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Boone talks about incident

November 06, 2009|By BRIDGET DiCOSMO

Judge Boone charged with DUI after accident

HAGERSTOWN -- Washington County Circuit Judge W. Kennedy Boone III, who was charged Thursday night with driving under the influence of alcohol after a traffic accident in Hagerstown, will not preside over criminal cases until the charges against him are resolved.

The decision was made to deflect any possible conflict of interest and to avoid any "appearance of impropriety," Administrative Judge John H. McDowell said Friday.

Boone was charged after an accident in the 300 block of North Prospect Street at 7:54 p.m. Thursday, Hagerstown City Police said. He voluntarily submitted to a breathalyzer test, and he had a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent, more than double Maryland's legal limit of 0.08 percent, police said.

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Boone said he doesn't dispute any aspect of the police investigation that led to the charges, and that temporarily relieving him of his responsibility for criminal cases was the best course of action under the circumstances.

"I think it's highly appropriate," Boone said.

Boone said he had been on his way to a meeting when the accident occurred.

He'd had about five glasses of wine at home before leaving for the meeting, he said.

Boone expressed remorse for his actions Friday, saying public officials should be held to the same standard as anyone else.

"I was wrong, and I should be held accountable," Boone said.

He said he "should have known better," and that he does intend to seek treatment.

"I'd like to think this is a one-time situation, but one time is too much," Boone said.

Boone has served as a circuit court judge in Washington County since 1997. In May, he received the "Commitment to CommUnity" award from the Washington County Department of Social Services.

Boone was reprimanded in January 2008 by the Maryland Commission on Judicial Disabilities for making what the commission concluded were "undignified and disparaging" remarks regarding several women in the Public Defender's Office.

In that instance, Boone had, in open court in April 2007, referred to three women of color in the Public Defender's Office as "The Supremes" and suggested that a defendant who wanted to replace his public defender be given an "experienced male attorney."

Boone apologized to the women involved, saying he "felt terrible" about the incident.

Boone handles an estimated 50 to 60 drunken driving cases per year, McDowell said, as do other circuit court judges.

Boone said he believes he has always been "fair" in determining sentences for offenders found guilty of drunken driving.

Relieving Boone of criminal cases will not affect the caseload of the other circuit court judges, because their scheduled civil cases will in turn be given to Boone, McDowell said.

McDowell declined to comment on any action that might be taken should Boone be found guilty of the charges in district court.

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