- The Washington Times - Monday, March 10, 2003

ANNAPOLIS (AP) Officials of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People say they will scrap the proposed racial-profiling settlement and continue with their lawsuit if the Board of Public Works does not vote on the agreement by March 19.
"This thing has been going on long enough," said Herbert H. Lindsey, president of the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches. "It needs to be moved on now," he said last week.
Mr. Lindsey is calling on the board, made up of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, and Comptroller William Donald Schaefer and Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, both Democrats, to vote at their next meeting on the consent decree that would settle the lawsuit.
But Jervis S. Finney, Mr. Ehrlich's legal counsel, said, "The depth and breadth of this proposed consent decree is not aided by such hard-nosed stubbornness. The Maryland State Police, the attorney general's office and all members of the Ehrlich-Steele administration have acted as fast as possible and with the utmost good faith. The issues now appear to be relatively few."
The proposed $325,000 settlement would require policy changes by the state police and would cover legal expenses of minority motorists who claim they were stopped by troopers solely on the basis of their ethnicity.
A federal judge is reviewing several provisions in the consent decree at the request of the governor's office. "We've fulfilled our commitment to submit the points we've asked to have clarified by the presiding judge in a timely fashion," said Shareese N. Deleaver, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ehrlich. "It's in the hands of the judge now."
The governor's office didn't say an agreement wasn't possible by March 19. But Mr. Finney said, "It's very difficult to predict the timing of settlement proceedings, and it's very unwise."
Black lawmakers emerged from a closed-door meeting with Mr. Ehrlich on Feb. 13 confident that a settlement in the decade-old racial profiling case would be resolved within a month.
They said they were satisfied that Mr. Ehrlich and state police Superintendent Edward T. Norris wanted no substantive changes to the proposed agreement.
Mr. Lindsey said he was still hopeful that the deal would be approved. But he and other black leaders said they were concerned about the delays.
"It seems like some progress has been made," said Delegate Melony G. Griffith, a Democrat and member of the General Assembly's Black Caucus. "But I'm deeply concerned that we're still here."
Susan Goering, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, said, "It's a time-limited agreement. It's inevitable that it will end up in court if this isn't settled quickly. That's unfortunate."
ACLU attorneys are representing the NAACP and 14 motorists in the class action lawsuit. A settlement must be approved by the Board of Public Works. But the item wasn't put on the board's agenda until the end of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's term.

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