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Voter law charges forwarded

April 26, 2006|By PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN

Voter law violation charges against Roger Dean Weber, who ran for Hagerstown mayor under a false name in March 2005, were forwarded Tuesday to Washington County Circuit Court for a trial.

Retired Frederick County District Judge Frederick J. Bower, sitting in Washington County, forwarded two charges ? misrepresentation of voter registration and voting under a false name ? to Circuit Court after Weber, 61, who was scheduled to have a trial on the charges Tuesday in District Court, said he was "not prepared" to make a decision about his case.

Weber, who ran under the name Charlie Baker in the March 2005 primary, registered to vote under the alias Jan. 21, 2005, using a Hagerstown address, according to charging documents. The Hagerstown Police Department initiated an investigation into alleged voter law violations March 9 after The Herald-Mail reported that Weber was living in West Virginia, which made him ineligible to be mayor.

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Charlie Baker was listed on the primary election ballot and received 13 votes.

Weber was arrested Feb. 15, 2006, on a Washington County Circuit Court bench warrant that charged him with failing to appear for a court hearing on traffic charges in October 2005. He then was charged with the voter law violations.

Weber was being held without bound Tuesday at the Washington County Detention Center on the failure to appear charge, a jail spokeswoman said.

Weber wore an orange jail jumpsuit Tuesday and whispered with his attorneys, Assistant Public Defenders Andrea Chee-A-Tow and David Harbin, after his case was called. Witnesses who had been called to testify during the trial sat in the courtroom while the three talked.

After a couple of minutes, Bower said to Weber, "Tell me your name."

"Charlie Baker," Weber responded without hesitation.

Bower advised Weber that the maximum sentence for voting under a false name is five years in prison and/or a $1,000 fine, and the maximum sentence for misrepresentation of voter registration is five years in prison and/or a $2,500 fine.

Bower asked Weber what he wanted to do, but Weber said he was "not prepared" to make a decision.

"I have fundamental questions about my representation that impair me from making my decision," Weber said.

Circuit Court records show Weber twice filed in Washington County to have his name changed to Charlie Baker. In both attempts, the cases were dismissed because Weber was denied waivers of filing fees and did not subsequently pay them.

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