Carl Snowden, civil rights leader, busted for trace of pot while suing indicted county executive

Carl O. Snowden, Director of the Maryland Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights. Photo: Attorney General's Office

(AP/WJLA) - As longtime Maryland civil rights leader Carl Snowden pursues a planned lawsuit against Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold, he was charged Friday with marijuana possession.

Leopold was indicted last month on charges of misconduct in office relating to how he used his security detail, including allegations that he told police to keep dossiers on political enemies, including Snowden.

Snowden's lawyer, Cary Hansel, says Snowden intends to pursue a lawsuit under laws that permit residents harmed by government officials to seek compensation. Hansel said Saturday he intends to wait a week or two before actually filing the lawsuit. A letter he sent offers to settle for $20 million.

Snowden is the director of the Maryland Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights, but his attorney said recently he plans to take a sabbatical from that position to pursue the lawsuit against Leopold and Anne Arundel County.

Hansel tells The Capital of Annapolis that Snowden was arrested on the marijuana charge after a vehicle he was in was pulled over for a broken tail light.

Hansel says further investigation will show the case to be a "non-issue."

He says there was another person in the vehicle, and the marijuana in question was a "trace amount."