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Former law clerk is named new assistant state's attorney

March 23, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

A former law clerk in Washington and Frederick counties started a new job Monday as a Washington County assistant state's attorney, filling one of two spots left vacant when two assistant prosecutors took on new duties.

John B. Dunlap, 26, a 2000 graduate of Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania and a May 2003 graduate of Syracuse University College of Law in New York, was sworn in Monday morning. He accompanied Assistant State's Attorney Art Rozes during bond review hearings at Washington County District Court in the afternoon.

Washington County State's Attorney M. Kenneth Long, Jr. said about six people applied for the position.

"He's been clerking for the District Court in Frederick and Washington counties. I thought that he would be a good person to be a prosecutor," Long said.

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He said that before Dunlap was hired, his office had two vacant positions. One spot became vacant in January when Theresa M. Adams left to become a Frederick County Circuit judge. Another position has been vacant since December, when Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler took a position as the county's violent crimes prosecutor.

Long said there are 12 assistant state's attorney positions in Washington County.

Dunlap will be paid an annual salary of $44,067, Long said.

Deputy State's Attorney Charles Strong said the addition of Dunlap will relieve some stress for the other prosecutors, who were carrying heavy caseloads with the two vacancies.

"We're excited by his joining us. He's been clerk to the District Court and our people have had interaction with him during his clerkship. He has a lot of potential in front of him," Strong said.

Since September, Dunlap worked as a clerk in the two counties and took his bar exam during that period. While clerking, he did research for judges and coordinated a mediation program in Frederick County.

As a clerk, he also taught workshops on extradition and alcohol-related driving offenses, he said.

Born and raised in Elkton, Md., in Cecil County, Dunlap said he's living with his parents in Gettysburg, Pa., while he tries to find a place in Hagerstown.

"I do think that you need to live where you practice," he said.

His law school summers were spent clerking at the U.S. Attorney's Office and the State's Attorney's Office in Baltimore.

Dunlap said he will observe other prosecutors until April 7, when he will start prosecuting criminal and traffic cases in District Court.

"I really want to be a trial lawyer, so this will obviously throw me right into it," he said.

Dunlap said he was involved in a lot of mock trials in law school and expects he'll be prepared to start prosecuting his own cases.

"We're just eager to put him to work," Long said.

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