Plea Dealing in Cecil County Spoiled Drunk; Sheriff reports suspect pulled Deputy into Jacuzzi
ruined over $7,000 in police gear, triggered Taser
NEWS AND COMMENTARY ON CRIME-TOWN
QUEEN ANNE’S & CECIL COUNTIES
GRASONVILLE, MD. — When an officer responds to a hotel for a report of a drunk who refuses to leave the pool or Jacuzzi at closing time, the drunk might have a different idea of what is going to take place. With the criminal record of the drunk, made very easy by the ‘law and order’ prosecutor in Cecil County, it may explain the low esteem for which he holds law and order.
Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofman reports that his Deputies responded to the Hilton Garden Inn on Main Street in Grasonville, Md., on Dec. 15, 2015, at 10:53 pm, for the report of a disorderly subject.
When the Deputy Steve Creason and Deputy Keith Buscemi arrived, they were told by the hotel staff that when they went to secure the pool area for the night, a white male was in the pool and refused to leave.
The deputies were also told that the man had been calling the front desk repeatedly and cursing the staff.
The Deputies located the man in the Jacuzzi and requested to leave the pool area. The man was intoxicated and argumentative and refused to cooperate. After several requests to leave, deputies attempted to remove the man from the Jacuzzi.
The man resisted and was able to pull Deputy Creason into the Jacuzzi, who became fully submerged. The male was then removed from the water and placed under arrest. The man identified as Matt Lee Stover, 24, of 1020 Middletown Del., continued to yell obscenities, threatened to kill the deputies and their families. Stover also stated he was in Salisbury or Ocean City, Md., and claimed to be 16 years of age.
Deputy Creason received a small cut from his Taser cartridges which deployed when submerged. Creason’s Taser and Motorola Radio were no longer working. Those units were valued at over $7000.
Stover was charged with Assault 2nd Degree, Reckless Endangerment, Trespassing, Resisting Arrest, 2 counts of MDOP over $1000, and Obstruction & Hindering. He was initially held on a $75,000 bond which was reduced at a bail review to $50,000. He was later released with the assistance of a bail bondsman.
Stover is out of jail but he isn’t through getting his jollies on the taxpayers after ruining the Sheriff’s Department equipment. Stover claims to be eligible for a free attorney, courtesy of the taxpayers who fund the public defender’s office. Ryan Ewing is the designated hitter who will try to explain how none of the above antics and damage are any of his client’s fault.
Stover was indicted by the Grand Jury of Cecil County after a well-prepared case was arranged to convince the jury of the overwhelming guilt of Stover for the crimes of robbery, assault, and theft that he had committed on July 14, 2011. Cecil County States Attorney Edward D. “Ellis” Rollins III has been the State’s Attorney of Cecil County, Maryland, since January 3, 2011. At the top of his profession, the citizens of Cecil County can depend on Rollins to be a prosecutor who adequate prepares cases, pre-interviews witnesses, carefully examines the evidence, follows all the rules of the law regarding disclosure to the defense and assures that all laws are followed in order to be able to successfully prosecute miscreants to provide for justice. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that Rollins was ready to put Stover behind bars for a long, long, time.
The big day of reckoning came on Dec. 9, 2011, in Cecil County Circuit Court when the trial was to be held which would likely result in a one-way ticket to the state prison in Hagerstown for perhaps ten long years. But instead, Rollins agreed to a plea deal with Stover. THE DEAL: The robbery charge was dropped by Rollins. Rollins promised Stover an easy deal in return to pleading guilty to assault and theft. Stover pleaded guilty, according to court records. THE SENTENCE: The conviction for assault netted a jail term of eighteen months in the local jail, not the state prison. BUT. The sentence called for all but four days to be served on consecutive weekends beginning on Feb. 2, 2012. Work release authorized. Restitution of $404 was ordered paid to the victim. Therefore, the outcome of this charge was eighteen months with eleven months, twenty-six days suspended. Therefore, the outcome of this experienced prosecutor’s work amounted to four days in jail for Stover. The deal on the theft charge was for six months with all of it to run at the same time as the sentence for the assault charge.
After this experience with law and order, there is little wonder that Stover would have very little respect for the deputies who ordered him out of the Jacuzzi at the Hilton Inn at Grasonville.
States Attorney Rollins has been a longtime member of the legal establishment in Cecil County with both his father and grandfather serving for decades, between them, as Circuit Court Judges. On some occasions, according to a Baltimore Sun article of May 9, 2005, Rollins would practice law with his father on the bench, an arrangement not allowed in Maryland any longer as the state puts on some appearances of ethics in the land of Winkin’, Blinkin’, and Nod.
