Cutline-Joseph Wright, who is running for Prince George€s County State€s Attorney, wants to prosecute crimes against the elderly.

James Wright | 3/10/2010, 11:34 a.m.

The Wright Man for Prince George's State's Attorney

One of the candidates for Prince George's County State's Attorney works in the office and wants voters to elect him as the next chief law enforcement officer.
"As an assistant state's attorney, I know the challenges the office faces," Joseph Wright, the Assistant Chief of the District Court Division, said.

"I believe in Prince George's County and if I am elected State's Attorney, I will work to keep crime low."

Wright, 42, started working as an assistant state's attorney in 1998. He is a graduate of the Tulane University School of Law in New Orleans and received his undergraduate degree from Howard University in Northwest.

The Upper Marlboro resident has prosecuted nearly 100 jury trials and was recently commended for his work in the prosecution of the Keith Washington case. Washington, a former deputy director of Homeland Security in Prince George's County and a veteran county police officer, shot two deliverymen, one fatally, at his Accokeek, Md., home in January 2007.

Wright led the prosecution team and Washington was sentenced to 45 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter and other charges in May 2008.

Before his promotion to Assistant Chief in 2009, Wright worked in the Violent Crimes Unit and the Felony Trial Unit as the Community Prosecutor.

Wright said that if elected, he will work to balance the demands of being an administrator and prosecutor. The present state's attorney, Glen Ivey, has tended to focus on managing the office and fulfilling the political duties that are required of the position.

"I will be in court," he said, "not just managing the office."

In addition to securing the resources to fight crime, Wright said that he will focus on hiring more prosecutors.

"We have limited resources but we have crime numbers similar to the District and Baltimore," he said.

"For example, D.C. has 325 prosecutors while Baltimore has 225. We only have 72 and our population is greater than both of those cities."
Despite the shortfall, he pledged to use his prosecutors "in a most efficient manner."

Also, Wright is interested in forming an elder abuse unit. The unit will prosecute those who physically abuse senior citizens and try to take economic advantage of them.

€We need to protect our seniors,€ he said.

Wright is an active member of the Maryland State Bar Association, the D.C. Bar, a member of the board of directors of the Prince George's County Bar Association and the predominantly Black J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association. He is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia Union College and his alma mater, Prince George's Community College, where he graduated with honors.

Politically, he has worked as the deputy campaign manager for Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler in 2006 and as campaign manager for the Bill Bradley for President effort in Prince George's County in 2000.

He has also been involved with the elections of Ivey and Jack Johnson as a volunteer.

Terry Speigner, the chairman of the Prince George€s County Democratic Central Committee, said that if Wright wants to win, he cannot focus on getting the support of the political powers-that-be but must focus on connecting with the people.

€I see too many first time candidates spend too much time getting endorsements and money,€ Speigner, 42, said.

€That does not get you in. You can have a huge war chest and still lose because you did not get the support of the people.€

Sandy Pruitt, leader of the Prince George€s Coalition for Change, said that she wants a state€s attorney that will work on behalf of county residents.

€I expect someone who is firm and not pulled by the political establishment,€ Pruitt, 50, said.

€We need an independent thinker who follows the law and works in the interests of the people.€