Hyattsville, MD- An assistant Public Defender in Prince George’s County is under investigation by the Maryland Office of the Public Defender for an Anti-Police post she made on her Facebook account in October 2017.
Clare Carlson, employed by the Public Defender’s Office (According to her Facebookand LinkedIn profile, now deleted and also confirmed by Public Defender Paul DeWolf) for approximately two years (February 2016) posted the Anti-Police image of her receiving a gift from her friend Mary Beth Hoynacki ( an attorney for the Legal Aid Society in New York).
The gift, a piece of stitchery, framed in an embroidery hoop, says “(Expletive) the Police”.
In the post, Carlson says” AHHHHHHHH the BEST gift from the BEST friend @murry823?(@murry823 is Hoynacki’s Instagram handle).
It has been confirmed by Melissa Rothstein, Director of Policy and Development for the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) that Public Defender Paul DeWolfe says the post violated the OPD’s social media policy, but are not providing any more comments regarding the incident. ” We do not publicly share information about personal matters”, said Rothstein.
It is clear the OPD has a social media policy and the Southern Maryland Chronicle (SMC) is in the process of attempting to obtain the full policy. From reports obtained from other sources, it appears Carlson violated at least 6 tenets of the OPD’s Social Media Policy, along with at least one from the Maryland Attorney’s Rules of Professional Conduct.
Excerpts confirmed by multiple sources of the OPD Social Media Policy:
- Inappropriate posting that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment, and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated.
- The Office of the Public Defender expects their employees to observe a standard of conduct that will not reflect,discredit on the abilities or integrity of their employees, or create suspicion in reference to their employees’ capability in performing their duties and responsibilities.
- Any conduct that adversely affects job performance, OPD clients, staff, others working on behalf of the OPD or OPD’s legitimate interests may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.
- Please do not post or link to any materials that are defamatory, harassing, or indecent that may reflect badly on the OPD.
- Derogatory or confidential comments about a case, client, colleagues, or any other member of the legal community or judiciary (please seeMaryland Rules of Professional Conduct…).
- Personal blogs, online usernames, and social media sites should not contain OPD’s name, logo, or URL.
The SMC has responded to Ms. Rothstein that anytime the OPD wishes to comment further, SMC will be available and SMC will continue to investigate the story concerning a Public Employee making these statements.
The SMC has also contacted two local Police Lodges for comment, and is also requesting information from theAttorney Grievance Commission and Office of Bar Counsel.
Carlson has been a part of over 500 casesaccording to Maryland Case search (MD Case search is limited to 500 records. It states the “results exceed the limit of 500 records). At this time it is unclear what Ms. Carlson’s job status is with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender due to the “No Comment” by the OPD. However, as of December 20, 2017; her Facebook profile still list’s OPD as her employer.
This is a developing story and will have multiple updates as information comes forward. SMC has tried to contact Ms. Carlson and Ms. Hoynacki through Instagram and Facebook ( the only two known ways to attempt to contact them outside of OPD at this time)