In the June 22, 2009, issue of the Cecil Whig, Edward D. E. “Ellis” Rollins III announced his candidacy for Cecil County States Attorney. Rollins told the newspaper that he was putting his longtime private practice behind him due to his deep concern over how the Democrat Chris Eastridge was losing murder cases.
Speaking of his soon to be defeated opponent in the 2010 election, Rollins told The Whig:
“The learning curve is over folks,” Rollins said. “He’s had seven years and it hasn’t worked, so it’s time to say no.”
Rollins pointed to what he called the state’s attorney’s “alarming rate of losing” murder or attempted murder trials prompted him to file for the 2010 election.
“The older I get, I feel a calling to public service like my father and grandfather must have felt,” Rollins said.
Rollins told The Whig, a newspaper in Cecil County curiously named after a political party that has been extinct for over one hundred and fifty years, that his two sons had joined his law firm and pointed to his own “…lack of technology skills…”.
Such skills somehow were needed to serve the requirements of being defense attorneys but, according to the reasoning presented by Rollins to The Whig reporter, weren’t very necessary for a prosecutor.
The Whig report continued:
“Rollins said he knows how to present evidence, understands procedures and can communicate and argue effectively.
“Rollins said that if elected, he would set the administrative tone for the office while allowing his assistants build their own cases.
“I will decide which cases to prosecute and what the charges should be,” he said.
That remark is key to this story in that court records reflect that C. Evans Rollins Esq. was the attorney for Stover in the robbery, theft and assault case in Cecil County Circuit Court while his father, States Attorney Rollins III makes the decision to prosecute, not to prosecute, or to call in a special prosecutor due to a conflict with one of his son’s representing the defendant accused of a crime. Perry J. Seaman, of Rollin’s staff of prosecutors has his name on the court case as well, but there is no record of a special prosecutor. Seaman owes his job to Rollins III and greasing the plea bargain wheels for local members of the bar, especially when they are the offspring of the boss, is fairly routine legal work.
Thus, once again in the Alice in Wonderland Maryland Court System, nepotism and political chicanery robbed the public of fair justice that serves the interest of protecting the citizens as well as protecting the rights of the accused.
With Daddy calling the shots, junior got his client off with just four days in jail. That is what we call a plea deal, with a little sugar and honey on top.
From Maryland Court Records:
Event: Pre-Trial Conference, Scheduled: 12/09/2011, Time: 09:00 AM
State Of Maryland,
Rollins, C, Esq.
“My predecessor in office, Chris Eastridge, kept statistics on all of his prosecutor’s felony cases. My current opponent, Mr. Halter, worked for Mr. Eastridge in 2008. I have a memo from Mr. Eastridge dated 1/9/09. In 2008, Mr. Halter lost 8 out of 12 felony cases. That is a conviction rate of only 33% and of the statistics that we could find is the lowest in the history of the office.”States Attorney Rollins was very concerned with such items as “conviction rates” in the 2014 election when he had a single opponent in the election and that one was in the GOP primary. On his Facebook page, Rollins Posted the following remark:
The way Rollins III keeps score, he counts the sweet plea deal he made with his son, the attorney for Stover, as a conviction. The reader will answer the question to themselves as to whether or not, they would consider the outcome of four days in jail for Stover to be a “conviction.”
Ellis Rollins III posted this remark on his Facebook page as a key reason why voters should return him to office in the 2014 election:
“I have over 30 years of trial experience. Since my tenure as State’s Attorney began 4 years ago my team of prosecutors and I have gone 13-0 in murder convictions and have successfully prosecuted over 250 drug dealers.”
Rollins III made yet another – and on June 23, 2014, the next to the final post on his Facebook page, the last since the election, in case the public was wondering if the use of Social Media was anything except a campaign tool:
“Friends, thank you for all of your support through the campaign process. It has been difficult at times to take the high road but my campaign was run on qualifications, not mudslinging. The process is almost over. The race for States Attorney will be decided tomorrow. Please take the time to vote and I promise you the office of State’s Attorney will not relent. We will bring four more years of misery to the bad guys.”
Rollins III gave little misery to the star of this article; Matthew Lee Stover.
Rollins III must have convinced the voters of his record as he beat his GOP primary opponent Michael Halter by a two to one margin. With no opponent in the general election, there was no fall-out of his decision to hire another son as his investigator for his office.
These boys in Cecil County are big on the family business, even when it’s supported by tax dollars.
Fortunately, for the cause of justice, Stover’s next criminal case will be held in Queen Anne’s County, where we shall watch and see how Queen Anne’s County States Attorney Lance Richardson does when it comes to prosecuting Stover. Perhaps we can set up a pool on the fool in the pool and what justice gets doled out in Centreville.
The taxpayers of Queen Anne’s County might wonder why Sheriff Gary Hofmann manages to have $7,000 worth of equipment go down the drain in one single call for a drunk in a Jacuzzi.