- The Washington Times - Friday, May 31, 2002

ANNAPOLIS Republicans have asked the state's Attorney Grievance Commission to sanction Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. for trying to discuss redistricting with judges who will rule on lawsuits against the state's new legislative map.

They argue that Mr. Miller's actions violate the state's Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct.

"Mr. Miller abdicated his duty as a public official and attorney to maintain respect for the legal system by trying to influence the judges," Maryland Republican Party Chairman Michael S. Steele wrote in a complaint to commission Chairman David D. Downes.

"In addition, Mr. Miller attempted to make the judges violate their own standard of behavior by discussing a pending matter with an interested party," Mr. Steele wrote in the complaint, dated yesterday.

Sanctions can range from disbarment to a public reprimand.

The Republicans said they are also filing complaints against Mr. Miller with the State Ethics Commission and the legislature's ethics committee.

Mr. Miller who represents parts of Calvert, Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties served on a committee that helped Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a fellow Democrat, craft the reapportionment plan.

Mr. Miller, the longest serving state Senate president in the nation, was among six Democratic lawmakers who brought up the redistricting plan with four of the seven Court of Appeals judges, according to court memos released since May 21.

According to the memos, judges rebuffed legislators' attempts to discuss redistricting, saying they could not talk about the substance or merits of the case.

Mr. Miller said he called Judges Alan M. Wilner and Glenn T. Harrell Jr. to complain about the court's decision to put the burden on the governor to defend his plan. Mr. Miller said his comments were not inappropriate because they pertained to a hearing that was over, not pending matters.

Top officials, including the chairman of the state bar association's ethics committee and Mr. Glendening, have disagreed.

"If the matter is still before the court on other issues, I would say the matter is still pending," said Andrew Jay Graham, chairman of the Maryland State Bar Association's Ethics 2000 Committee.

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