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Strong appointed Washington County state's attorney

July 02, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

shappell@herald-mail.com

As M. Kenneth Long Jr. takes a seat on the Washington County District Court bench, his position as the county's top prosecutor will be filled by his good friend and coworker.

Charles P. Strong Jr. has been appointed Washington County's state's attorney, effective today, according to an order released Thursday by Washington County's Circuit judges.

The order, signed by Judges Donald E. Beachley, W. Kennedy Boone III, John H. McDowell, and Fred C. Wright III, was finalized Wednesday.

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Strong, a registered Republican, will complete a four-year term Long won in 2002.

Strong said he heard earlier in the week that he would be named to the state's attorney's position, but opted to stay quiet until receiving official notification from the judges.

"Nothing ever counts until you see the order," Strong said. "I certainly hoped I'd get the position."

"I feel very honored, very privileged," he added.

Strong, a Maine native, earned an undergraduate degree at Tufts University in Massachusetts in 1969 and finished law school at American University in Washington, D.C., in 1972. Strong said he has been a Maryland resident since graduating.

Strong began working in the Washington County State's Attorney's Office in 1988. He became the deputy state's attorney in 1993. In that position, Strong was responsible for management of cases prosecuted in Washington County Circuit Court and prosecuted cases in District and Circuit courts.

Long, also a registered Republican, was sworn in to the Washington County District Court judgeship Thursday, thus vacating the position he held since 1982. Long gave Strong his endorsement as he spoke at Thursday's ceremony.

"I'll let you in on a secret, the county is going to be in good hands with Charles Strong as the next state's attorney," Long said.

During the ceremonial court session, judges, attorneys and a representative from Gov. Robert Ehrlich's administration praised the county's State's Attorney's Office for its success and efficiency in recent years.

Strong said Thursday that he does not plan to make any drastic changes in the office.

"I've been a part of that success for many years, and I'm going to look to continue that," Strong said.

Strong said that, as Long did, he plans to spend a lot of time as an active prosecutor who does not "hide underneath paperwork."

"This county's tradition during Ken's (Long's) tenure is that the state's attorney maintains a presence in District and Circuit Court," he said.

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