of Salem Avenue, could have had a new trial but opted to enter a guilty plea Monday.

"If we had gone to trial, we would have alleged the prosecutor sabotaged the trial," said Baltimore defense attorney Craig Kadish.

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At the 1999 jury trial, Kadish objected several times to comments made while the prosecutor was addressing the jurors.

Beachley recalled that he interrupted three times to tell the jury that Assistant Washington County State's Attorney Joe Michael was out of line.

"The Maryland Court of Special Appeals found that Michael's comments to the jury weren't tied to the evidence and he was playing to local prejudices," Beachley said Monday.

In an earlier motion for a new trial made by Kadish to Beachley, the judge denied the relief.

"My stern warnings were sufficient remedial measures," Beachley ruled in court papers in April 2000.

Kadish got a more sympathetic ruling from the state's second highest court earlier this year.

"I tried to reserve a fair trial for the defendant, but the higher court said the comments were so prejudicial," Beachley said. "Still Mr. Glenn's behavior is not condoned."

Evidence that was presented to the jury about the events of Oct. 13, 1998, revealed that a confidential informant made a controlled buy of $50 worth of crack cocaine from Glenn at a Burhans Boulevard gas station.

He was arrested and charged with distribution and possession of cocaine.

"Mr. Glenn tells me he has a full-time job lined up at Phoenix Color if he is released," Kadish said.

Glenn has been held at Roxbury Correctional Institution south of Hagerstown since December 1999.

"I've always been a hard-working guy and I know I've made some mistakes," Glenn said Monday.

In court Monday, Michael described Glenn's prior criminal record as significant, citing drug and firearms violations.

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