Case Files: CHAPTER 18

REMOVAL TO GARRETT COUNTY

I had never met Thomas C. Hickman before the Myers case but I respected him because he had at an early age moved from Baltimore City to Carroll County and immediately became the State's Attorney. He had a good mind and a great booming voice which made a formidable adversary since he had a bull dog demeanor. However I soon learned that I could make him angry and decided that a big part of my case would have to be attacking him even though on a personal level he was quite likable. I said about finding out all I could about him and my great glee I learned that when he's been elected State's Attorney for Carroll County on election night 1974 in a prepared speech he stated “I made up my mind that if I lost the election for State's Attorney that I would come here to this restaurant, Frocks, on election night November 5, 1974 and kill the reporter primarily responsible for those wonderful articles which Hickman maintained had been written with a reckless disregard for the truth”. Hickman stated that “he still had the pistol he intended to use”. He was reading from a prepared text and told about 50 members of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce and local and Baltimore press that the chambers monthly luncheon in Westminster that the articles which had appeared in the Hanover Evening Sun on October of 1974 suggested that he had taken a bribe and violated a federal criminal law running for public office and that not met the county residence requirements. He'd been easily elected in 1974 and re-elected in 1978.

Hickman had been only 27 and he said he and his wife had been terribly hurt by the accusation particularly an article detailing his purchase of a new bed. He noted his family's reputation for honesty and said then wished he never planned to run for office. He told the audience that “it is hard to imagine that was led to seriously consider such desperate foolish districted act, but I tell you now without shame and with regret that I did”.

Hickman had engaged the press in a legal battle to prevent them seeing the autopsy report of Mrs. Myers. “The spirit of revenge burns to some extent but in all of us” he said. His high fowl remarks were met with a standing ovation with the Chamber members present. Dean Mimmick who is the managing editor for the Carroll County Evening Sun characterized Hickman as an honest and fair man and agreed with many of the State's Attorney's comments.

The Carroll County Evening Sun printed a weekly column written by Mr. Hickman concerning activities in the State's Attorney's Office. Mr. Mimmick said that he appreciated the fact that Mr. Hickman had the courage to say what he did say to the Chamber members.

The Sun Papers in Baltimore and the New York Times picked up the State's Attorney's comments since they were so bizarre and in an editorial titled “Pistol Packing Prosecutor”.

Once I discovered that he's made these remarks I made a motion to have him removed from the case on the basis that I was scared of him and that if he was going to shoot a reporter I was certain that hew would shoot me if I were to win the case.

I said to Judge Burns that I wanted to wear a bullet proof vest while I made this particular motion and I requested that Mr. Hickman be placed n the witness stand so I could develop the idea that because of these comments made some 8 or 9 years earlier I on some level had to be scared to effectively represent Robert Myers and therefore he was going to be denied his sixth amendment right to counsel.

The judge refused to allow me to put Hickman on the witness stand and asked me why I wanted to do that when I had a copy of the written speech he had made to the Chamber of Commerce and I replied that I wanted to demonstrate that Mr. Hickman had been drunk when he made these comments. Mr. Hickman got to his feet and said I was not drunk at the time and I looked over and said I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt to try to explain why you would make such comments. My motion to have him removed was denied.

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